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How to control blood pressure? (Disease Query)

Struggling with fluctuating blood pressure readings? Here are different approaches to control it.

blood pressureHi, I am 58 years old and I am a house-wife. I have high blood pressure for the past 6 months. It keeps fluctuating once in a while. What are the different ways in which I can control it?

You can control your blood pressure with proper diet, lifestyle changes (non-pharmacoogical approach) and with medicines (pharmacological approach). If your BP is mild, then you can first try the non-pharmacological measures but if it is very high then you may need medication to control it.

Lifestyle changes: Dr Sanjeev Chaudhary, Associate Director & Unit Head, Cardiology, FMRI, Gurgaon emphasises that people with mid hypertension should try lifestyle and dietary changes before moving on to taking medicines. Here are some suggestions:

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  • Exercise regularly to improve your blood circulation and stay fit
  • If you're overweight, follow a proper diet and exercise regime for weight loss. It's better to consult a nutritionist for better results.
  • Manage stress by practicing yoga or meditation. Here's how you can control your blood pressure with yoga

Dietary changes:

  • Optimize your salt intake. According to experts, people with high BP should not consume more than 1tsp of salt (6g salt)/day.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Include potassium-rich foods in your diet. Naini Setalvad, a renowned nutritionist suggests foods like garlic, onions, tomatoes, spinach, bananas, oranges, coconut water, prunes to be included.
  • Avoid eating processed foods as they are loaded with fats and can also add to your salt intake.
  • Include a bit of olive oil or ricebran oil, fish and flaxseeds in your diet. They contain omega 3 fatty acids that help you maintain normal blood pressure as well as control weight. Avoid fried foods, ghee, butter and margarine.
  • Restrict tea, coffee and alcohol. They all affect the blood vessels and give rise uncontrolled BP.

Here is a detailed account on dietary tips to control BP

Medicines: Anti-hypertensive drugs like diuretics, beta-blockers and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) may be prescribed to control BP. If your BP keeps fluctuating and goes very high then you may life-long medication. Speak to you doctor before going ahead with any of these measures to control BP.

Here's a detailed account on medicines for hypertension and their side-effects.

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