Deep Breathing and High Blood Pressure

Can High Blood Pressure Really Be Lowered by Deep Breathing?

It’s seems like an odd connection, but an experiment earlier this year determined that deep breathing can may actually have a positive effect on high blood pressure. Thanks to the results of this recent study, it is now known that individuals with high blood pressure may experience some improvement in blood pressure levels just by breathing very slowly for a few minutes each day. Curious? Read on!

How Slow Should You Go?

The experiment conducted by Dr. David Anderson at the National Institutes of Health showed that slow breathing consisting of fewer than ten breaths in one minute can actually lower a person’s blood pressure. This is certainly a useful bit of information for individuals who suffer from hypertension.

While some people might assume that the lowered blood pressure has something to do with the euphoric feeling created by breathing slowly, the truth is that it has more to do with how the body regulates blood pressure. Anderson believes that salt is harder to break down if an individual isn’t breathing enough. By breathing slowly, a person can make their body more efficient at breaking down salt. This theory might even explain why exercise has been proven to reduce high blood pressure. Shallow breathing is all too easy when you are sedentary.

Why would breathing slowly have anything to do with the breakdown of salt by the body? The kidneys are the main organs involved in eliminating salt from your body, and deep breathing helps your kidneys work properly. This can lead to a more efficient body, which can further lead to a reduction in high blood pressure.

How Do You Know If You Have High Blood Pressure

Current guidelines by the American Heart Association suggest that a diastolic number between 140-159 is high as is a systolic number between 90-99. A diastolic number between 120-139 is considered prehypertensive as is a diastolic number between 80-89. Even a blood pressure reading of 120/80, which previously was considered ideal, is now considered prehypertensive.

High blood pressure has many negative health effects, so you definitely want to know your numbers. Getting your blood pressure checked can be as simple as going to the local pharmacy and using one of their blood pressure machines or buying an at-home blood pressure cuff.

If you find yourself in the prehypertensive range, you might want to try some deep breathing as recommended by Dr. Anderson. If your blood pressure is considered high, then you should arrange an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

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