How to Reverse High Blood Pressure, Say Experts
Nothing may be as important: Blood pressure forces blood to flow to the circulatory system and allows oxygen and nutrients through to the arteries that's carried to the heart and other parts of the body. Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day, but when it stays at a certain level, it's dangerous and can lead to serious health issues like heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Almost half of adult Americans have high blood pressure, which can cause heart disease if left untreated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Nearly half of adults in the United States (47%, or 116 million) have hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg or are taking medication for hypertension." But the good news is high blood pressure can be reversed if certain precautions are taken. Eat This, Not That! Health talked to medical experts who explained how to get high blood pressure under control. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
High Blood Pressure is Called The "Silent Killer"
Dr. Elizabeth Yurth MD, ABPMR, ABAARM, FAARM, FAARFM says, "Elevated blood pressure is often referred to as a 'silent killer.' This is because people can live their day-to-day lives with hypertension and never feel any symptoms. When blood pressure is elevated it puts constant stress on blood vessels. The constant stress causes damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels. Repairing this damage is an inflammatory process that leads to atherosclerosis, increasing risk for cardiovascular disease. A great supplement used to develop a protective layer to the inner lining of the blood vessels is Arterosil. Taking a total omega3 of 3g daily will also help to reduce inflammation. Additionally, managing stress through deep breathing exercises or meditation is an effective way of reducing blood pressure when in stressful scenarios."
Eat More Spice
According to Dr. Yurth, "Spices are a simple and easily available way to naturally lower blood pressure. Specifically cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic have all been shown to be effective natural methods of managing hypertension, though there are many others that have demonstrated promising impacts, including cardamom and ginger. A study published in December 2021 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that herbs and spices at a relatively high culinary dosage improves 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure in adults at risk of cardiometabolic diseases."
Dr. Rigved Tadwalkar, MD, a board certified cardiologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA states, "There are two foundational methods to bring down high blood pressure; with and without medicines. The good news is that the "non-medical" methods are widely available for most to implement without having to do anything particularly fancy. The best treatment for hypertension for anyone who is overweight is weight loss. In fact, the general rule of thumb is that every 1 kilogram of weight loss will reduce an individual's blood pressure by 1 millimeter of mercury. While this is easier said than done, there are a plethora of resources available to tailor a plan to fit each individual's needs. However, as this study suggests that pandemic-related hypertension may not be related to weight gain, dietary changes, including avoidance of high sodium foods (e.g. canned goods, frozen meals, and processed meats) is key. A formalized way to implement this is by following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, endorsed by the American Heart Association. For those hitting the bottle a little harder during the pandemic, a reduction in alcohol intake will also help with blood pressure reduction. Instead of beer, wine or an alcoholic mixed drink, consider substituting with alternatives with similar flavors such as a low sugar-low calorie flavored sparkling water, or plain club soda with fresh fruit on the rocks. Other methods to reduce blood pressure include implementing stress-relieving activities. This can be done in a variety of ways. While yoga and meditation are popular, simple things like trying to avoid stressful triggers, journaling, or carving 10 minutes out to do an activity that one enjoys can go a long way."
Dr. Jennifer Wong, MD, cardiologist and medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA says, "Lifestyle modification is an important part of any treatment plan for hypertension. These modifications include limiting salt intake to 2.3 grams of sodium per day, potassium supplementation unless contraindicated by kidney disease, weight loss, moderate intensity aerobic exercise 40 minutes/3-4 times per week, and limiting alcohol intake. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet has also been shown to reduce blood pressure. This is a diet high in vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts and low in sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats. The diet is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein, and fiber but low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol." Stress reduction, exercise, weight management and a healthy overall diet remain the best recommendations. Last but not least, if medications are required, please note that there are many mild medications and not associated with any major side effects and are well tolerated if needed."
Stop Eating Salt
"A major cause is excess body fat and consumption of a highly addictive and deadly killer- salt, " says Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D. Professor of Public Health New Mexico State University. "People have been programmed to consume more salt with fries, sauces, seasonings, junk foods, processed and canned foods. The marketing and ubiquitous presence of these items to help people find food more appealing and tastier is killing hundreds of thousands of people. Medications for high blood pressure are a strange addiction. I am surrounded by a lot of health professionals or reasonably educated individuals in family, friends, and neighborhood. However, some of them use medication as a shield to continue to use a lot of salt (e.g., 'I take meds so fries are ok to eat'). This is dangerous as it may continue to cause heart attacks and strokes in people despite the increasing dose of medications. The priority is to reduce salt consumption- add less. For example, avoid using table salt/seasonings/sauces to make food tastier, use fresh foods instead of canned or processed, and start reading food labels."
Health educator and nutrition consultant Brooke Nicole, MPH says, "When you do not drink enough water, your body compensates by retaining sodium. Without water, your blood also thickens, which causes your heart muscles to work harder to squeeze your blood through your blood vessels and leads to hypertension. Ultimately, water helps to detoxify your blood and remove excess sodium in your body."
"A third of American adults do not sleep enough and the number of people with sleep problems continues to increase, Dr. Khubchandani explains. "Short sleep is linked to high blood pressure and people need to focus on this to reduce blood pressure. A major reason for sleep problems is stress. The stress in America studies from American Psychological Association and others from the Stress Institute continue to highlight the rising rates of stress in the U.S. Stress management is key to reducing blood pressure." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.
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