How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Help Treat Your High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure affects over 100 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association, nearly half of the adults in the country. Though high blood pressure is a minor health threat for some, the death rate for hypertension, its medical name, continues to rise. There are medications that can control many cases, though these often carry unwanted side effects.

In the face of antibiotic overuse and the opioid crisis, doctors and patients alike take a closer look at drug-free treatment options for virtually any condition, and hypertension is no different. While lifestyle changes such as losing weight, increasing physical activity, and changing diet have long been a part of blood pressure management, there’s a new emphasis on mindfulness and meditation to reduce or eliminate dependency on drugs.

Factors affecting blood pressure

Your heart works harder when the oxygen level in your blood falls. As well, if your arteries are clogged with plaque, your heart pumps with greater pressure to move the same volume of blood. Some hypertension medications can help your body lose retained water to lower your blood volume while others help your blood vessels relax, allowing easier passage of blood.

Another way of addressing high blood pressure is through improved blood oxygenation. That’s usually done with increased exercise when it’s possible. The stress of daily life can also contribute to hypertension, but it’s difficult to address since stress hits everyone differently.

Fortunately, nearly any hypertension patient can respond to mindfulness and meditation techniques, proven methods to ease high blood pressure.

Stress reduction through meditation

The popularity of mindfulness as a treatment for high blood pressure is growing, particularly in the wake of a 2013 study from Kent State University demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach. Mindfulness therapy can include activities such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga to aid the hypertension management challenge.

While it may seem like New Age or hippie mysticism to some, there are measurables that back up this treatment methodology, particularly for those patients who are on the cusp of developing high blood pressure.

How much is enough?

Reducing systolic blood pressure — the higher number in a blood pressure reading of the maximum point of blood flow — by three millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) could potentially lower mortality rates from coronary artery disease and stroke by 5% and 8%, respectively.

Mindfulness techniques have shown to drop the systolic rate by nearly 5 mm/Hg, more than enough to produce a statistically significant risk reduction. When combined with other hypertension treatments, mindfulness-based therapies are a terrific way to reduce both your blood pressure levels and the amounts of hypertension medication you may currently be using.

There’s still much research necessary to reveal the true effects of meditation and mindfulness. But the risk/benefit equation is strongly in its favor. There’s no downside to these therapies, and the potential payback is enormous.

To find out more about how meditation and mindfulness can help you, contact Dr. Susan Biegel’s office by phone or use the appointment request tool on this website to schedule your consultation today.

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