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Controlling Hypertension the Natural Way

By Vikas Chandra Das
18 November 2022, 12:50 PM

Hypertension or high blood pressure is now one of the global public health issues with an estimated one billion people worldwide suffering from the same. This is usually treated as a pre-existing disease condition under most health insurance plans.

Blood pressure for a human being is said to be normal when it is 120/80 mg. However, blood pressure constantly changes according to the level of activity. If one is detected with a pressure of higher than 120/80 mg on a regular basis, even while not indulging in any physically strenuous activity, it is considered elevated or high. It is considered high blood pressure or hypertension if the systolic pressure (or the upper number) exceeds 130 mg.

Very often hypertension is not accompanied by any symptoms and the only way to detect the same is by regular monitoring. However, if the pressure exceeds 180/120 mg, a person may have severe headaches, blurred vision, feelings of nausea, bleeding from the dose or dizziness. At this stage, the condition is considered a medical emergency.

Persons suffering from high blood pressure face an increased risk of heart failure, strokes, kidney disease and vision loss. Given the life-threatening conditions that may arise, it is definitely in one’s interest to keep blood pressure in check. Here are five ways that you can control your blood pressure on your own.

1. Get Enough Sleep

Perhaps one of the factors most ignored by the average urbanite is the need for adequate sleep. An average adult needs a minimum of eight hours of sleep a day. This may increase if the level of physical activity is high or if the time spent in front of electronic equipment such as mobile phones and computers is high. Eight hours of disturbed or restless sleep will not do either. A sure indicator of lack of sleep is if you need an alarm to wake you up every morning.

2. Diet

A healthy balanced diet is recommended for all persons, especially those with hypertension. Salt intake needs to be limited to a maximum of 6 grams per day, i.e. about one teaspoon only. Foods high in starch should only constitute 1/3 of your food intake. So, if you need rice or bread three times a day, limit the amount of both. Eat brown or unpolished rice instead of white rice. Use unrefined flour instead of refined flour, millets more than atta. Fruits and vegetables should make up another 1/3 of our dietary intake. Avoid oily foods and food rich in fat. Avoid processed foods as much as possible.

3. Exercise

Exercise is an absolute must. However, for those with very high levels of blood pressure, intensive aerobic exercise is not advisable. Walking at least 40 minutes a day, at a brisk pace has been proven to reduce blood pressure levels. Brisk walking here refers to walking at least 5 to 6 km per hour. If you cannot manage 40 minutes continuously, try walking in bouts of 10 to 15 minutes. Do this consistently for effective results. If you prefer walking on a treadmill, this is also an option. Do this at a leisurely pace of 1.5 kmph.

Riding a bicycle is also a good form of exercise – 30 minutes at a stretch or in bouts of 10 to 15 minutes.

Walking uphill is also an excellent exercise for those with high blood pressure. For older adults, swimming for 45 minutes at a stretch has been shown to reduce the blood pressure

Yoga is also known to be tremendously beneficial to people suffering from hypertension. However, yoga exercises should be selected under supervision, as some postures are not recommended for those with hypertension.

It is important to remember for blood pressure to remain reduced, exercise needs to be sustained. One needs to either undertake vigorous exercise of at least 75 minutes a week or moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.

4. Weight Control

Obesity is directly linked to a higher risk of hypertension. There have been numerous clinical studies that have examined the relationship between changes in blood pressure due to weight loss. The authors of a meta-analysis of 25 studies, concluded that “a 1-kg loss of body weight was associated with an approximate 1-mm Hg drop in blood pressure” (Harsha, D.W. & Bray, G.A., 2008, “Weight loss and blood pressure control”, AHA Journals Vol 51, No. 6)

Weight loss is best achieved by diet control and exercise. Sudden and drastic changes to one’s diet could lead to adverse effects and other health issues.

5. Quit smoking and alcohol

It is common knowledge that alcohol has an adverse impact on blood pressure. In a study published by the National Library of Medicine, the author states that “Alcohol consumption of three or more drinks per day and cigarette smoking share similar, and probably additive, effects on some forms of cardiovascular disease”.  (Mukamal KJ. The effects of smoking and drinking on cardiovascular disease and risk factors. Alcohol Res Health. 2006;29(3):199-202. PMID: 17373409; PMCID: PMC6527044.) He also stated thatsome laboratory studies concluded that “smoking appeared to raise blood pressure or the risk of hypertension to a moderate degree”.

Though easier said than done, quitting smoking and consumption of alcohol will not only be beneficial to any hypertension issues you may face, but it will also have a tremendously positive impact on overall health. If you are an addict, do not hesitate to take the help of a de-addiction centre.

Hypertension can be controlled to a major extent with lifestyle changes. Simple changes to diet, reduced intake of salt, regular exercise, weight loss and quitting smoking and alcohol are the most recommended ways to reduce hypertension. In addition, stress as a factor also has a detrimental impact on hypertension. Thus,  in addition to the above, it is worthwhile to pinpoint all the sources of stress in your life and find ways to eliminate them. However, if you suffer from high blood pressure and are unable to keep it in check with lifestyle changes, do consult a doctor.


1. What is obesity?

Obesity is a condition when a person's BMI or body mass index exceeds 30.

2. What is BMI?

BMI is a measure of a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his/her height in metres. It is a tool used that helps understand if a person is of average weight, underweight, overweight or obese. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy.

3. Is there a difference between overweight and obese?

Yes. A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is categorised as overweight, while BMIs of 30 and above are categorised as obese. People categorised as obese suffer considerably higher health risks than those who are only overweight.

4. What is systolic pressure?

This is the measure of pressure in one’s arteries when the heart beats

5. What is diastolic pressure?

This is the measure of pressure in one’s arteries when the heart is at rest.

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