Can hypertension be treated at home?

Hypertension or high blood pressure has affected more than 1.28 billion adults across the world. Truthfully, it is so common that you may know someone close to you or someone living around you diagnosed with hypertension. Hypertension is known as a silent-killer as a person often does not have any symptoms until a person faces complications such as kidney failure or heart diseases from the long-term of ongoing untreated hypertension causing damages to organs. Most often people with hypertension only know that they do have high blood pressure when they get sick from another disease and accidentally found it after doing a blood pressure monitor. It is estimated that less than half of adults with hypertension are diagnosed and get treatments. This is why it is best to get regular medical check-ups to identify this problem early on. In order to avoid complications of this silent killer, doctors usually prescribe medicine such as Azoren 40 mg to help a person have a controlled blood pressure. Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 adults with hypertension have it under control.

The question now is, can hypertension be treated at home? The answer is yes and no. You should not be treating hypertension at home if your blood pressure is higher than normal or extremely high. You definitely should not treat hypertension at home if you experience severe headache, blurry vision and other stroke symptoms such as nausea, confusion, trouble speaking and numbness or weakness in the face or limbs. Apart from these conditions, it should be okay to treat hypertension at home. Still, it is best to seek medical advice from your healthcare provider before treating hypertension at home.

Since you may actually treat hypertension at home, what could you do? Here are examples of what you can do to help lower the blood pressure in a healthy way:

1)  Regular physical activity- Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week with moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking. You may want to try aerobic activities such as walking and dancing that could control your high blood pressure while enjoying the activity.

2)  Reduce saltiness of sodium in your life- Small reduction of sodium can greatly improve blood pressure. Look for food low in sodium level or low in salt by reading the food label. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting sodium intake of 1500 to 2300 mg per day. Avoid processed food as this type of food is usually high in sodium. You may want to substitute salt with other seasoning such as spices and herbs to lessen the amount of sodium in your food while making it taste good. A teaspoon of salt contains 2000 mg of sodium.

3)  Be friends with potassium- Potassium is the nemesis of sodium. By eating more potassium, you are able to reduce the sodium in the body and control blood pressure. Potassium-rich food includes bananas, milk, salmon and nuts.

4)  Keep healthy weight- Study shows that losing at least 5% of body weight can significantly lower high blood pressure.

5)  Low on sugar- Consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as in white flour leads to increased blood pressure. Low carb diet has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

6)  Keep stress at bay- Chronic stress may put you at risk of high blood pressure. This is because stress itself usually triggers unhealthy behaviours such as drinking alcohol or eating processed food that can lead to high blood pressure. Furthermore, when a person is chronically stressed, the body is forced to put in constant fight-or-flight mode that damages the blood vessel optimal function. You can reduce stress by doing things you like and relaxing such as listening to soothing music and practising yoga.

7)  Cut off smoke- Every puff of cigarette has been proven to cause slight and temporary increase of blood pressure. Avoiding smoking not only helps to control blood pressure but also lessens the chances of heart diseases and many other diseases.

In essence, hypertension may be treated at home but this does not mean that you should not get medical advice at all. If you are already diagnosed with hypertension by your doctor, you are likely to receive antihypertensive medication. These medications should be taken regularly and it is best to take this medicine at the same time of the day to ensure the medicine’s effectiveness. You should continue to take antihypertensive medication even if you do feel well because hypertension itself rarely causes any symptoms unless the hypertension already causes damage to the organ. Just as with any other medicine, apart from the benefits it offers, it also poses potential side effects. Side effects may or may not affect you as a person’s response to antihypertensive medication is individualised. Common side effects include, lightheadedness, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and cough. These are only examples of common side effects which means you may still experience other side effects that are not mentioned here. Should there be any side effects from taking antihypertensive medication, you should address this issue to your doctor. Never stop taking your medication unless you are told to do so by your doctor. If you need to take more than one type of antihypertensive drugs, you may want to discuss with your doctor a convenient way of taking it such as taking a tablet with a combination of two or more antihypertensive drugs.

Also read – Dengue Prevention.

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