High pressure kills. And this is not a metaphor! This makes it important that you understand how to lower blood pressure naturally. In the US alone, this cardiovascular problem claims the lives of more than half a million people each year.
What is high blood pressure and what makes it dangerous?
High blood pressure is called the silent killer, and for good reason. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, frequently exhibits no noticeable symptoms yet substantially elevates the likelihood of experiencing severe cardiovascular complications and stroke.
Blood pressure is measured in the format of two numbers.
The first number, systolic pressure, indicates how much blood presses on the walls of blood vessels during release into the aorta due to contraction of the heart muscle, measured in millimeters of mercury.
The second number, diastolic pressure, fixes the blood pressure at the moment when the heart is resting between beats, known as diastole.
In general, blood vessels are elastic, but if the blood pressure gets too high, they may not be able to keep up. Rupture of a vessel in any of the important organs leads to serious consequences – even death.
What pressure is considered too high? In 2017, the American Heart Association recommended that blood pressures of 130/80 mmHg be considered high. In Russia and Europe, the bar is set higher – 140/90.
If your blood pressure is at this level or higher, you are at risk and need to take urgent action.
How to lower blood pressure naturally at home
Let’s say it right away: if you have hypertension, it is important to see a doctor. Depending on your blood pressure level, lifestyle, and other factors, your doctor will select an individual prevention and treatment plan for you and most likely prescribe medications to help bring your blood pressure back to normal.
However, if for some reason you have not yet seen a doctor, here are a few ways that can help on how to lower blood pressure naturally. Choose the one that feels most comfortable to you or combine several for maximum effect.
- Take a few deep breaths: Studies show that proper deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to quickly reduce pressure in your blood vessels. This is because blood flow to all tissues in your body, including your limbs, is increased. To do this, relax and close your eyes to help reduce stress, one of the main factors leading to hypertension. Take a deep breath, counting to 5, while inhaling with your stomach instead of your chest. Control this by putting your hand on your stomach to feel it rise. Then exhale again for 5 counts. Repeat for 3-5 minutes. You can try holding your breath after exhaling for 8-10 seconds – choose the exercise option that seems most comfortable to you.
- Take a hot bath: Pour water at a temperature of about 45°C into a basin and immerse your hands or feet in it for 10 minutes. Hot water will cause the vessels in your limbs to expand, allowing blood to flow to them and decrease high blood pressure.
- Drink warm mint tea: If you are not allergic, steep a pinch of mint leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes, let cool and drink the tea in slow sips. In this form, peppermint can lower blood pressure. However, remember that mint enhances the effect of drugs for high blood pressure, so be careful.
- Take valerian tablets: Valerian is a powerful sedative that helps the body deal with stress. Thanks to this, your heart will beat calmer, and your blood pressure level will decrease. Note: when taking valerian tablets, do not exceed the dosage indicated in the instructions!
How to permanently lower blood pressure without medication
We would like to remind you again that the methods above for how to lower blood pressure naturally at home are emergency measures. It is necessary to fight against the “silent killer” only under the supervision of a doctor, following their recommendations carefully.
However, there is good news. A person’s lifestyle hugely influences their blood pressure. By making healthy changes to your lifestyle, hypertension may decrease or even disappear entirely, and your need for medication may significantly decrease.
Experts from the reputable research organization Mayo Clinic have compiled a list of 10 essential life changes:
- Get rid of excess weight. Each kilogram lost will reduce your blood pressure by about 1 point.
- Exercise regularly. For example, long walks, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing that raises your heart rate, in addition to reducing stress levels. It is highly recommended to engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Eat healthy food. More fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and fewer fats, convenience foods, and pastries. This change can help lower your blood pressure up to 11 points.
- Cut down on the quantity of salt you consume in your daily diet. This will help lower blood pressure by 5-6 points. Remember that WHO and other authorities recommend no more than 5 grams of salt per day, which is less than a teaspoon!
- Do not drink or limit alcohol consumption, including beer. The latter leads to fluid retention and increased pressure. In general, there is no safe dose of alcohol. If you can’t completely abstain, then limit your intake to 330 ml of beer, or 150 ml of wine, or 50 ml of a 40-degree drink per day for women, and twice as much for men.
- Quit smoking. Each cigarette raises blood pressure by 25%.
- Drink less coffee. Although this is a controversial issue since scientists are still discussing the effect of coffee on blood pressure levels. Caffeine causes an increase in blood pressure in some people, while in others, this effect is not observed. If you belong to the first category, it is better to refuse the drink.
- Try to reduce stress. Chronic stress is one of the main factors leading to high blood pressure.
- Ensure that you keep a check on your blood pressure in the comfort of your own home and maintain regular consultations with your physician. Monitoring your blood pressure at home can offer valuable insights into which adjustments to your lifestyle are effective and which may require further attention from your doctor.
- Reach out to family and friends for support. Let them know about your problem and ask for help. Caring for loved ones will make your struggle easier and reduce stress.