Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Many of us suffer from high blood pressure. Unfortunately, it is a relatively common, poorly-understood malady. Have you had your BP checked lately? Did your doctor tell you that it was a little high? If so, you need to know all the different ways that you can get your blood pressure down to normal safe levels. Medication isn't the only way to lower your BP. Exercise, changes in diet and even changes in your habits and attitudes can have a positive effect.

Why is high blood pressure dangerous? Hypertension (the medical term for high blood pressure) damages your blood vessels, and can damage your heart as well. It is a known factor in stroke, heart disease and kidney troubles. It is also one of the few health conditions that can be readily prevented and controlled. All it might take are simple changes on your part. If the lifestyle changes mentioned below aren't enough, there are a variety of medications that might be prescribed to help lower your blood pressure.

An obvious step to take to lowering your blood pressure is to stop using tobacco. The chemical in tobacco that makes smoking so addictive is also responsible for elevating a smoker's pressure. Nicotine is known to cause blood vessels to narrow or constrict. The constriction of the veins and arteries forces the heart to beat harder in order to push the blood through the narrower blood vessels. Eliminating nicotine by ending tobacco use of every kind will help keep your blood pressure at normal healthy levels.

Another obvious step to take is to lose weight. In most people, obesity can trigger hypertension. The act of eating healthier -- making better food choices -- can help you lose weight and avoid inflammation in your body, another cause of hypertension. Studies have shown that light to moderate exercise on a regular basis can also help lower your blood pressure.

Make a point of increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. Recent studies have shown that drinking pulp-free fruit juices are not as good as eating the fruit itself. Also, make a conscious effort to sharply reduce your intake of sugars (of every kind), and carefully monitor just how much sodium you consume. Elevated sodium levels cause the retention of fluids, which can cause your blood pressure to shoot up. While you're at it, limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume. Caffeine often triggers off a physiological reaction analogous to anxiety, and an excess of alcohol in the bloodstream will cause a spike in blood pressure.

The last simple tip that can help you prevent high blood pressure is to reduce or avoid unnecessary stress. You can't escape all sources of stress, but making an effort to deal with stressful situations can help keep your hypertension in check. Relaxation techniques, mindfulness, meditation and even laughter can help you slough off any stress you pick up during the day.

The last tip to give you is to consult with a doctor. If changes in diet, habits and physical activity can't produce the desired results, he/she will prescribe medications for you to take. ACE inhibitors, calcium blockers, and diuretics are all very useful and effective in lower a person's blood pressure. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing. If your current lifestyle and habits caused your hypertension, continuing in that lifestyle can only make your condition worse.

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