Due to a rise in obesity and a rise in stress, more and more women, including young women, are experiencing hypertension—also known as high blood pressure. According to a 2009 Harvard University study, hypertension contributes to more deaths in women than any other preventable factor. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood, and if blood pressure is high, it can lead to serious health conditions, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney failure, and stroke.
Hypertension generally has no symptoms. Someone can have hypertension for years and not know it. It’s important to know what your blood pressure numbers are so you can monitor your health. If your blood pressure is too high, treatment may help prevent health damage.
The good news is that there are natural ways to help reduce hypertension, even if it runs in your family. Here are some ways to help keep hypertension at bay:
- Eat well. A diet low in sodium and rich in fruits, legumes, nuts and vegetables can greatly reduce blood pressure. Also low-fat dairy products and whole grains can help lower blood pressure.
- Exercise. Just 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day can make a big difference when it comes to high blood pressure.
- Get enough sleep. If you get less than six hours of sleep per night you are putting yourself at risk of high blood pressure. Sleep recharges the body and nervous system.
- Lose weight. For women, extra weight is a high indicator of high blood pressure. When you weigh more, your body needs to work harder to supply nutrients and oxygen to your tissues.
- Reduce your salt intake. When you consume too much salt, the salt in your kidneys (which control sodium levels in the body) overflow into the bloodstream.