Let me take a moment to explain what I'm talking about.
" 'Blood pressure' is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways." (Source) High blood pressure is one of the leading killers in the US and it causes a lot of different problems, such as heart attacks.
"Blood pressure is measured as systolic (sis-TOL-ik) and diastolic (di-ah-STOL-ik) pressures. "Systolic" refers to blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. "Diastolic" refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
You most often will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury—the units used to measure blood pressure.)" (Source) Anything below 120/80 is normal, anything between 120/80 -140/90 is pre-hypertension (where I am), and anything above 140/90 is high.
It's not that I have HIGH blood pressure, per say (it tries to rise and I battle it), but I have some serious issues with it. I stayed in the pre-hypertension range for awhile and doctors kept getting worried. They've threatened to put me on medication and took me off my birth control for awhile and put me on a different one that didn't have any estrogen in it (while it protected against conceiving, it didn't protect me from my insane hormones or acne).
As soon as I graduated college, my blood pressure almost instantly dropped down to safe levels (college will kill you). So I went back to a new birth control pill that has half the amount of estrogen as my very first one, which is fine by me. It controls my epic PMS, which is another not-sexy issue that I have and shouldn't really raise my blood pressure (because apparently estrogen supplements do that). It's gone up a bit since I've started the new pill, but I've also got new stressers in my life that are effecting it. So I'm trying to get it to go back down before my doctor's appointment next month (where I plan on crying and begging to stay on my new pill no matter what my blood pressure does. Yes, my PMS is really that bad).
Here's Some Super Sexy Advice To Help Lower or Control Blood Pressure
First and foremost, I am not a doctor. This is just advice that I have read online and been told by doctors.
- Control your weight. Being overweight is a major cause of high blood pressure. My doctor told me to work on it bit by bit instead of trying to lose a bunch at once, which is already a healthy thing to do and how I plan on going about it.
- Control your sodium intake. Americans are the worst for getting too much sodium in their diets; we consume twice as much sodium as the recommended daily intake. Avoid processed foods whenever possible and try to eat fresh food (which is really hard. I just keep track of my daily sodium intake because I'm too poor to be constantly buying fresh food. I use a calorie counting app called Calorie Count for the iPhone. Apparently it's available for other phone operating systems and online). Try switching to the low sodium/hint of salt/lightly salted version of your favorite foods if that's an option. I love hint of salt wheat things and triscuits and lightly salted Lay's potato chips.
- Be more active! Making sure to get up and move each day helps lower blood pressure. Work on cardio.
- Get plenty of potassium and vitamin C. They can help lower your blood pressure and they're good for you besides.
- Eat fresh fruits and veggies, they're good for you too.
- Relax! Take time each day just to relax. Listening to half an hour of classical music and breathing deeply can help lower blood pressure, as can stretching and yoga.
This may all just seem like basic advice on how to be healthier... and that's because it IS. Living a healthier lifestyle is one of the best ways to prevent and treat high blood pressure (unless you actually need meds, which some people do), as well as numerous other diseases. It's really hard to switch from an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle to a healthy, active one. The trick is to take baby steps and not try to make it too drastic of a change. This is changing a lifestyle, not going on a diet.
Here is some more advice on how to treat and prevent high blood pressure.
Stay healthy people!
<3 - CFC