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How to Lower Blood Pressure

• Written by Katie

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People with high blood pressure are at increased risk of developing other health conditions. Amongst these are heart attacks and stroke. However, around a third of adults have high blood pressure; many do not even realise it. This makes it important to do everything you can to lower your blood pressure.

Identifying High Blood Pressure

Generally speaking, people will not be aware that they have high blood pressure unless they are tested for it. Otherwise, it will be picked up on when other conditions are developed.

Adults over 40 are advised to get their blood pressure checked at least every five years. This can be done by your GP. However, it may be worth getting tested more regularly if you are in any of the following risk categories:

  • Overweight
  • Exercise irregularly
  • Regularly drink alcohol or caffeine-based drinks
  • Smoker
  • Poor sleeper
  • Black African or Caribbean descent
  • Are over 65

If you are found to have high blood pressure, your doctor will offer advice on bringing your blood pressure back down. You will likely need more tests to keep track of your blood pressure until it's at normal levels again.

Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Most of the time, blood pressure can be lowered by making lifestyle changes. However, some people will also be given medication.

The speed at which lifestyle changes will lower your blood pressure varies. Some can bring it down within a few weeks. Others will take longer. However, the following changes could return your blood pressure to safe levels.

Stop Smoking

People who smoke are at increased risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, every cigarette will temporarily increase your blood pressure, and continued smoking makes it harder for your body to return to normal levels. Therefore, stopping smoking can help to lower blood pressure.

Exercise More

Regular exercise helps to keep your cardiovascular system in good shape. This means your body will find it easier to pump blood around your body, which will aid in lowering blood pressure. During exercise, it is normal for blood pressure to rise. As a result, though blood pressure returns to normal levels after exercising, people with high blood pressure should exercise with caution. Consult your doctor before taking up any exercise regimes; they may be able to prescribe medication to reduce any risks.

According to Blood Pressure UK, the following exercises are good for your blood pressure:

Lose Weight

Being more active will likely contribute to a loss of weight. Fortunately, losing weight is another effective means of lowering blood pressure. People who are overweight have an excess of fat in their circulatory system, which can affect the flow of blood. Losing weight takes pressure off your circulatory system, which in turns lowers blood pressure.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, whether they have high blood pressure or not. It is also an effective means of losing weight. When trying to lower blood pressure, it is important to keep fat intake low, as this can settle in veins and arteries.

Find Out More - The Eatwell Guide

Find Out More - The DASH Diet for High Blood Pressure

Reduce Salt

Another important part of eating a healthy diet is reducing your salt intake. People with high blood pressure should aim to be consuming no more than 6g of salt per day - roughly a teaspoon. One way of lowering your salt intake is to prepare your own meals and use different forms of seasoning. Many of us think that salt is necessary to add flavour, but you can experiment with healthier herbs and spices instead. Even something as simple as making your own tomato soup instead of a store-bought can could drastically reduce your salt intake.

Drink Less Alcohol

We are a nation of drinkers, and it has become normal to drink a pint of bitter or a glass of wine at the end of a long day. However, drinking regularly can increase your blood pressure. To lower your blood pressure, you should cut down how much you drink. It's okay to drink small amounts during the week, but you should remain under the advised limit. Regular drinking can cause your blood pressure to remain high even once all the alcohol is out of your system.

Find Out More - 5 Ways of Cutting Down and Quitting Alcohol

Drink Less Caffeine

Caffeinated drinks also contribute to high blood pressure. Like alcohol, you should try to consume less caffeine as part of your diet. This means drinking less coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks. Focus on low sugar juices and squashes instead.

Lower Blood Pressure with Medication

If you have high blood pressure, lifestyle changes alone may not always be enough. In some cases, you may be given blood pressure medication to help lower it.

Under-5ss are likely to be offered an ACE inhibitor or ARB. These relax the blood vessels to lower blood pressure. They may cause headaches or dizziness; if you experience side effects with ACE inhibitors, your doctor is more likely to switch you onto ARBs.

Over-55s, and people of African or Caribbean origin, are more likely to be offered a calcium channel blocker. This medication widens your blood vessels, helping to reduce blood pressure. You may experience swollen ankles or constipation while using this medication. Grapefruit juice has been reported to worsen these symptoms.

Beta blockers used to be prescribed as treatment for high blood pressure but are used less often today. This medication slows your heartrate to lower blood pressure. They will likely only be provided if other treatments have failed.

Peace of Mind for People with High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, you may be worried about the potential effects it could have on your body. Though you can reduce these risks by making certain lifestyle changes, we recognise the importance of peace of mind. A personal alarm from Lifeline24 means you can call for help at the press of a button if you feel unwell or have a fall.

The Lifeline24 personal alarm connects you to our 24/7 Response Team at the press of a button. They have been TSA Accredited to ensure you are always in safe hands. When your alarm is activated, our professional team arrange help by informing your emergency contacts and, when necessary, the emergency services.

For additional peace of mind, purchase our fall detector plan. In the event of a fall, the pendant will automatically alert our team. If you feel unwell, it can be activated the same as our personal alarm pendant.

To find out more about the Lifeline24 personal alarm service, read our detailed guide. If you have any questions, call us on 0800 999 0400 to speak to our friendly customer service team. Order your Lifeline24 personal alarm today.

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