It is true that you can always lower your blood pressure by diet and exercise alone.
What about natural remedies? Do they really work?
What should my blood pressure be in order to stay healthy?
If you have high blood pressure, the task of lowering your numbers may seem overwhelming. Questions like these are probably racing through your mind. In addition, scanning websites often leads to information overload—and some sources are more reliable than others.
Therefore, we’ve provided safe, simple tips on how to lower blood pressure. By following these guidelines and meeting with your primary care doctor regularly, you can make great strides toward better health.
How to Lower Blood Pressure: 5 Simple Tips
1. Adjust Your Diet
Often, simply changing a few elements of your diet can go a long way toward getting your blood pressure numbers down. Aim for a menu that’s full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
It’s also important to limit your salt intake. There are several great alternatives to salt you can use so you won’t have to sacrifice flavor. For example, you may try herbs or citrus fruits. Even a squeeze of lime can make a big difference.
Just be sure to ask your doctor about the right salt substitute for you.
You can explore more in-depth information in this useful handout from the American Heart Association.
2. Begin (or Continue) An Exercise Routine
Even moderate physical activity can make a difference in your blood pressure.
We suggest 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity during most days. Whether you just take a brisk walk along your favorite trail or biking around your neighborhood, little changes can make a big difference.
Not sure where to get started? Talk to us! Your primary care doctor will be happy to provide guidance and direction.
3. Lose Weight if You Are Overweight or Obese
You can discover if you are overweight or obese through utilizing a body mass index (BMI) calculator. The BMI calculator utilizes measurements of both your weight and your height to determine your ideal BMI.
If you need to lose weight, a combination of diet and exercise are the solution for many. However, for others, repeated attempts to lose weight may not be successful. If you have tried diet and exercise, and you are 100 pounds or more above your ideal body weight, you may qualify for weight loss (bariatric) surgery. Other qualifications include a BMI of 40 or more. However, if you have a serious health condition such as diabetes, you may qualify for weight loss surgery with a BMI of 35.
If you qualify, and you’re considering bariatric surgery, read this first.
4. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Did you realize that if you drink too much, you can raise your blood pressure by several points? If you are taking blood pressure medicine, you should limit how much alcohol you consume because alcohol limits the effectiveness of the medication.
5. Talk to Your Doctor About Medication
Sometimes, lifestyle changes aren’t enough in themselves to lower blood pressure, and that’s when it’s appropriate to try medication. By working closely with your primary care doctor, we can determine which one is most effective for you.
However, it’s very important that you have an up-to-date list of all the medicines you’re currently taking—including any herbal supplements. Sometimes, herbal remedies or even over-the-counter medications can interact with certain prescription medicines.
What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?
Of course, you can’t discover how to lower your blood pressure if you don’t know you have it. For this reason, some refer to the disease as “the silent killer.” We also believe this is another reason to have regular physicals so we can determine your blood pressure. At this appointment, we’ll also evaluate your cholesterol and blood sugar.
If you have a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher, then you have high blood pressure. (You may hear your blood pressure readings referred to as one number over another—in this case—“140 over 90.”)
Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is prehypertension. While this isn’t high blood pressure, it’s an indicator that you’re likely to develop it if you don’t take positive steps for your health.
How to Lower Blood Pressure: What You Can Control and What You Can’t
While we’ve outlined some great steps you can take, there are some factors of high blood pressure you can’t resolve. You are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure if:
- You’re older than 55 for men, or 65 for women
- You have a family history of heart disease or early heart disease.
Instead of dwelling on what you can’t control, we suggest concentrating on the things you can, such as losing weight, getting enough exercise and meeting regularly with your primary care doctor.
For additional information on how to lower high blood pressure, you may wish to download this booklet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Conway Medical Center Can Help You Lower Your Blood Pressure
Whether you have a family history of high blood pressure or you’re just trying to live a healthier life, Conway Medical Center has you covered. Our extensive team of experienced specialists are ready to help you lower your blood pressure, which can dramatically reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
If you don’t have a primary care physician who can help you, we have doctors on staff ready to assist and become partners in your care. Just schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations.