Managing Hypertension

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For both kids and adults alike a routine doctor’s visit involves a mandatory blood pressure check.  Blood pressure can creep up quietly unbeknownst to us. Most people find out about blood pressure problems only during their routine office visit. This condition is also called hypertension and affects our health at all levels.

A good car driver knows how much air to fill in the tires to set it at the right pressure.  But too much air, causes high pressure which can eventually burst the tire.  Similarly blood pressure is the force with which the blood flows in the arteries when the heart pumps blood.  When the force of the flow is too high it turns into hypertension or high blood pressure.  The systolic pressure measures the force of blood flow when the hearting is beating and diastolic pressure measures the blood flow when the heart is resting in between beats.

The reasons for the spike in the blood pressure are many.   Some of the common reasons are – diets high in salt, fat or cholesterol, kidney problems, diabetes, family history, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, aging, high caffeine intake, high tobacco/alcohol usage, stress etc.

If we carefully scrutinize the common causes of the disease, we find many of the factors contributing to hypertension as in diet, lifestyle, healthy weight maintenance, regular exercise, eliminating/reducing caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and alleviating stress are entirely in our control.  Bringing a change in the above areas can significantly bring the blood pressure to within normal range of 120/80.

One major factor for the increase in hypertension cases is increased stress levels that many of us experience as part of our daily living. Stress causes the body to releases harmful cortisols and adrenaline into the blood stream. These hormones create a temporary spike in blood pressure, causing the heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow to prepare the body to handle a emergency situation. When the stressful situation is over, blood pressure goes back to its normal level.  However when we are in persistent state of stress aka chronic stress the pressure stays at high levels for longer duration which is harmful in the long run.

While is it is hard to avoid stressful situations, it is very much possible to equip ourselves to better manage our mind, body and emotion. If we are able to manage these aspects in all situations then stress can become practically nonexistent or minimal at best.  So, it is not as much about the stress, as much as SELF -management that is crucial to a healthy and joyful life.

After you have consulted the doctor and have a go forward medication plan to get the blood pressure back on track, you can try out some alternate remedies below.  Consider adding any or all of these to your daily self care routine, if you so wish.

1) Yoga and Meditation:  Yoga and meditation is not only good for stress reduction but also to improve overall physical, mental and emotional health. Daily yoga practices improves flexibility and  stability. The synchronization of the breath and the movement deepens the mind body connection improving overall physical and mental resilience and enhances one’s ability to manage stressful situations.

2) Supplements: Vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, enzymes, amino acids, or other dietary ingredients can boost the immune system and provide the added nutrition that is otherwise not adequately consumed through foods.

3) Exercise: For people with high blood pressure 30 minutes of exercise daily is recommended.  Combining exercise and yoga/meditation can do wonders to stabilize the blood pressure.

4) Diet: There are certain foods when consumed can help normalize the blood pressure

Onion: Being an anti-bacterial agent, it is considered a best healing diet for lowering blood pressure and curing heart disease. Onion contains flavonol quercetin that helps in lowering  the blood pressure and hypertension

Garlic: Garlic is well known blood thinner.  Consuming garlic helps reduce the blood       pressure and cholesterol levels as it prevents blood flow obstruction in the arteries.

Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Amla is proven to be very effective in lowering blood      pressure. It considered as an effective ingredient in preventing heart failures and alleviating hypertension.

Green Tea: Consumption of green tea in moderation has a calming effect and can decrease stress levels, one of the major causes of blood pressure and hypertension.

Watermelon: This fruit has plenty of antioxidants that can help reduce blood pressure and eliminate the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Lemon: It is a very effective in reducing high blood pressure levels in the body as it helps in softening the blood vessels and aids smooth flow of blood.

Honey:  It is a potent ingredient that is known to improve overall health.  Consuming honey on a regular basis also helps in relaxing the walls of blood vessels and controlling blood pressure levels.

In addition to the above add plenty of fruits and vegetable to your diet. By making these life style changes, it is possible to bring blood pressure under control and eventually stop meditation.

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