Nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Having hypertension can put you at increased risk for heart disease and stroke, which are two of the top five leading causes of death in the United States. Therefore, it is important that if you have high blood pressure that you should work to be more heart healthy to prevent chronic disease. This usually includes eating a heart healthy diet and exercising. However, a recent survey shows that exercise is the last thing people want to do to try and lower their blood pressure.
About High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood through your blood vessels is too high. When you go to the doctor to get your blood pressure checked, they look at two different numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure, which is the top number of your blood pressure reading. This number is the force of the blood at each heart beat, or contraction.
- Diastolic blood pressure, which is the bottom number of your blood pressure reading. This number is the force of blood through your vessels in between contractions.
High blood pressure reading is 130 over 80 mmHg. It used to be 140 over 90 mmHg, but was changed last year since it was found that those people who were at the time considered borderline hypertensive would be more likely to start helpful treatment for their blood pressure if diagnosed at this stage of hypertension.
Blood Pressure Survey
Researchers at Yale University performed a survey to find out what lifestyle interventions people were most likely to engage in to lower their blood pressure. Those people taking the survey had to choose from four options: taking a pill, drinking one cup of tea each day, exercising or getting a monthly or semi-annual injection. It was found that most people, about 79-percent would be willing to take a pill to get one extra month of life, while 78-percent would be willing to drink a cup of tea daily. Furthermore, about 96-percent of people were willing to do either of these activities to gain five years of life. Exercising was one of the least popular interventions, slightly above taking a monthly injection, to lower blood pressure.
Other Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
Although exercise is a great way to gain and maintain heart health, there are other lifestyle factors you can tweak to improve your blood pressure.
- Lose weight: Losing weight is not an easy thing to do. However, just a small amount of weight loss, like 10 pounds, could help lower your blood pressure.
- Eat a heart healthy diet full of fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and lean proteins. Also, lower your intake of processed, salty and sugary foods to help improve your heart health.
- Lowering alcohol intake to no more than one standard drink a day for women or two standard drinks a day for men can help your blood pressure. One standard drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
- Quit smoking or don’t start since smoking can narrow blood vessels. In turn, this can make it harder for the heart to get the oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the rest of the body. Therefore, smoking not only puts your heart at risk, but the health of your entire body.
- Reduce stress to help lower your blood pressure. Relaxation breathing, yoga, meditation, or simply talking to a counselor or trusted friend or colleague can help. In turn, this can help lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health.
- Take a heart healthy supplement each day such as Presura by Vita Sciences. Presura contains natural ingredients such as hawthorn berry, niacin, and garlic extract that have been found to promote healthy blood pressure levels. However, it is important to always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement to make sure it is safe to take with any other medications you may take.
American Heart Association (November 2017) “The Facts About High Blood Pressure.”
American Heart Association News (November 13, 2017) “Nearly half of U.S. adults could now be classified with high blood pressure, under new definitions.”
Centers for Disease Control (March 17, 2017) “Fast Stats: Leading Causes of Death.”
HealthDay (April 7, 2018) “Exercise for High Blood Pressure? Most Not Keen on Idea.”
Mayo Clinic (May 30, 2015) “10 Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication.”