Reversing High Blood Pressure
Can You Reverse High Blood Pressure?
You cannot completely reverse high blood pressure in most adults, but you can do things that will minimize your dependence on medication, and the amount of medication. If you do not have high blood pressure, then using these techniques will help to postpone high blood pressure onset by many years.
- Salt - There is a lot of literature on excess salt consumption. Salt plays a role in healthy arteries because it helps to strengthen the artery walls. Too much salt is bad because if it over strengthens the artery walls, they will loose flexibility and cause your blood pressure to elevate excessively when you are actively exerting yourself. Too little salt in your diet can lead to weaknesses in your arterial walls, which introduces the danger of an aneurism.
- Fat - Too much fat will raise your blood pressure, especially right after a meal full of fatty foods. A high fat diet can lead to more plaque in your arteries, which causes constrictions of the vessels and raises blood pressure. Plaque in blood vessels also is the main mechanism that causes heart attacks and strokes if a chunk breaks off and it becomes lodged in a smaller artery passage. A lower fat diet, will help reverse much of this buildup over a year or so.
- Smoking - in this day and age with all of the literature out there, you have to be a moron to still be smoking. Governments tax tobacco to the hilt because if you are too silly to ignore the fact that cigarettes are killing you, then you are silly enough to pay any amount of money for the cancer sticks. In any event, cigarettes are also a major contributor to plaque buildup in the blood stream. The problem with cigarette plaque is that it is very hard, it hardens the artery walls more than high salt intake, and even if you quit smoking, it can take several years to see significant improvement.
- Exercise - When you exercise the following benefits occur:
If you do not exercise in any meaningful way, then several things happen that will lead to high blood pressure and increase the stress on your heart:
- Your muscles, including your heart are more fit.
- They burn more energy even at rest, and if taxed, the heart does not have to increase it's beat rate as much to meet the new load.
- Your blood vessels expand and contract regularly, which helps prevent plaque buildup, and will also improve the flexibility of your arteries and veins, which helps reduce blood pressure.
- Most people are not aware that your arteries are designed in such a way that body movement helps to move blood forward. Almost like a series of one way check valves. This unloads the heart during strenuous activity.
- Arteries will constrict with plaques because the reduced speed of blood flow allows plaques to drop out of suspension and deposit on the artery walls. This not only has an immediate effect on raising blood pressure and the load on the heart, but it also blocks the "one way valve" mechanism that helps other muscles in the body move blood through the arteries. This puts additional load on the heart.
- Just the weakness of the muscles in general means that they need a lot more change in blood flow when they are exerted. This puts a high transient load on your heart whenever you do anything strenuous.
To summarize, here is what you need to do to reduce your blood pressure significantly:
NOTE: If you have advanced blood pressure issues, or have suffered even a mild heart attack, you should not undertake any exercise program without consulting your doctor. If you have never exercised before or have not exercised regularly in the last 5 years, and if you are over 40, it is highly recommended that you have your doctor order a cardio vascular stress test for you so that your capabilities are known - it is possible that you have some minor blockage of arteries in your heart already, and the stress test will usually identify any issues of that nature.
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- Moderate your salt intake
- Moderate your fat intake
- Stop smoking
- Exercise a lot, and regularly - start slow - work yourself up to 4 sessions per week of 1.5 hours each, where at least 45 minutes are spent doing strenuous aerobics. Walking at 4 miles per hour on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike with medium resistance at 18 to 20 miles per hour. (These aerobic goals are achievable by people right into their mid 60's if they progress it slowly enough, people in their mid-fifties and younger can hit these aerobic goals in 4 to 6 months maximum - if you are older than 65, then you may be able to achieve 66% of these aerobic targets, but discuss it with your doctor first, and hire a personal trainer at the gym)
- If you are overweight, then try to get your weight back within the recommended boundaries for your build and height. Making the above 5 changes can lower your blood pressure by 30 points top and and 20 points bottom. In mild high blood pressure cases, this would be enough to be able to stop taking blood pressure medication.