High blood pressure is a serious issue among Canadians. According to the Statistics Canada Health Reports publication (2010), six million Canadians (one in five adults) have high blood pressure. Also referred to as hypertension, high blood pressure poses a number of risks, including an increased risk of stroke, kidney failure, heart attack and other cardiovascular issues.
The report also found that of the Canadians with high blood pressure, 83% were aware of their condition and 17% were not aware. However, about one-third of people do not have the health issue under control.
According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, people are considered to be at higher risk of having high blood pressure if they are older, overweight or obese, or have unhealthy lifestyle habits or a family history of high blood pressure. Men and women are equally likely to develop it.
Six effective ways to manage high blood pressure naturally
Although medication can help lower blood pressure, many of the current medication options may cause undesirable effects (also called side effects). These medications can also be expensive. Without a group health insurance plan, the average person may not be able to afford the medications they are prescribed for the condition.
In addition to exploring your options for private health insurance coverage, there are natural ways you can manage high blood pressure:
- Get active: Being active is an important factor in lowering blood pressure. Exercising, even walking, helps the heart stay strong and healthy, making it easier for it to pump blood. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Improve your diet: Carrying too much weight and eating foods high in salt, starch and unhealthy additives can contribute to high blood pressure. Focus on eating more plant-based foods, especially ones that are rich in potassium, and fewer processed foods.
- Meditate: Breathing exercises and meditation help to decrease the effects of stress on your body. All it takes is a few minutes a day. To start, try five minutes in the morning and in the evening. Find a quiet place, close your eyes and focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale. It’s that simple.
- Work less: Researchers at the University of California found a positive association between the number of hours worked and the likelihood of self-reported hypertension. People who worked between 41 and 50 hours were 17% more likely to report having high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, try to minimize the number of hours you work to improve your health.
- Disconnect: In a world where we are seemingly always connected, it’s important to disconnect from technology from time to time to give yourself a mental break. Turn off your phone, log off the computer and take some time to relax without interruption.
- Drink beet juice: Australian researchers found that drinking beet juice regularly lowers blood pressure, especially in men. It is thought that the high levels of nitrate in red beets are broken down into components that relax the blood vessels, reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular function.
If you have high blood pressure that must be treated with medication and are looking for ways to offset the costs of your prescription, a private health insurance plan may be your best option. Private health insurance helps you pay for everyday health care expenses that OHIP does not cover. A Blue Cross health insurance plan can cover health services, prescription drugs and much more. Get a free health insurance quote online today.