Do you know what the single most common disease is in the United States?
If you guessed high blood pressure, you guessed correctly. It’s the most common disease by a very wide margin. In fact, if you live in the US your odds of developing high blood pressure, if you don’t already have it, are a whopping 90 percent! This is according to The Lancet, a respected British medical journal. Unfortunately, one in three American adults already has high blood pressure.
Is high blood pressure serious? As serious as a heart attack. Literally. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes. And these are just a few of the health problems caused by this silent killer.
It’s called the “silent killer” because more than half the people walking around with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. There are no symptoms or warning signs and most people don’t find out until they have their blood pressure checked.
As you can see, the odds of you developing high blood pressure are quite high. If you already have high blood pressure, or are worried you might develop it, read on.
In today’s article I’ll tell you about some natural ways you can get this killer under control, or even eliminate it from your life.
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Natural Ways to Control Hypertension without Medication
The medical name for high blood pressure is hypertension. Literally, the blood vessels can be too tense. That is one cause of hypertension – and by far the most common. The less common cause of hypertension is when there is an imbalance in minerals that cause the blood volume to be too high.
In the first case tense blood vessels cause the blood to be squeezed into a smaller space, which increases pressure. In the second case, there is too much blood volume in the blood vessels, which increases pressure.
Over time the increased pressure damage the blood vessels. And that leads to other, more lethal forms of cardiovascular disease.
Let’s look at some of the common reasons why blood pressure increases.
1) Ditch the Stress
Even the name, hypertension, calls to mind stress. And it’s true that the emotional and lifestyle stress in our lives can have a serious impact on blood pressure.
In fact, stress hormones that get released when we deal with stress poorly literally cause the blood vessels to become tense. That increase in blood pressure is useful for outrunning a tiger, but it’s dangerous when we carry around that stress in the form of resentment, anger, worry, and other types of emotional stress. Because that leads to long term high blood pressure.
The good news is studies have shown that stress management can lower high blood pressure. Some effective stress management techniques include playing or listening to music, reading, taking up a hobby, walking, and meditation.
2) Lose Weight
It’s important to understand that blood pressure increases as your weight increases. Increased weight can cause sleep apnea, which is disrupted breathing while sleeping. When you lower your weight your sleep apnea improves or disappears.
Weight loss is one of the best ways to control your blood pressure. Carrying too much weight around your waist is a risk factor for getting high blood pressure.
If you’re looking for safe ways to lose weight, many of the following suggestions will help.
3) Get Regular Moderate Exercise
Regular exercise is critical for lowering your blood pressure. This doesn’t mean becoming a gym rat or jogging around the neighborhood. It means moderate exercise, like taking a daily 30-minute walk or doing 30 minutes of yard work every day. There are lots of things you can do every day that are fun and a great way to exercise and keep your blood pressure down.
Remember, if you have pre-hypertension (slightly elevated blood pressure) exercise can prevent you from getting full-blown high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, moderate regular exercise will help lower it to a safe level.
4) Eat a Healthy Diet
We’ve all heard it before, but that’s because it’s true: a healthy diet plays a vital role in keeping blood pressure healthy.
To eat a healthy diet you don’t have to go to extremes. In fact, I strongly recommend that you avoid fad and extreme diets. However, the simplest way to improve the quality of your diet is to start replacing processed convenience foods with fruits and vegetables.
In fact, simply adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can go a long way in improving your health.
5) Increase Your Potassium Intake
Most people have been misled into thinking that they need to reduce their sodium intake. But research shows that most Americans are well within the healthy range.
In fact, studies have found that between 3 and 6 grams of sodium is needed each day in order to stay healthy. The average American eats 3.4 grams of sodium – well within the safe range.
The problem isn’t usually sodium. Rather, it’s too little potassium.
Potassium is another mineral that balances sodium. And most Americans eat too little of it.
The best sources of potassium are fruits and vegetables along with milk.
6) Limit Your Alcohol
Alcohol has a good side and a bad side also. In small quantities, like one glass of wine, it can help lower your blood pressure. But in larger quantities it raises blood pressure. It can also cause a host of other health problems if consumed in more than small amounts.
Alcohol guidelines are not more than two drinks a day for men. One drink is 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
7) Stop Smoking
Every time you smoke a cigarette your blood pressure spikes. By quitting smoking you will help get your blood pressure back to normal. Not to mention that people who quit smoking get a significant boost to their life expectancy.
8) Get Outdoors in the Sunshine
Did you know that the closer you live to the equator, the lower your chance of getting high blood pressure? It’s true. Not only that, but blood pressure is usually lower in the summer than the winter.
Why is that? Because sunlight makes your body produce vitamin D. A lack of sunlight lowers your supplies of vitamin D and boosts a hormone that raises blood pressure. Low vitamin D is linked to insulin resistance, obesity, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Sunlight has been shown to release endorphins, brain chemicals responsible for feelings of euphoria. Endorphins are nature’s way of relieving stress, which helps lower high blood pressure.
A natural approach to dealing with this ‘silent killer’ is by making lifestyle changes. This is the only sure way of bringing your blood pressure back into line. Why not try the natural methods outlined above to treat your condition instead of popping pills?
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