Do you have high blood pressure? Hypertension is a serious diagnosis. If left untreated, it could cause heart disease, stroke, and other life-threatening conditions. But that doesn’t mean you have to use medication to lower your blood pressure.
Here, at Kenilworth Primary Care, Dr. Bhavani Jeereddy encourages all our hypertensive patients to make healthy lifestyle changes before trying prescription medications.
Here are five ways to help lower your blood pressure naturally.
1. Lose weight
Your weight and your blood pressure go hand in hand. When you put on a few pounds, your numbers go up, too.
Fortunately, the reverse is also true: when you lose weight, your blood pressure drops. In fact, generally speaking, losing just over two pounds can reduce your blood pressure by one point. Now, expand that concept to five pounds, 10 pounds, or more. You can make a significant difference in your hypertension condition and a long list of other health risks with each pound you drop.
But beware of dangerous fads and crash diets. Dr. Jeereddy can guide you in your weight loss journey with a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Physical activity is known to lower blood pressure, so committing to some kind of movement for 30 minutes most days of the week can be life-changing.
Your diet doesn’t have to be extreme, and you don’t need to starve yourself. You just need to eat smarter. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) has smart guidelines that can help manta, including:
- More whole grains
- More potassium (bananas)
- More fresh fruits and vegetables
- More low-fat dairy
- Less saturated fat
- Less cholesterol
By eating foods that lower your blood pressure and fewer foods that raise it, you can control or reverse your hypertension and your risk for other diseases.
2. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
Don't forget, what you drink is also part of your diet. Two types of beverages, in particular, can cause or worsen high blood pressure.
Alcohol and hypertension have a unique relationship. A little bit is good; too much is bad. One drink a day for women and two for men can actually lower your blood pressure. But go beyond that and it has the opposite effect.
Alcohol can also reduce the effectiveness of your blood pressure medication if you’re taking any.
Caffeine also messes with your numbers, but not in everybody. Some people are more sensitive to the impact of caffeine. A good way to tell is to take your blood pressure measurement about half an hour after you drink caffeine. If it’s up to five or 10 points, you may need to cut back or eliminate it.
3. Put down the salt shaker
Do you sprinkle salt on everything? It may be raising your blood pressure. But the shaker is only one source of salt; there’s hidden sodium in just about everything you eat. Read labels carefully and try to keep your overall daily intake under 2,300 mg — 1,500 would be even better.
4. Calm down
Everyone has a stressful day now and then, and you probably feel the effects: your heart rate goes up, your muscles get tense, and you may get a headache. If you live under chronic stress, it begins to take a toll on your body, and raising your blood pressure is one of the consequences.
If this describes you, be mindful of avoiding things that trigger your stress, learn to manage it with prayer or meditation, practice breathing exercises, or try yoga — whatever works to keep you calm.
5. Stop smoking
If you smoke, stop. Smoking puts you at risk for heart disease, strokes, and cancer, and it also raises your blood pressure. As soon as you stop, your blood pressure drops and your overall health improves. It’s a no-brainer.
Following these steps can do wonders for your hypertension and help you avoid the need for medication. But some people still need a little extra help despite their best efforts to lower their high blood pressure naturally.
If you have hypertension and need some help, contact our office in Kenilworth, New Jersey, and book your consultation with Dr. Jeereddy online today.