High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common and potentially serious condition that affects millions of Americans. It occurs when your heart beats harder than normal to pump blood through your body. This can cause damage to the body’s major organs and may lead to heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure if not treated. If you’re at risk for high blood pressure or already have it, there are steps you can take to lower your blood pressure naturally without medication.
Being overweight or obese
Being overweight or obese is one of the most common reversible risk factors for high blood pressure. In fact, obesity puts people at a much higher risk for developing and dying from high blood pressure.
You might be surprised to learn that being overweight can put you at greater risk for other health problems as well. These include heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
The good news is that losing weight can lower your blood pressure—and help you avoid these serious complications in the future! When it comes to reducing your risk of high blood pressure, trimming down should be on top of the list.
Having high levels of bad cholesterol in your blood
Bad cholesterol is known as LDL cholesterol, and it can build up in your arteries. When that happens, it can lead to heart disease. LDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that can cause clots to form. These clots block blood flow through your body and cause you to have a heart attack or stroke. If this happens, you need treatment right away!
Smoking is a risk factor for high blood pressure.
Smoking affects the heart and blood vessels, causing them to narrow and harden. Smoking also increases your heart rate, which can put additional stress on your arteries. All of these factors can lead to high blood pressure in people who have never smoked before.
Being physically inactive
Physical activity is another important factor that can help lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that regular moderate to vigorous physical activity can reduce high blood pressure by an average of 5 mmHg (or 10%), which would reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%.
Physical activity also has other health benefits, including helping to control weight and prevent obesity, strengthening bones and muscles, lowering cholesterol levels and improving insulin sensitivity.
The ideal amount of physical activity per week is 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) at least five days a week. The benefits are greater if you participate in more than just aerobic exercise: strength training exercises twice a week also produces significant reductions in blood pressure.
Eating a diet that’s high in salt and low in potassium
Eating a diet that’s high in salt and low in potassium can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. A diet contains too much salt if you’re eating more than 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. The recommended daily intake for sodium is less than 2,300 mg per day — so you can see how easy it is to go over the limit!
On the other hand, consuming too little potassium may also result in high blood pressure. If a person didn’t get enough potassium from their diet and they were taking medication that causes potassium loss through the kidneys (such as some diuretics), then they could experience increased blood pressure due to this imbalance between sodium and potassium levels.
To reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure:
- Try not to exceed your body’s need for salt by adding extra when cooking or seasoning food with table salt
Drinking too much alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
- How much is too much? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans define moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
- If you’re worried about your weight, keep in mind that alcohol contains empty calories (meaning it has no nutritional value). Consuming more than the recommended amounts may lead to weight gain and increase your risk for other health problems, like liver disease or breast cancer.
- Drinking too much alcohol can affect how well you sleep. Alcohol disrupts deep sleep stages, which are important for maintaining quality sleep and feeling rested when you wake up in the morning. If you have trouble sleeping after consuming alcohol at night, try abstaining from drinking on or two hours before bedtime so that it doesn’t disturb your slumber cycle during the night
Having diabetes or prediabetes
Diabetes and prediabetes are both conditions that can lead to high blood pressure.
Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are too high because of problems with insulin production or the body’s response to it. This can have serious health consequences, including heart disease and stroke. Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. If you have prediabetes, your daily fasting glucose may be higher than 100 mg/dL but lower than 126 mg/dL on two separate occasions, or your A1C (a measure of long-term average blood glucose) may be between 5.7% and 6.4%.
Having a family history of high blood pressure
There are a number of other risk factors that can contribute to high blood pressure. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, it is likely that your risk is higher than someone who does not have any previous family members with the condition. The earlier in life that high blood pressure begins, the more severe it will generally become over time. This is why it is so important to catch and treat high blood pressure as early as possible before complications arise or damage becomes irreversible.
Dealing with chronic stress
Stress is not always a bad thing. It can be a normal reaction to events that threaten your health or well-being. The problem is when stress becomes chronic, and keeps you on edge for long periods of time. Stressful situations can trigger the “fight or flight” response in your body, which sends blood rushing away from your heart and muscles and toward your brain. This makes you feel as though you’re ready to defend yourself physically against whatever’s causing the stressor—or run away from it—but it also puts a strain on the heart muscle, leading to high blood pressure over time.
In order to deal with chronic stressors effectively, try taking deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed by an event or situation that causes anxiety; this will help slow down the way your body reacts to these things so they don’t add up over time and cause serious medical problems like high blood pressure or heart disease (which have been linked back through research). You might also consider finding ways outside of workdays that allow room for relaxation: meditation apps like Headspace offer guided meditations designed specifically for busy professionals who need help adjusting their mindset after long days at work; if breathing exercises aren’t enough then try listening to music while doing household chores around home instead!
Being pregnant – High blood pressure during pregnancy is called gestational hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension.
In the US, high blood pressure during pregnancy is called gestational hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension. It’s a temporary condition that usually goes away after the baby is born. However, it can cause complications during pregnancy and delivery and problems for the mother, such as preeclampsia.
People with reversible risk factors can lower their blood pressure by changing their lifestyle
You can lower your blood pressure by making some simple changes to your lifestyle. The best part is that many of these changes are free, or only cost a few dollars.
Here are some examples of ways you can lower your blood pressure:
- Drink less alcohol and caffeine
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Regular exercise (try swimming)—30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity on most days is recommended
One of the most exciting things about these 10 reversible risk factors is that they can be controlled through lifestyle changes. This means that if you have high blood pressure and want to manage it effectively, then you need to make some changes in your life! It’s important to remember that even if you don’t think you have any of these risk factors, there may still be one or two of them lurking in your lifestyle without your knowledge.