Millions of Americans have some form of high blood pressure, and tens of millions more are on their way to developing it. So the methods of lowering high blood pressure should be of interest to almost everyone.
But first, a question: What is the best predictor of death by heart disease or stroke among those with high blood pressure – high cholesterol, smoking, a history of heart disease, diabetes or excess creatinine levels in blood? The answer is excess creatinine levels in blood.
Creatinine levels are detected by routine blood tests, but their significance probably is less understood by the public than any of the other risk factors associated with hypertension. Creatinine is produced when muscle tissue is broken down in the body. When creatinine levels are high, that means the kidneys aren’t able to clear the blood.
Anyone with high blood pressure should have his creatinine level checked at least once a year. If it is elevated (higher than 1.5 milligrams per deciliter), the person should seek more intensive treatment or take other precautions against heart disease and stroke.
A high creatinine level may indicate a kidney problem that could be corrected or at least controlled. Of course, anyone with high blood pressure should get medical advice and appropriate treatment in order to lower his blood pressure. But there are some other tips worth considering for those who have or may develop high blood pressure, which is just about everyone.
Cut salt and sodium intake. About half of those with high blood pressure are sodium-sensitive and risk higher blood pressure as their sodium intake increases. Cut sodium intake to 2,000 milligrams a day. That’s the equivalent of the sodium in one teaspoon of salt.
Lose weight if overweight. Many studies have demonstrated a drop in blood pressure when the overweight lose weight.
Drink alcohol only in moderation. Heavy drinking raises blood pressure, and that often can make the difference between a normal reading and high blood pressure. Stay away from alcohol altogether if you’re not already using it.
Control stress. There are accepted ways to control stress and lower blood pressure. You can also consider trying yoga or meditation as a stress-control method.
Get exercise. Studies indicate people suffering from hypertension register lower blood pressure for 30 to 90 minutes after an exercise session. Exercise helps control blood pressure by reducing other hypertensive risk factors.
Obese people are more apt to be hypertensive, but a regular exercise program helps weight reduction. Many hypertensive people are usually anxious, apprehensive, easily frustrated, quick to anger, driven. Since relaxation is a positive result of exercise, a regular fitness program can help temper these psychological traits often resulting in lower blood pressure.
People with high blood pressure should not perform activities requiring strenuous lifting, pushing or straining. Exercises involving intense static maneuvers require a large oxygen supply for the heart and compress blood vessels, thereby raising blood pressure.
Stop smoking. Smoking temporarily raises blood pressure. And if you stop smoking, you’ve taken the most important step toward improving your cardiovascular health, which always is threatened by high blood pressure.
Avoid caffeine. Caffeine also temporarily increases blood pressure for up to about two hours. There is only limited evidence that caffeine permanently elevates blood pressure.
Cut saturated fat. Studies suggest that high blood pressure may be lowered by cutting saturated fat (animal fat, palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil) and increasing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (other vegetable oils, such as olive oil, corn oil, etc.).
Increase potassium intake. Evidence is developing that indicates extra potassium from food sources may protect against high blood pressure and stroke. The following are some of the foods high in potassium: cantaloupe, avocados, baked potatoes, prune juice, orange juice, bananas and peanuts. Don’t consider taking potassium supplements on your own, however, as they can be hazardous for many reasons.
Increase calcium intake. There also is evidence to suggest that calcium supplements may help those with mild to moderate high blood pressure.
Increase dietary fiber. Studies indicate that high fiber diets may lower blood pressure.
Consider vegetarianism. A vegetarian diet is associated with a reduction in blood pressure.
Avoid licorice. Licorice contains a flavor component called ammoniated glycyrrhizin that can raise blood pressure.
Increase magnesium intake. Magnesium deficiency is implicated both in the development and complications of high blood pressure, heart disease and arteriosclerosis.
We hope the aforementioned tips on how to lower blood pressure will help you lead a healthier life. If you include these suggestions into your daily routine, your hypertension will be a thing of the past.