Coping with soaring blood pressure

High blood pressure can lead to further health complications. It can be due to:

  • primary hypertension – no underlying cause and likely to be hereditary
  • secondary hypertension – due to an underlying condition, such as kidney disease or a thyroid condition; or
  • just a temporary blip due to stress.

The causes of continued high blood pressure episodes or a constantly raised blood pressure should be investigated by your GP. However, when you feel your blood pressure start to rise, try these five strategies to lower it.

Breathing
Whether it’s breathing slowly or actual meditation, the resulting decrease of renin – an enzyme found in the kidney that increases blood pressure – will help lower your blood pressure naturally. Try removing yourself from the hustle and bustle that’s going on around you and sit comfortably in a chair. Place your hand on your chest and watch it rise and fall with each breath. Carry on until you feel relaxed and more in control of your blood pressure.

Walk on by
Not only can getting out for a walk remove you from a stressful situation, the regular breathing and fresh air can also help to reduce your blood pressure. A 30-minute walk will work wonders but even a 10-minute brisk walk around the block can help. If you have something on your mind, consider counting or repeating the words to a favourite poem or song so you don’t dwell on your issue.

Catch some rays
As well as making you feel generally just a little better, a study found that exposure to the sun can affect the levels of nitric oxide. Small amounts of nitric oxide are transferred from the skin to the blood and blood vessel tone is lowered, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Tea time
Four cups of tea a day may be able to help control blood pressure, but even the three minutes spent waiting for one cup to brew can be enough quiet reflection to bring down your blood pressure. A study has found that participants who drank between one and four cups of tea a day had the lowest systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.

Let the music play
A study published in the Netherland Heart Journal found that blood pressure was lower in musicians than non-musicians. If you’re not gifted with musical talent, listening to your favourite music, especially if it’s classical, will help relax you and reduce your blood pressure.

These strategies can be used to lower your blood pressure in stressful situations or can be used as part of your daily routine to help keep your pressure in check.

Related articles:
Understanding blood pressure
Tips to lower blood pressure

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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