Blood Pressure Medication: Why Going Natural is Always Better
Many people with high blood pressure turn to medical practitioners for assistance to lower their high blood pressure. This seems obvious, doesn’t it? After all, blood pressure medications offer a seeming fast track toward better health. Examples of high blood pressure medications are:
Beta-blockers slow down your heartbeat and decrease nerve impulses. They are received, generally, via IV injection.
2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
ACE inhibitors work to block the creation of a hormone that narrows your blood vessels.
3. Calcium Channel Blockers
CCBs work to block calcium entrance in the blood vessels and the heart muscles. This allows the blood vessels to relax.
4. Central Agonists
Central Agonists work to relax the blood vessels by slowing nerve impulses.
Vasodilators open up blood vessels, allowing rapid and appropriate blood flow.
6. Renin Inhibitors
Renin inhibitors lower bodily chemicals that tighten blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure medications yield a plethora of side effects.
Look below for better understanding:
- Asthma symptoms and difficulty breathing—a result of Beta-blocker high blood pressure medication.
- Depression—a result of Beta-blocker high blood pressure medication.
- Problems having sex—a result of Beta-blocker high blood pressure medication.
- Hacking cough—a result of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors.
- Skin rash—a result of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors.
- Constipation—a result of Calcium Channel Blockers.
- Heart palpitations—a result of Calcium Channel Blockers.
- Frequent headaches—a result of Calcium Channel Blockers.
- Anemia—a result of Central Agonists.
- Fever—a result of Central Agonists.
- Fluid retention—a result of Vasodilators.
- Excessive hair growth—a result of vasodilators.
- Diarrhea—a result of Renin Inhibitors.
Therefore, it’s essential to look for other, better modes of healing to lower blood pressure. Remember that lifestyle contributes to high blood pressure in a plethora of ways. That’s why initially altering lifestyle habits can bring automatic reduction to blood pressure numbers, pushing you away from side- effect-ridden medications. The key, is incorporating several lifestyle changes and natural remedies together.
Look to the following natural lifestyle alterations to reach toward a future of healthy blood pressure:
1. Regular Exercise
Note that regular exercise of up to thirty to sixty minutes, five days a week, can actually decrease blood pressure numbers by four to nine millimeters of mercury. Aside from that: a strict exercise program can decrease blood pressure numbers in just a few weeks, taking you out of the danger-zone.
Furthermore, exercise can keep prehypertension in check. Remember that prehypertension comes with systolic pressure above 130 and below 139 or diastolic pressure above 80 and below 89.
It’s essential to speak to a medical practitioner prior to beginning an exercise plan. Some people with high blood pressure need to start at different levels. For example, some more inactive people should begin with just ten minutes of exercise a day to get started on the road to recovery.
Note that only exercising on the weekends—which is a tactic utilized by many busy weekday people—ultimately does more harm than good. Drastically increasing the level of physical activity can hinder the heart and elevate blockage. Remember that you need to give your heart time to adjust to physical activity.
2. Lose Weight and Continually Keep the Scale Number in Check
High blood pressure has a natural link with the number on the scale. A loss of just ten pounds or so can decrease blood pressure and also increase the effectiveness of any current blood pressure medications.
Note that not all weight is created equal. The weight around the waist is essential to keep at bay. Look to the following statistics to understand why:
- Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure with waist measurements of 35 inches or more.
- Men are more likely to develop high blood pressure with waist measurements of 40 inches or more.
- Asian women are more likely to develop high blood pressure with waist measurements of 32 inches or more.
- Asian men are more likely to develop high blood pressure with waist measurements of 36 inches or more.
3. Limit Sodium Intake
As aforementioned, sodium plays a serious role in creating high blood pressure. Reducing current sodium diet levels can reduce blood pressure levels by up to eight mmHg. People should limit their sodium intake to about 2,300 milligrams a day. People who are more at-risk for high blood pressure, like African Americans or people older than fifty, should try to keep numbers in the 1,500 mg per day range.
Look to the following tips to keep sodium intake at bay:
- Always read food labels and choose lower-sodium options.
- Write in a food diary how much sodium you consume per day.
- Never add salt to your food. One teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium, which is your precise daily allotted amount. Utilize herbs or spices rather than tossing on the salt.
- Walk away from the freezer section, which boasts many preservative-rich, sodium-rich foodstuffs; furthermore, avoid bacon, potato chips, and processed meats.
- Lower salt intake one day at a time. If you crave salt, decrease your sodium levels just one day at a time to get used to the flavor.
4. Learn to Eat Well
Eating a vibrant, healthy diet is essential to lower blood pressure and keep numbers normalized. Look to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and items that are low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. This can lower blood pressure numbers by 14 mmHg—the most dramatic decrease of all.
Eating a blood pressure-healthy diet plan is known as the DASH diet: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
A. Boost potassium numbers.
As aforementioned, potassium brings overall sodium balance in your bodily cells. Look to fruits and vegetables rather than pill-form supplements.
B. Write down everything you eat.
Make sure to monitor everything you eat by writing everything down in a small journal. That way, you can pay better attention to your habits and make any alterations moving forward.
C. Head into the grocery store with a prepared list.
When you go into the grocery store without a plan, you oftentimes leave with junk food and unhealthy snacks. Avoid junk food and utilize your food list to pay attention to your food goals. As you maneuver through the grocery store, it’s essential to continually read food labels, as well.
D. Treat yourself (sometimes).
Remember: the DASH diet is a lifestyle change. However, that doesn’t mean you have to look away from your favorite treats for the rest of your life. Remember that everything in moderation is key, and if you really want a candy bar every one in a while, your blood pressure won’t take any hard hits.
Look to a later module for better understanding of the DASH Diet, and learn several recipes to get started on the road to recovery.
5. Decrease Alcohol Consumption.
Remember that very small amounts of alcohol can actually lower blood pressure levels by up to four mm Hg. However, that initial protection immediately falls away with another drink or two. Women should drink no more than one alcoholic drink per day, while men should drink no more than two. Too much alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure levels by many mmHg. Furthermore, it can reduce overall effectiveness of current blood pressure medications.
Look to the following tips to reduce alcohol consumption:
A. Keep an alcohol intake diary
Just like a food diary or a sodium diary, it’s essential to keep an alcohol diary. Remember that each drink means: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of liquor. Record how many drinks you intake on any given day to keep track of current lifestyle habits.
B. Ease off drinking, one day at a time
Alter your drinking intake by reducing your drink numbers one day at a time, in a sort of taper. If you normally drink three drinks, drink only two today. Continue moving toward less alcohol over time.
C. Eliminate binge-drinking habits
If you consume more than four drinks in a row, your blood pressure takes a sudden spike, creating several unfortunate health problems.
6. Ease Stress with Mindfulness and Meditation
Stress and anxiety can bring immediate spikes to blood pressure, and this can become chronic over time. Look to the following mindfulness meditation for relief from your stressors. Understand what’s causing your stress, and fall away from your worrying thoughts.
Recent research at the College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine in Fairfield, Iowa, looks to ancient practices to lower blood pressure naturally via transcendental meditation. According to the head doctor, a man named Robert Schneider, MD, transcendental meditation works to allow people to find restful alertness and awareness of the greater body. Through transcendental meditation, people have been able to ease their stress levels by creating biochemical changes that allow the body to supercharge self-repair mechanisms. Because stress is one of the number one causes of high blood pressure, it is essential to keep it in check.
During transcendental meditation, people are meant to choose a phrase or a word —oftentimes referred to as a mantra—that can be repeated over and over to create a sense of calm. People are meant to be seated comfortably, their eyes closed, for about twenty minutes twice a day, continually repeating that mantra to fuel this internal self-repair.
According to a recent transcendental meditation study, about one hundred and ninety-seven people out of two hundred and thirteen showed signs of reduced blood pressure after they utilized transcendental meditation for over three weeks.
Therefore: find yourself a calm, quiet, dark place. Choose a word or phrase, such as: “peace,” and say the word to yourself, over and over, for about twenty minutes. This word repetition will allow your brain a much-needed break from current stressors. It can focus itself on repair and strength.
7. Quit Smoking and Stay Away from Secondhand Smoke
Nicotine in cigarettes can boost blood pressure by more than 10 mmHg in the immediate hour after the last cigarette. That means people who smoke throughout the entire day are consistently boosting their blood pressure, creating constant tension between blood flow and the arteries.
Furthermore, inhaling second-hand cigarette smoke can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure.
8. Reduce Caffeine Consumption
Caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda can bring automatic spikes to blood pressure; however, it’s currently not understood if these spikes are permanent or simply temporary.
It’s important to understand the personal effects of caffeine on your body. Thirty minutes after you drink your next cup of coffee, you should check your blood pressure (utilizing an at-home blood pressure monitor). If your numbers are higher by ten mmHG, you should decrease your caffeine consumption because your blood pressure is sensitive to caffeine effects.
The Importance of At-Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
After a hypertension diagnosis, it’s essential to monitor blood pressure levels every day over time. The doctor’s office can only initiate a sort of one-moment snapshot, while at-home monitoring can give the doctor a better portrait of the actual pressure in the arteries.
Furthermore, blood pressure can alter for many different reasons, such as emotions, current diet, and any medications. At-home monitoring takes out the guesswork.
Prior to initiating into at-home blood pressure monitoring, however, it’s essential to understand the difference between right-arm and left-arm blood pressure. Usually, a difference of 10 mmHg or less is quite normal between the two arms. Furthermore, if one arm usually has higher blood pressure than the other arm, one should always test this arm, rather than the lower arm, for at-home readings.
Look to the following tips for clear at-home blood pressure monitoring:
- Always make sure that your blood pressure cuff fits. Your monitor should fit correctly around your upper arm.
- Make sure not to smoke cigarettes, exercise, or drink coffee or soda in the thirty minutes prior to at-home measurements.
- Learn how to sit when you take your reading. Always sit with your back supported and straight up and down in a proper, wooden or plastic hard-backed chair. Place your feet flat on the floor, and place your arms on a table with your upper arm directly in line with your heart. The middle or your cuff should be positioned above the center of your interior elbow.
- Always take about three readings with one-minute intervals in between.
- Record every reading you take by including the time and the date of the reading alongside. Make sure to show your doctor your readings.
- Remember that optimal blood pressure is about 120/80 mmHg. Make sure you understand if you’re normal, prehypertension, or in stage 1 or 2 of high blood pressure.
- If your systolic number is higher than 180 or your diastolic number is higher than 110, you must seek medical treatment immediately.
Different Types of At-Home Blood Pressure Monitors
When looking for an at-home blood pressure monitor, note that all blood pressure monitors have three basic parts: the inflatable cuff, a read-out gauge, and, occasionally, a stethoscope. You can find these at-home monitors at medical supply stores and many pharmacies.
The cuff of the at-home monitor is made of rubber with a nylon fastener. As you take your blood pressure, the cuff will fill up with air and squeeze your arm.
Note that at-home monitors are generally either aneroid or digital. Aneroid monitors include a gauge dial with an arrow that points to your blood pressure numbers.
Sometimes, blood pressure monitors come with a stethoscope that can listen to the flow of blood from the brachial artery to the elbow. If you aren’t trained to hear these sounds, however, they’re incredibly difficult to understand. Recent digital blood pressure cuffs can actually record the information from this sound for you.