Your blood pressure--a measure of how hard your heart works to move blood around your body--naturally increases as we age, right? Wrong! Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, indicates something is wrong in your body function and lifestyle. If your doctor says your blood pressure runs too high, then follow his or her advice regarding medication, and employ some natural ways to achieve lower blood pressure.
Normal Adult Blood Pressure
It should be no higher than 120/80, says the American Heart Association. The top number in this ratio (the systolic pressure) measures how hard your arteries work to pump oxygenated blood around your body. The bottom number in the ratio (the diastolic pressure) indicates how well blood vessels, and your heart, rest between heartbeats.
While times of panic and stress can increase these numbers temporarily, returning to normalcy typically lowers your blood pressure to normal range. Sustained readings above the norm indicate you have elevated blood pressure or are hypertensive.
When Your Numbers Run High...
At your annual physical, your General Medicine practitioner will take your blood pressure and your other vital signs. Over time, if your blood pressure tracks high, he or she may ask you to take medication and to make some changes which could lower your blood pressure naturally. Lowering your blood pressure helps avoid serious health complications such as heart attack, stroke, sexual dysfunction, and vision and kidney problems.
Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
1. Keep a healthy weight.
2. Exercise daily. Simple walking is fine.
3. Eliminate all tobacco products.
4. Eat a heart-healthy diet, low in sodium and caffeine.
5. Limit how much alcohol you drink: one drink a day if you are a woman and two a day if you are a man, says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
6. Reduce stress with exercising, deep breathing, doing yoga, getting adequate sleep, or spending time with people you love.
Lower Blood Pressure Equals a Healthier Life
Achieving and maintaining a lower blood pressure not only prolongs your life, but it also improves the quality of your life and your overall sense of well-being. Be sure to get your numbers checked, and do what you can to keep them at healthy levels.