If you have high blood pressure, you are responsible for having the condition. It is your body. The responsibility for doing something positive about your hypertension rests with you. This is something you cannot delegate. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do that will make a big improvement in your condition. They could even reduce your high blood pressure to normal levels naturally.
Here is a simple plan for regaining responsibility for your hypertension:
# 1. Accept responsibility for your hypertension:
Although you might be predisposed to the condition, you did not catch it from someone else. You have hypertension because of some poor lifestyle choices you made in the past. You cannot change what has happened, but you can do something about the future.
# 2. Understand that hypertension is not an illness:
Even though your doctor treats it as if it were, having high blood pressure is not an illness. It is a vital body sign, just like your temperature and your pulse. If either or both your systolic and diastolic pressures are elevated, your body is signaling that there is something wrong. Treat the cause and the symptom will go away.
# 3. Tackle the cause of your hypertension:
This is easier than it sounds and is something you can do. Many of the causes of high blood pressure can be traced back to a combination of six poor lifestyle choices. They are:
- having a poor diet
- leading a sedentary lifestyle
- being overweight or obese
- alcohol consumption
You have the power to improve each of these six areas of your lifestyle. Here is how:
Improve your diet:
A healthy balanced diet that is low in sodium, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates and high in fresh fruits and vegetables will help to reduce your hypertension. A diet based on these principles, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension has been shown to reduce systolic and diastolic pressures to normal levels in as little as two to three weeks for patients whose condition was moderate, it takes longer in more severe cases.
Become more active:
Simple cardiovascular exercise, such as fast walking, jogging, cycling and swimming, over a sustained period of 30 to 45 minutes a day, has been shown to reduce systolic pressures by as much as some prescription drugs. The most convenient way to exercise is to build it into your daily schedule.
Combining regular daily exercise with a healthy balanced diet:
- has been shown to be as effective as, or more effective than, prescription drugs for people with moderate hypertension; and
- will help you to…
Most people who are overweight or obese have high blood pressure. Whereas few people with normal body weight suffer from the condition.
There is a direct correlation between being overweight or obese and having hypertension. There is also increased risk of heart disease, of having a heart attack or of having a stroke, each of which can be fatal.
Quit using tobacco products:
Using tobacco products indirectly elevates our systolic and diastolic pressures. It does this in two ways:
- By releasing adrenalin into the blood stream. This restricts the arteries causing our blood pressure to be elevated. This is a self-defence mechanism for when we face danger, but we do not need to create the situation artificially; and
- By causing plaque deposits in our arteries which restrict the blood flow and elevates our blood pressure.
Using tobacco products is also a factor that increases the risk of heart disease, having a heart attack or of having a stroke.
Reduce alcohol consumption:
While alcohol consumption of one unit a day for women and two units a day for men can have some benefits because of the relaxing effect, consumption above these levels is harmful. In particular, it can lead to weight gain, obesity and organ damage. Each of which can cause hypertension.
Furthermore, heavy alcohol consumption can be a cause of atherosclerosis, which is a cause of high blood pressure.
Learn to relax:
Stress is known to cause hypertension. Taking 30 minutes out each day to relax is a good antidote to stress and will help to lower your high blood pressure.
# 4. Monitor your progress and involve your doctor:
If you make the lifestyle improvements suggested above, you will see a downward trend in your systolic and diastolic pressures. Monitor these for a period of 14 days and plot the results on a spreadsheet or graph paper. Send the results to your doctor. He or she can then review the management of your condition based on the data you have collected. Repeat the exercise periodically.
One outcome is that the dosage of your prescription medication could be reduced while achieving the same effect. Over time, you could be weaned of the medication.
[important][/important]The improved lifestyle choices outlined above will help you to lower your high blood pressure naturally. However, none of this will happen if you do not regain responsibility for reducing your hypertension.