10 Lifestyle Changes To Help Manage High Blood Pressure, Expert Explains

Long durations of untreated blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular (CV) events like myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and death.

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaUpdated at: Nov 06, 2022 10:30 IST
10 Lifestyle Changes To Help Manage High Blood Pressure, Expert Explains

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the moving column of blood on the lateral wall of the blood vessels. The normal blood pressure is less than 120 / 80. Blood pressure between 120 by 80 up to 139 by 89 is called prehypertension. Blood pressure equal to or greater than 140 by90 is high blood pressure instillation  (Hypertension) is associated with higher incidence of heart disease, stroke, heart failure, cardiac rhythm abnormality, sudden cardiac arrest  and kidney failure. Higher the blood pressure, greater is the risk. Long durations of untreated blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular (CV) events like myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and death.

In an exclusive interaction with OnlyMyHealth, Dr Tapan Ghose, Director and Head, Department of Cardiology Head, Department Of Clinical Research Fortis Flt. Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital B1, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, Vasantkunj- New Delhi explains ten ways to manage high blood pressure. 

Lifestyle Changes To Manage High Blood Pressure

There are three ways to treat blood pressure. Firstly,  changes in the diet. Secondly changes in the activity level and behavioral changes and finally, taking some medication. The first two, together are also called therapeutic lifestyle changes, lifestyle modification or non-drug therapy. 

Let's talk about non drug therapy. Non drug therapy is helpful in some patients for treating the blood pressure initially. These tips are for all the people with prehypertension or at risk of future hypertension. 

1. Attain ideal BMI

One should attain an ideal body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated  as- weight in Kg divided by height in square meters. For Asians the ideal BMI is 18 to  22.9 Kg/M2. 

2. Manage glucose levels

High blood glucose level is associated with higher incidence of hypertension. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) level of less than 100 mg/dl is ideal. In diabetes (FBG>126 mg/dl), the memory glucose (HbA1c) should be targeted below 7%.

3. Manage cholesterol level

High blood cholesterol level is  associated with high blood pressure. The ideal LDL (bad) cholesterol level for Indians is less than 100 mg/dl.  

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Ten Lifestyle Changes To Manage High Blood Pressure

4. Stop tobacco consumption

Both smoking and non-smoking tobacco consumption is associated with higher incidence of hypertension and CV diseases. Tobacco consumption in any form has to be stopped.

5. Follow a clean, healthy diet

There is a saying -  tell me your diet, I will describe your physique. Diet should be balanced in terms of carbohydrate, fat and protein content Carbohydrate should be 45 to 50% of calorie source. Protein should be 1 gram per KG body weight. Oil consumption should be restricted to 30 ml per head per day. Diet should be based on whole grain cereals, higher quantities of green leafy vegetables and  fruits. WHO recommends fruit and vegetable consumption of 600 grams per head daily. One should have three major meals and two minor meals per day .All these are termed as DASH ( dietary approaches to Stop hypertension) diet.

6. Regulate salt consumption 

 Salt consumption should be regulated. Those who have some interest in culinary art know that little salt is divine. However,  salt and sugars are the two white poisons of the 21st century. Our body requires salt for survival and also bodily function. Normal salt consumption should be restricted to 5 gm (one teaspoonful) per day. Consumption of table salt should be stopped.

7. Exercise 

Exercise is important. Isotonic exercise like jogging, cycling, swimming and brisk walking are heart healthy exercises. Heavy weight lifting is an isometric exercise and is not helpful in blood pressure or in heart patients. Exercise should be done in three phases: warm up peak exercise and cool down phase. Asian Indians require longer duration (40 min) of exercise to burn the abdominal body fat.

8. Sleep for at least 7 hours

Sleep is known to have  a healing touch on the body. Sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours increases CV events. One should sleep for 7 hours daily.Stress level should be minimized. Sharing responsibilities, hobbies, keeping pets, and social interaction are some tips for reducing stress.

9. Yoga 

Yoga is an ancient Indian lifestyle technique which  controls the mind. It has 8 parts. One of them is asana ( postural exercises). Regular practice of Yoga reduces blood pressure.

10. Limit alcohol consumption 

Finally, alcohol consumption should be moderated. Alcohol does not protect the Indians from CV events. In fact some studies have reported an increased incidence of CV events. Heavy amounts of alcohol  consumption is a cause of resistant hypertension in some. Same level of drinking is 60 ml in males and 30 ml in ladies.

In conclusion, the ten tips are important in the  treatment  and prevention of  hypertension in every individual. These are very low cost and safe and lifestyle practices.