The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) together are considered the apex knowledge dissemination bodies when it comes to the working of the human heart and the blood circulation system.
If you suddenly find yourself with high blood pressure (hypertension) under the new guidelines, you might be wondering what to do. You are not alone, millions of others in the world now meet the criteria for stage 1 hypertension.
Should you be nonchalant or press the panic button?
But let that be a red flag to you that you must now be in the saddle, acting proactively to determine your own blood pressure through active changes to how you live. “These guidelines have been long anticipated and are very welcome by most hypertension experts. They may seem drastic, but in putting the knowledge we’ve gained from large trials into clinical practice, they will help thousands of people,” Dr Fisher tells Harvard Health .
These small steps will have incrementalist benefits and will protect you from a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and even cognitive decline. Treat your high blood pressure seriously and take action to bring it down, primarily using lifestyle interventions. “It is well documented that lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure as much as pills can, and sometimes even more,” says Dr Fisher.
Making those changes can be challenging. But do not give in to momentary temptations and grab the bites that lure you with aroma, taste, and presentation despite their scary calorific and lipid-and-sugar profile.
6 steps to get High BP back into normal range:
1. Lose weight: There is no undermining this one factor. Maintaining a healthy weight provides many health benefits, says Heart.org. If you are overweight, losing as little as five to 10 pounds may help lower your blood pressure. Being overweight puts you at greater risk of developing health problems. A little weight loss can bring a lot of health gains.
3. Don’t sit, move about and around Work-From-Home and electronically monitored work (working on digital devices like computers, phones, laptops etc) have made us into sedentary animals. We are yet to bring down our appetite and food consumption – given this minimal action, though. It doesn’t take much exercise to make a difference in your health. Aim for a half-hour at least five days a week. “Make sure you’re doing something you love, or it won’t stick,” says Fisher. “For some that means dancing; for others, biking or taking brisk walks with a friend.” Make a routine of visiting a temple each evening, or walking to fetch milk or the newspaper, or vegetables/grocery/supplies, etc. Even everyday activities such as gardening can help.
5. Limit alcohol intake: The jury is still out on just how much alcohol is safe for anyone to have, as health and parameters vary per person. Check with your doctor. Drinking too much, too often, can increase your blood pressure, so practice moderation.
6. Do Yoga, Pranayam, Dhyaan Sadhana: Those are the original words of the ancestors of today’s Indians who founded and developed Yoga, breathing exercises (Pranayam), meditation (Dhyaan), etc. Stress hormones constrict your blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. In addition, over time, stress can trigger unhealthy habits that put your cardiovascular health at risk. These might include overeating, poor sleep, and misusing drugs and alcohol. For all these reasons, reducing stress should be a priority if you’re looking to lower your blood pressure. Learn from authentic Yoga and Meditation practitioners instead of the expensive, shallow ones that mushroom all over with barely enough training or grounding.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.