A new study suggests that listening to classical music in addition to taking your medicines may give you some added advantage in managing your blood pressure levels. Results from the study showed that music enhances the beneficial effects of anti-hypertensive medications a short time after it is taken to control high blood pressure. The researchers used several statistical and mathematical techniques to detect differences between heart rates at different times, with high precision and sensitivity.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is considered a ‘silent killer’ because it is often symptomless and the condition quietly damages your blood vessels, leading to serious health threats. You can’t cure hypertension, but taking medication as prescribed and making certain lifestyle changes can help control blood pressure. According to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, listening to classical music in addition to taking your medicines may give you some added advantage in managing your blood pressure levels.
The study done by an international tea of researchers showed that music enhances the beneficial effects of anti-hypertensive medications a short time after it is taken to control high blood pressure. “We observed that music improved heart rate and enhanced the effect of anti-hypertensives for about an hour after they were administered,” said study coordinator Vitor Engracia Valenti, Professor at Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil. Various studies have shown that music can lower the blood pressure, reduce the heart rate, and ease the distress of people living with heart conditions.
For the current study, the researchers recruited a small group of patients with well-controlled hypertension to measure the effects of the musical auditory stimulus associated with anti-hypertensive medication on heart rate and blood pressure. The patients were made to listen to instrumental music via earphones for 60 minutes at the same volume after taking their usual oral anti-hypertensive medication on one day. As a control, the participants were made to undergo the same research protocol on the other day, but with the earphones turned off. Their heart rate variability was measured at rest and at 20, 40 and 60 minutes after oral medication.
The researchers used several statistical and mathematical techniques to detect differences between heart rates at different times, with high precision and sensitivity.
Results from the study showed that heart rates of patients who listened to the music- dropped significantly 60 minutes after taking blood pressure medication, whereas the heart rates did not slow down at all when they did not listen to music. Their findings suggested that blood pressure also responded more strongly to medication when they listened to music.
“We found that the effect of anti-hypertension medication on heart rate was enhanced by listening to music,” Valenti said.
According to the researchers, music stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, increases gastrointestinal activity and accelerates absorption of anti-hypertensive medication, intensifying its effects on heart rate.
“We've observed classical music activating the parasympathetic nervous system and reducing sympathetic activity,” the researchers said.
The sympathetic nervous system accelerates heart rate, constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. The parasympathetic nervous system controls the body at rest, slowing the heart, lowering blood pressure, and stabilising blood sugar and adrenaline.
According to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, an individual with blood pressure higher than 130/80 will be considered to have hypertension or high blood pressure. Previously, a blood pressure reading of 140/90 was considered high. Hypertension, if left untreated, increases your risk of various health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, etc.
Five foods that help control blood pressure
Eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, can help manage the conditions. And here are five foods that can help lower your blood pressure naturally:
Oatmeal is a great choice for breakfast, particularly if you have high blood pressure. Eating oatmeal, which is high in fiber but low in fat and sodium, can help control hypertension and improve digestion.
Potassium-rich bananas can help lower blood pressure. Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells as well as eases tension in your blood vessel walls. One study suggested just two bananas a day can reduce your blood pressure by 10 percent.
Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids that help prevent hypertension and lower blood pressure. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all easy to add to your diet.
Leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, kale, collard greens, spinach are low in calories, high in fibre and packed with other nutrients - potassium, folate, magnesium - all of which are essential for maintaining and lowering blood pressure.
Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides. Moreover, fish are a great source of protein. Also, the vitamin D found in trout has properties that can lower blood pressure.
Furthermore, get regular exercise and adequate amount of sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to high blood pressure. Lower the amount of sodium in your diet to prevent raising your blood pressure. Maintain a healthy weight, try shedding a few pounds if you think you're overweight. Being overweight increases your risk of hypertension.