Experts estimate that a significant number of people are going about their daily lives without a clue that they are walking time bombs waiting to explode at any time. The source of this potential catastrophe is undetected high blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer” since the condition produces few noticeable side effects. High blood pressure can lead to a person’s having a stroke, a blood clot lodged in a vital organ, or even a heart attack. Kidney failure is another possible effect. That’s why you need to know what your blood pressure numbers are and do everything you can to keep them in the safe or normal range.
What is normal blood pressure? Doctors like to see your top number, or systolic level, at 120 or lower. The lower number, or diastolic level, should remain below 80. Anyone with consistent readings of 140 over 80 is considered to have pre-hypertension and should make lifestyle changes to bring those numbers down to normal levels. Although everyone’s blood pressure can increase occasionally during exercise or upon exertion, and occasionally it may go up for short periods while experiencing stress, it is those whose numbers stay in the elevated range that need to take immediate action.
What can you do to reduce your blood pressure? Plenty! Start by asking your doctor to recommend an exercise program. Moderate walking for 30 minutes each day is a great way to get moving on a regular basis. Exercise is one of the easiest and best ways to dilate your blood vessels in a safe, natural way, and it helps to eliminate extra bodily fluid, which is another factor related to increased blood pressure. Never over-exert yourself and follow your doctor’s orders, since those with high blood pressure may be at increased risk for a cardiac or stroke occurrence if they overdo physical activity until their body gets used to it.
Another way to manage your blood pressure is to keep a personal journal or diary. At least three times a week, write for 15 to 20 minutes about any negative events that are going on in your life. Research shows that writing about these things can help to improve your immune system’s function and can lead to a feeling of greater control, thereby helping to lower blood pressure.
Make time to relax each day, even if it is only for 15 minutes. Take a soothing shower or bathtub soak, walk the dog (since pets can help to lower those numbers, too), or listen to calming music. It may help to confide in a close friend and exchange concerns so that you can encourage each other. Spiritual involvement has been shown also to have a positive effect on health. Visit a worship center or two to find one you are comfortable with. Learn how to pray or meditate to focus spiritual energy on communion with the Creator and on becoming healthier.
Although it may not happen overnight, these activities can play a positive role in returning your blood pressure to safer levels.
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