Get Your Facts Right: Bursting Myths About Lowering Blood Pressure

High blood pressure led to 1.63 million deaths in India in the year 2016, according to the Global Burden of Diseases report. Hypertension drugs are a particularly nasty bunch in terms of side effects and unforeseen health risks. Some experts believe that the drugs kill as many people as the condition they are prescribed to treat.

So, it’s not surprising that there’s a huge market for natural blood pressure remedies and that these are a hotly debated topic in health forums. This creates a rich field for the spread of misinformation. So, it’s not surprising that a number of myths have developed around the issue of hypertension and natural remedies for it. Here are four of the most common:

Myth 1. Certain special foods have the ability to lower blood pressure

The medicinal effects of various foods have a long history and are very attractive to people looking for easy, natural solutions to health problems. The list of foods claimed to lower blood pressure is long and varied and includes apple cider vinegar, chocolate, grapes, grapefruit, celery root, bananas, beetroot juice and many more.The claims are usually based on anecdotal evidence, although some of them have indeed shown some ability to lower blood pressure in testing. Beetroot juice is a recent example that has been heavily publicized by the media. But when studied over time and in detail the results inevitably look less exciting.

There are no good or bad foods; they all contribute to our health when consumed in the right balance. But this applies to “real” foods. The one type of food that’s sure to throw your body out of balance is processed.

Myth 2. Salt is Public Enemy Number 1 of healthy blood pressure

More than any other food, salt has been demonized for raising blood pressure. Of course, salt or sodium can be harmful when consumed in excess, like many people do when they thoughtlessly sprinkle it on every plate of food. But this is true of any substance we consume. One of the basic tenets of toxicology is that “the dose makes the poison”.

But the salt prohibition goes too far when it’s used to promote overpriced “low or no salt” foods and strange “salt substitutes” that are unhealthy in their own right. Sodium, along with magnesium, calcium and potassium, plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. A healthy level of sodium is as vital as the others. But when the levels of these minerals get out of balance it throws our blood chemistry out of kilter, thus raising blood pressure.

Myth 3. Lifestyle changes take forever to make any difference in blood pressure

This common myth does a real disservice by discouraging people from making healthy changes in their lifestyle. What’s more, it reinforces a common belief among doctors that patients will not follow through with lifestyle improvements and thus increases the number of “knee jerk” prescriptions.In fact, losing large amounts of weight is one of the only major lifestyle modifications that can justifiably be called slow going. Of course, the time and effort invested is more than worth the wait. While a large change in weight could take a year or more, the benefits are for life.

But just about everything else – quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, eating better, sleeping longer, relaxing – can all be achieved quickly with equally fast effects on blood pressure. Drops in blood pressure and other circulatory improvements, for example, start within hours of smoking one’s last cigarette. This may be one of the hardest addictions to beat but most experts agree that going cold turkey with 100% resolve is the most successful way to do it.

Over and above medicine and effective lifestyle changes, what more one can do to tackle rising blood pressure is keep a bp monitor or apparatus handy and keep a check on your own bp. offers doorstep delivery of all kinds of medical equipment like the best hearing aid brands in India, bp monitors, bp apparatuses, glucometers and BPL medical equipment.

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