Since February is American Heart Month it wouldn’t be right for us to not talk about blood pressure. The statistics for high blood pressure are some of the highest of any medical condition that exists, affecting more than 75 million Americans and 1 in every 3 people. There is a very good chance that someone in your life or even your family has been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Why should you care about your blood pressure? Because chronic high blood pressure can lead to more severe health issues like heart attacks and strokes.
Blood pressure refers to the specific pressure inside the body’s blood vessels and it’s regulated mostly by the heart’s pumping mechanism. Blood pressure is read by two numbers written as a fraction. The top number is the systolic,which is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart contracts to pump blood out, while the bottom number is the diastolic, which is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart is at rest between beats. A normal blood pressure reading is now considered lower than 120/80.
While genetics can play a role on whether you get high blood pressure, it is more likely due to environmental factors. Here are 3 easy lifestyle habits you can adopt to regulate your blood pressure naturally.
- Exercise. Routine exercise has been shown to have a dramatic impact on your blood pressure. Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood through your body. When your heart is more efficient, it has to work a lot less to circulate blood, decreasing the pressure in your arteries. Exercise also helps with weight management, which is another important aspect of managing blood pressure.
- Nutrition. Certain foods can either contribute to an increase in your blood pressure or help maintain a healthy one. Foods that are high in sugar are known for increasing blood pressure as well as body weight and inflammation. Certain fats like trans fats can also worsen your blood pressure by raising the LDL (low-density lipoproteins) in your body which is bad cholesterol. While cholesterol in general is not bad for you (and in fact is necessary for producing important hormones and cellular reactions in the body), it is important to maintain a healthy ratio of high HDL and low LDL cholesterol.
- Stress management. Stress is a large contributor to high blood pressure because of it’s effects on the central nervous system. Chronic stress pushes the nervous system into a sympathetic driven state or ‘fight or flight environment’ for the body. This system has an important role when exercising or running from a bear, but your body should not be in that state constantly. This constant imbalance in the nervous system can lead to high blood pressure and has even been implicated as a precursor to disease processes. Practicing mindfulness or meditation daily can be a great way to manage stress. Did you know that Foundational Correction can also help balance the nervous system which can improve your body’s ability to adapt to stress?
It has been said that high blood pressure costs people an additional $2,000.00 a year in medical costs. Additionally, since high blood pressure usually contributes to other chronic diseases and illnesses it’s no surprise that managing it is an important part of our quality of life…and retirement fund. By putting the responsibility of our health into our own hands, we can prevent high blood pressure from wreaking havoc on our lives in a natural and cost-effective way.