- High blood pressure typically does not have symptoms.
- Staying hydrated keeps your blood vessels dilated, which helps lower blood pressure.
- Sunlight can help lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects
approximately 75 million American adults. It is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart and significantly
increase your risk of
heart attack and
stroke — two of the leading causes of death in the United States.
American Heart Association considers 120/80 to be a normal blood pressure reading. Unless you have
been diagnosed with high blood pressure you may not realize anything is
wrong so it is important to get tested each time you see your doctor,
or more frequently if you have a family history of hypertension. Often,
hypertension has no obvious symptoms, but it could be quietly causing damage and threatening your health. This
overworks the heart and damages the walls of the blood vessels. If left untreated, it can lead to tears, ruptures, or increased plaque
build-up in your heart, which
increases your risk for heart failure, heart attack or stroke.
How to naturally lower your blood pressure
In addition to medications your doctor may prescribe, there are several
lifestyle changes you can make to help to lower your blood pressure. These
include things like eating a healthy diet, maintaining a regular exercise
routine, quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake. Here are five
more blood pressure-reducing techniques that don’t require a prescription:
Meditate or take slow, steady deep breaths to calm the nervous system, relax and
your dilate blood vessels. Breathing exercises help
calm your sympathetic nervous system and your fight-or-flight response. This technique also encourages blood
flow to your body’s tissues and causes your diaphragm to move up
and down, which eases blood flow to your heart.
or eat plenty of water to re-hydrate your body and dilate your veins and arteries.
If your body is well hydrated,
your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood to your blood vessels and muscles.
Try reflexology techniques on pressure points along the neck, arms, and feet. Reflexology and acupressure
techniques have been studied for their effects on blood pressure and
may have limited benefits.
Eat fish, raw
fruits and vegetables. For example,
potassium from leafy green vegetables helps your kidneys remove sodium through your urine, which also helps
lower your blood pressure.
Find the sun to convert nitrate, which is stored in your skin, to nitric oxide, a compound
that helps dilate your blood vessels. Just be sure to wear
sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn and
Why risk a hypertension diagnosis when prevention is within reach? Take
steps toward a healthier lifestyle now, so you can prevent high blood
pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
All of these steps and techniques are things you should ask your doctor
about as part of your personalized health plan. Preventative care from
an experienced physician is the best way to fend off many health problems,
and hypertension is no exception. Find a skilled St. Joseph Health primary
care physician or heart specialist using our online
provider directory. Download our
health numbers report card to help you track your blood pressure and other common markers that
measure heart health.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.