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Holistic ways to fight hypertension

Health • by Ryno Ellis • 15 May 2017
Hypertension or high blood pressure is known as the ‘silent killer’ with almost one in five adults in South Africa suffering from it.

Blood pressure refers to the pressure of the blood flowing in your arteries. If you have high blood pressure, the blood’s pressure against your arteries is increased. Chronic hypertension can cause the arterial walls to become rigid which may result in the smaller blood vessels becoming narrower.

Hypertension can significantly increase your chances of having a stroke, a heart attack, kidney failure and in extreme cases, death.

Many people only take action against high blood pressure when it’s too late. Therefore, we’ve put together a list of habits you can incorporate to combat hypertension.

*If you suspect that you might be suffering from hypertension, it’s crucial that you visit your local GP as soon as possible.

Holistic ways to control hypertension:

Watch your waistline: Being overweight will increase you blood pressure. Losing weight is one of the most effective lifestyle changes you can make to head off hypertension. By simply being aware of the amount of calories you consume versus the amount you burn, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy body weight.

Cut salts: Consuming too much sodium or salt will increase your blood pressure. By simply making small lifestyle changes like eating less processed food or putting away the salt shaker at supper time, you’ll easily lower your salt intake.

Watch your diet: Being more mindful of the food you put into your mouth can drastically improve your weight and curb high blood pressure. It’s important to keep your plate filled with colourful and healthy options. Opt for plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and avoid foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fats.

Be mindful of your alcohol intake: To keep your blood pressure in check, limit your alcohol. Drinking certain types of alcohol like red wine in small amounts can actually help lower your blood pressure. However, drinking too much (more than two glasses per day) can significantly increase your chances of hypertension.

Put down the smokes: After smoking a cigarette, your blood pressure becomes elevated for many minutes after. The only way to avoid this is by quitting immediately. The good news is that, regardless of your age or the amount of years you’ve been smoking, if you stop, then you increase your lifespan exponentially.

Stress less: This is easier said than done but chronic stress naturally elevates your blood pressure, putting you at high risk of a stroke or heart attack. The best way to battle stress daily is by finding coping mechanisms like meditation, exercise or even something as simple as controlled breathing.

We hope these tips will help you control and keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. It’s important to have your blood pressure checked by your GP every two years if you’re between the ages of 18 and 39. People older than 40 are at higher risk of contracting hypertension and are advised to check their blood pressure every year.

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