Hypertension is the medical name given to the condition in which our systolic and diastolic pressures are persistently elevated. The World Health Organization has set levels for these pressures that are considered “normal”. These are 120/80. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will try to control it by using certain types of medication. This only manages your condition, it does not treat the cause of it. It has not gone away and it will come back if you stop taking the medication, but it need not be like that.
There are some simple things you can do to reduce your blood pressure and maybe also wean yourself of the medication you have been prescribed.
Do you need to take high blood pressure medication for the rest of your life?
This is a common question asked of doctors to which the answer usually is : it depends. It depends on you!
Whether you are condemned to taking hypertension medication in ever increasing dosages for the rest of your life or you are successfully weaned of these drugs depends on whether or not you take responsibility for doing something positive about your condition.
If you just want to take the pill the doctor gave you and get on with your life as it is now, then you have chosen to take high blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.
On the other hand, you must take effective action if you want to lower your high blood pressure to normal levels and be successfully weaned off hypertension medication.
How to be successfully weaned of hypertension medication
The first step in this process is to understand that your high blood pressure is not an illness. It is a vital sign telling you there is something wrong inside your body. Fortunately, most of the conditions that cause hypertension respond to some simple, but important lifestyle changes.
The Top 2 lifestyle changes to reduce hypertension are:
# 1. Adopt a healthy balanced diet that is:
high in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts,
low in sodium
low in saturated fats with little or no trans fats or highly processed foods.
Your body need about two litres of water a day to function properly and to be properly hydrated. Green tea, which has been shown to reduce hypertension, can form some of this fluid requirement. Sugar sweetened carbonated drinks should be avoided as these have been shown to contribute to high blood pressure.
Following the advice in Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH diet) is a good place to start.
# 2. Become more active
Many studies have shown that 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day can lower high blood pressure. The best form of exercise is walking at a fast pace so that your heart rate is elevated. If you cannot manage to exercise for this period of time, two 20 minute sessions will be beneficial.
Diet and exercise are the two most important factors in reducing hypertension. Combined they lead to the next most important factor….
# 3. Lose weight
There is a direct correlation between being overweight and your high blood pressure. A healthy diet and regular exercise will help you lose weight and thereby reduce your hypertension.
# 4. Quit smoking
If you are a smoker and you are trying to lower your high blood pressure, you are effectively tying one arm behind your back.
Each time you smoke, your body releases adrenalin. This hormone causes a short-term rise in blood pressure. This response was developed by our ancestors to give the boost of energy they needed to escape from a dangerous situation or to defend themselves.
There are other health risks associated with smoking that also cause hypertension. Smoking causes your arteries and blood vessels to be “furred up”. This makes it harder for your blood to flow and causes hypertension.
Smoking is also linked with atherosclerosis in which the lining and smooth muscles in your blood vessels are damaged causing them to lose their elasticity. In turn, that causes high blood pressure.
# 5. Reduce alcohol consumption
There is some evidence to support the view that limited alcohol consumption reduces hypertension by relaxing us. The bar is set very low. It is just one unit of alcohol a day for women and two units a day for men. Consumption high than this can cause weight gain and contribute to hypertension.
# 6. Relax Relaxation can be active or passive. It could be as simple as reading a book or listening to some suitable music. Quieting your mind or simple meditation are also effective ways to lower high blood pressure.
[important][/important]With these simple lifestyle changes you will be able to lower your high blood pressure naturally without taking medication for the rest of your life – but only if you choose to take effective action to reduce your hypertension.