Reducing high blood pressure can be done in a number of ways, ranging from maintaining an ideal body weight, exercising regularly, reducing salt consumption, to using blood pressure-lowering drugs. Some ways to reduce high blood pressure is important to know and do by people suffering from hypertension.
Normal blood pressure ranges from 120/80 mmHg to 130/85 mmHg. High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition in which there is an increase in blood pressure, up to 140/90 mmHg or more. Blood pressure can be known through a blood pressure check.
Based on data from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia in 2014, there were around 65 million people in Indonesia suffering from hypertension. And globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are around 8 million people in the world who die each year and more than 50 million people experience disabilities due to hypertension complications.
If not handled properly, high blood pressure can cause various complications, such as heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, kidney failure, vision problems due to retinal damage, to dementia. To prevent these complications, high blood pressure sufferers need to lower their blood pressure to normal values.
In general, lowering high blood pressure can be done in two ways, namely by living a healthy lifestyle and taking blood pressure-lowering drugs.
Reduce High Blood Pressure by Changing Lifestyle
Changing your lifestyle to be healthier is a proven way to reduce high blood pressure, whether mild or severe. The following are some recommendations from doctors to reduce high blood pressure:
1. Reducing salt intake
Salt contains sodium (sodium) which is quite high. If consumed in excess, sodium can cause blood pressure to increase. That is why, hypertension sufferers who do not limit salt intake will find it difficult to control their blood pressure.
The recommended amount of sodium intake is less than 1.5 – 2 grams of sodium, equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt per day.
2. Maintain ideal body weight
Excessive weight or obesity can cause blood pressure to go up. Therefore, maintaining an ideal body weight is one of the recommended steps to reduce blood pressure.
To lose weight and keep it ideal, you can live a healthy diet by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, drinking water, and reducing fatty foods.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercising regularly is proven to reduce blood pressure and help maintain weight. Some good exercise options for hypertension are walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, and yoga.
To get the maximum benefits of exercise, it is advisable to exercise regularly for 30-60 minutes, at least 3 times a week.
4. Reduce stress
Prolonged stress or severe stress can increase blood pressure. If not managed properly, excessive stress can make blood pressure difficult to control.
There are various ways to reduce stress, such as by doing relaxation, meditation, doing hobbies or activities that are popular, and getting enough sleep. Adults need to sleep for 7-9 hours every night.
5. Avoid smoking and consuming alcoholic drinks
Too much smoking and consuming alcoholic drinks is one of the causes of increased blood pressure. So, stay away from these two bad habits, especially if you already have hypertension.
In addition, hypertension sufferers also need to limit caffeine intake, because caffeine has the effect of increasing blood pressure.
To reduce high blood pressure, you should also pay attention to the food you consume. As much as possible, increase your intake of potassium and avoid fatty foods and foods that contain lots of sugar. Some types of good food consumed to reduce blood pressure are:
- Fruits, such as bananas, red beets, pomegranates, and strawberries.
- Vegetables, including spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and mustard greens.
- Nuts and seeds. But remember, do not choose products that contain a lot of salt.
- Skim milk or yogurt is low in sugar and fat.
- High protein foods, such as eggs and fish. Both of these foods also contain omega-3 which is good for heart health.
- Dark chocolate (dark chocolate).
Reduce high blood pressure with drugs
In addition to changing lifestyles, hypertension can also be treated by administering high blood-lowering drugs or antihypertensive drugs. Generally these drugs will be used if the blood pressure is already very high or if other methods have not been successful in lowering blood pressure.
The following are medicines that are often used to treat high blood pressure:
1. ACE inhibitors
The group of ACE inhibitors (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme inhibitors) works by relaxing the blood vessels, so the blood flows more easily and the pressure decreases. Examples of drugs that are included in the ACE inhibitor group are lisinopril, ramipril, and captopril.
2. Calcium channel blockers
The calcium channel blocker group works by relaxing the muscles of blood vessels and slowing the heart rate. Amlodipine and diltiazem are examples of drugs that are included in this group of drugs.
This group of drugs can reduce high blood pressure by removing excess sodium and water from the body through urine. Examples of drugs that are included in the diuretic group are furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide.
4. Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB)
Candesartan and losartan are some of the drugs included in the angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) group of drugs. Just like ACE inhibitors, ARB also lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels so that the flow is smoother.
5. Beta blockers
The class of drugs which are also called beta-adrenergic blocking agents are groups of drugs that inhibit the hormone epinephrine, a hormone that affects the speed of heart beat or slow. With the inhibition of the work of these hormones, the heart rate will slow down, so that blood pressure can be reduced.
In addition to slowing down the heart rate, beta blockers also relax blood vessels, so blood flow becomes smoother. Some examples of drugs that are included in the beta blocker group are atenolol, metoprolol, and bisoprolol.
Blood pressure targets that need to be achieved by people with hypertension are below 140/90 mmHg. To achieve ideal blood pressure, hypertension sufferers often have to live a healthy lifestyle and take antihypertensive drugs.
To determine what type of antihypertensive medication can be used, you need to consult a doctor. During your hypertension treatment, you should have regular blood pressure checks. Blood pressure checks can be done at home with a tensimeter.
In addition, do not forget to routinely control the doctor, so that the doctor can monitor the effectiveness of the drug and decrease blood pressure, as well as check your health condition thoroughly.