How Does Mindfulness Help Lower Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Patients?
Hypertension In India
Hypertension has become a chronic medical condition, not just in India but globally. More than 20 crore people in India suffer from high BP and it is one of the leading causes of premature deaths. It is directly responsible for 29% of all strokes and 24% of heart attacks as only half the people who suffer from it are diagnosed and out of which only 10% have the condition under control. Alarmingly, estimates state that by the end of the current year almost one third of India’s population will have high blood pressure.
Stress & Hypertension
One of the known triggers for hypertension is stress. Chronic stress and anxiety (triggers such as work pressures, family problems, finances, illnesses) can have an adverse effect on blood pressure and can be aggravated further by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking.
Mindfulness For Lower Blood Pressure
Studies are reporting that one of the effective ways to reduce stress and have low blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension is mindfulness training.
Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that involves breathing practice, mental imagery, awareness of body and mind, and muscle and body relaxation.
Mindfulness training is especially beneficial to hypertension patients who find making permanent healthy lifestyle changes, and sticking to them, difficult.
Doctors can prescribe a training program that includes mindfulness practices which specifically address hypertension, explain how behavior can contribute to high BP, encourage patients to take their BP medicines regularly, and to help patients strengthen their ability to maintain the healthful habits that can help lower blood pressure.
Studies conducted on participants with hypertension (130 mm Hg systolic over 85 mm Hg diastolic or higher and in some cases even 140 mm Hg systolic), for a 10 session program over 1 year, showed that at the end of the year the participants blood pressure was still lower than at baseline, with participants having a systolic measurement of over 140 mm Hg benefitting the most from these training sessions.
Other benefits of the mindfulness training that the participants reported were strong self-management skills and the increased ability to maintain lifestyle changes which helped to achieve controlled BP.
Further testing is being conducted to determine if mindfulness training can have long term significant effects on BP and whether it can be incorporated along with standard medical care in terms of treatment options for people with high blood pressure.
Note of caution: This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor in case of any blood pressure or other health related problems.