Blood pressure is the force of blood on the walls of the arteries. It is easily measurable using a monitoring device called a sphygmomanometer. It is measured as two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure in the arteries in response to the heartbeat, while diastolic measures in between the heartbeat. Ideally, systolic pressure should be less than 120 mmHg and diastolic between 60 and 80mmHg.
Previously, the emphasis had been on controlling the systolic pressures, but now it is realized that diastolic control is equally important. If a high diastolic pressure remains untreated, it damages the arteries leading to organ damage, such as heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, visual impairment, aneurysm, dementia, and more.
Researches show a lot of ways to lower the pressures but any method used lowers the blood pressure as a single entity, not separately as systolic and diastolic.
The two most important tracks in lowering the pressures are lifestyle modifications and medications. Effective approaches include using both in moderation.
Symptoms of high diastolic pressure
High blood pressure is rarely associated with symptoms. People can only discover that they have high blood pressure during a regular visit to their doctor or after complications such as a heart attack or stroke.
Some of the symptoms that may be indirectly related to high blood pressure include:
- blood spots in the eyes
- facial flushing
Here are a few tips and bits of advice to follow for controlled blood pressure:
How to lower blood pressure
1.Eat healthy foods:
Eating a well-balanced diet including healthy foods and avoiding extra fatty items should be the target.
- Vegetables: spinach, broccoli, carrots, etc.
- Fruits: apples, banana, orange, etc.
- Lean cut meats
- Skinless chicken/turkey
- Low-fat dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese
- Whole grains: brown rice, bread
- Nuts and beans
- Potassium-rich foods: bananas, dates, tomatoes, spinach
- Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats: avocado, olive oil, canola oil, nuts
- Dark chocolate: that contains up to 70% cocoa
- Saturated and trans fats; such as fast food, frozen foods, processed meats
- Sodium: check labels for sodium content and take less than 1500mg /day
- Caffeine: less than 400mg/day
- Alcohol: limit 2 drinks per day for men, 1 for women
- Refined sugars and added sugars: in soft drinks, candies, cakes
- Stop Smoking
- Limit Caloric intake
Physical activity of 30 minutes on most days of the week for a total of up to 150 minutes per week is recommended. Exercises include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, running, etc. This not only reduces weight but also reduces stress that can impact blood pressure. Weight loss of 2 pounds means a reduction of 1 mmHg pressure. The ideal waist for men is less than 40 inches and for women less than 35 inches. Anything above these values is usually over-weight and should be reduced.
Some people prefer to keep things natural and use nutraceuticals and natural supplements. These include probiotics, olive oils, flavonoids, garlic, vitamin C, vitamin D, Folate, Magnesium, fiber, Acetyl-L-carnitine, and Coenzyme-Q10. While using these, be mindful of interactions with other medications.
Anxiety and stress are important factors for worsening blood pressure; meditation, deep breathing exercises, acupuncture, and even regular workouts are sometimes advised to keep the body and the mind calm and relaxed.
5. Quit smoking
According to AHA, smoking can cause fatty deposits to build up within the arteries. Accumulation of fat decreases blood flow into the arteries, increasing blood pressure.
People who smoke should stop smoking, and all people should prevent exposure to second-hand smoke.
6.Consult a physician for medications
It is always better to check in with the doctor if the blood pressure is high. They can provide you a plan to work with for controlling the blood pressure.
How long does it take to come down?
The length of time it takes to lower your blood pressure can vary from person to person.
In addition, some methods for lowering blood pressure will work for some persons, but not others. A person can expect to see changes in his or her lifestyle and dietary changes within a few days to weeks.
High blood pressure is a serious condition and steps should be taken to decrease the raised pressures. Lifestyle modifications can be the first step to better health. And never delay seeing a doctor for their advice.