5 Tips for Lowering Your Blood Pressure

May 7th 2016

There are many strategies available to help with lowering blood pressure and increasing overall health. As with many conditions, simple precautions, a little exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way toward preventing bigger problems down the line.

Decrease Salt Intake

Even a modest decrease in your salt intake can lower blood pressure. Keep track of sodium intake by keeping a food diary. The average person should limit sodium to under 2,300 milligrams a day, but those who already have high blood pressure should aim to keep it under 1,500 per day.

Shed the Extra Pounds

Blood pressure increases along with body weight. Additionally, if you already take blood pressure medication, losing even just 10 pounds makes it more effective. Those suffering from hypertension might want to try the D.A.S.H diet, a low-cholesterol diet designed to lower blood pressure.

Limit Alcohol

Although there is some evidence to suggest that alcohol in small amounts can lower blood pressure, more than one drink a day for women and two for men increases blood pressure. Binge drinking is especially dangerous, as it can cause dramatic spikes in blood pressure. Binge drinking is defined as more than four drinks in a row. Track your alcohol use, and see a doctor if you believe you may have a problem.

Quit Smoking

Smoking has detrimental effects on the body, not the least of which is high blood pressure. Smoking can increase blood pressure up to 10 points for at least one hour after the last cigarette. Start a smoking cessation program to help you quit, such as the nicotine patch. There are also several medications that your doctor can prescribe to help with cravings.

Reduce Stress

Stress has drastic short-term effects on blood pressure. Try to alleviate stress in healthy ways such as yoga, mediation or massage therapy. If your anxiety is taking a toll on your life and health, a mental health professional may be able to help.

Conclusion

High blood pressure is known as the "silent killer," as it rarely has symptoms, but left untreated, it can pose severe consequences. High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart problems, including heart attacks, disease and congestive heart failure. It can also cause stroke, kidney damage and even memory problems. These problems can be prevented with regular blood pressure monitoring and key lifestyle changes, and there are proven strategies for lowering blood pressure without the assistance of medication.

Sources

MayoClinic.org "10 ways to control high blood pressure" http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974?pg=2
Heart.org "Why blood pressure matters" http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/WhyBloodPressureMatters/Why-Blood-Pressure-Matters_UCM_002051_Article.jsp

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