Simple steps to reduce diastolic blood pressure

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High blood pressure is a common health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It is often split into two measurements: systolic and diastolic.

Systolic pressure is the top number on a blood pressure reading and measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

High diastolic blood pressure, which is when the bottom number is too high, can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. Fortunately, there are effective ways to manage and lower diastolic blood pressure, based on extensive research.

One of the most impactful ways to lower diastolic blood pressure is through regular physical activity. Studies consistently show that engaging in moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming for 30 minutes most days of the week, can significantly reduce blood pressure.

Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood.

Diet also plays a crucial role in managing blood pressure. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure.

This diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins and suggests reducing the intake of salt, red meat, sweets, and sugary beverages. Research has demonstrated that following the DASH diet can lower diastolic pressure by several points in just a few weeks.

Another effective dietary change is reducing sodium intake. Salt is a major contributor to high blood pressure, especially in individuals sensitive to sodium. Limiting salt to about one teaspoon (2,300 mg) per day can help decrease blood pressure.

Some people may benefit even more from lowering their salt intake to about 1,500 mg per day, especially those over age 50, or those who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Managing stress is another key factor in controlling blood pressure. Chronic stress can contribute to higher blood pressure and other heart risks.

Techniques like mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Regular practice of these activities leads to more lasting changes in stress management and blood pressure control.

Weight management is also essential for reducing diastolic pressure. Being overweight strains the heart and can raise blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight or obese can help reduce your blood pressure.

Studies have found that every kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of weight lost can reduce diastolic blood pressure by approximately 1 mm Hg.

Limiting alcohol intake can further help manage blood pressure. While moderate alcohol consumption (one drink per day for women and two for men) may have some health benefits, excessive drinking can raise blood pressure.

Cutting back on alcohol, or avoiding it altogether, can help lower your diastolic pressure.

Finally, quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke can significantly benefit your heart and blood pressure.

Tobacco and the chemicals in cigarettes can raise blood pressure. Quitting smoking can improve your overall heart health and help maintain proper blood pressure levels.

By adopting these lifestyle changes, many people see significant improvements in their diastolic blood pressure. Each person is different, so it might help to try several approaches to see what works best for you.

Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program or making major changes to your diet, especially if you have other health conditions or take medications.

These simple steps can not only lower your blood pressure but also improve your overall health and quality of life.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about How to eat your way to healthy blood pressure and results showing that Modified traditional Chinese cuisine can lower blood pressure.

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