High blood pressure: The two-minute activity that could significantly lower your reading

High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading

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High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it rarely presents any symptoms. Left untreated, it could increase the risk of serious health problems, such as heart attacks and strokes. Around a third of adults in the UK have the condition, although many will not realise it.

The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to check your blood pressure reading using a blood pressure monitor or have it checked for you by a pharmacist or GP.

If you have high blood pressure, what can you do to lower your reading?

A 2006 study suggested silence after listening to music can significantly reduce a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.

And the researchers found just a two minute period of silence could have this effect.

Even compared to slow, relaxing music, silence resulted in greater decreases in heart rate and blood pressure.

Older 2003 research associated a chronically noisy environment with increases in these two heart health markers.

While more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of silence on blood pressure, the results are promising.

The NHS advises simple lifestyle changes can help reduce high blood pressure, although some people may need to take medicine as well.

 

The health body recommends cutting down on your salt intake to lower blood pressure.

It states: “Cut your salt intake to less than 6g (0.2oz) a day, which is about a teaspoonful.”

Eating a low-fast, balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, can also help, as well as being active.

It also recommends cutting down on alcohol, losing weight if you’re overweight, drinking less caffeine and stopping smoking.

Many people need to take a combination of different medicines:

  • if you’re under 55 years of age – you’ll usually be offered an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin-2 receptor blocker (ARB)
  • if you’re aged 55 or older, or you’re any age and of African or Caribbean origin – you’ll usually be offered a calcium channel blocker

You may need to take a blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.

But your doctor may be able to reduce or stop your treatment if your blood pressure stays under control for several years.

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers – the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.

The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80).

Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

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