How to Lower Your High Blood Pressure

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How to Lower Your High Blood Pressure

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Luke Laffin, MD, Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and cardiologist in the Section of Preventive Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic tells us about natural ways to lower blood pressure. These tips will help you stay off medications or lessen the amount of medications you need to take to control blood pressure.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, another name for high blood pressure, is often called a “silent killer.” This is because you can have hypertension without even knowing it, as it often presents with no symptoms. When blood pressure is uncontrolled for a long time, it significantly increases your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening conditions.

A normal blood pressure reading is defined as falling below 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe treatment options including:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medications
  • Mupplements

High blood pressure can have a variety of causes, including:

  • Genetics
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Certain medications

Your risk also increases with age. As you get older, your artery walls lose their elasticity.

If you have high blood pressure from unknown causes, it’s called essential or primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension occurs if your hypertension is caused by a medical condition, such as kidney disease.

Your doctor may encourage you to change your eating habits to help lower your blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) endorses the DASH diet, which stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension.”

The DASH diet is rich in:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Lean sources of protein

It’s also low in:

  • Saturated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Added sugars
  • Sodium

You should also reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake.

Why do I need to eat less sodium?

Sodium causes your body to retain fluids. This increases the volume of your blood and the pressure in your blood vessels. It’s believed that reducing your sodium intake can lower your blood pressure by 2-8 mm Hg in certain people.

Most healthy people should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams (mg) or less per day. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, you should eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. You should also limit your sodium intake to 1,500 mg daily if you’re African-American or over 50 years old.

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Check out these low-sodium foods to get started.

Why should I eat more potassium?

Potassium is an important mineral for good health. It also helps lessen the effects of sodium in your body. Eating enough potassium can help control your blood pressure.

The average adult should consume about 4,700 mg of potassium per day. Foods that are rich in potassium include:

  • White beans
  • White potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Greens, such as spinach
  • Bananas
  • Dried apricots
  • Oranges
  • Salmon

Ask your doctor about how much potassium you need. It’s important to get enough potassium in your diet. But eating too much of it may also be harmful, especially if you have certain medical conditions such as chronic kidney disease.

On top of eating a well-balanced diet, it’s essential to get regular exercise. In a recent study, researchers reported that low-to-moderate exercise training can help reduce high blood pressure.

How much exercise do you need? Most healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. If you have high blood pressure, try to get at least 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise three to four days per week.

Gaining weight increases your risk of hypertension. For overweight people, losing weight has been shown to decrease blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg. People are considered overweight if their body mass index (BMI) is greater than 25.

Even gradual weight loss can benefit your blood pressure levels, reducing or preventing hypertension. The AHA says that a 5-10 pound loss can provide health benefits. Consult your doctor on the healthiest way to lose weight for you.

Alcohol intake has a direct relationship with blood pressure. Encouraging moderate alcohol intake is important. While a glass of red wine may offer some health benefits, moderation isn’t just for hard liquor. Regular and heavy intake of any alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically.

The AHA recommends limiting alcohol intake to two drinks a day for men and one a day for women. One drink equals:

  • 12 oz. of beer
  • 5 oz. of wine
  • 1 1/2 oz. of hard liquor

Smoking can contribute or even cause a large number of cardiovascular diseases. Each cigarette that you smoke temporarily raises your blood pressure. While research hasn’t yet proven that smoking has a long-term effect on blood pressure, there’s a direct link between smoking and immediate hypertension.

It’s also thought that smoking could have a detrimental effect on central blood pressure, which can result in organ damage. Smoking also leads to inflammation, which plays a role in the long-term damage to blood vessels.

If you want to stop smoking, ask your doctor for product recommendations about nicotine gums or patches, and about support groups that focus on quitting smoking.

Vitamin C

According to scientists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, high doses of vitamin C — an average of 500 mg per day — may produce small reductions of blood pressure. Vitamin C may act as a diuretic, removing excess fluid from your body. This may help lower the pressure within your blood vessels.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is also essential to your overall health. According to a review article from 2013, vitamin D deficiency may raise your risk of hypertension. It’s possible that taking vitamin D supplements might help lower your blood pressure by interacting with a variety of systems in the body. You can also find vitamin D in these foods.

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Reducing your overall stress can directly impact hypertension. High levels of stress sustained over long periods of time can have negative effects on your hypertension and overall health.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many conditions. It’s also used for stress relief and promoting relaxation. Research suggests it may help improve certain conditions, including high blood pressure. A study published in 2013 suggests that acupuncture may help lower blood pressure when used in combination with antihypertensive medications.

Meditation is also thought to help relieve stress or anxiety, even if you can only meditate a few times a day. Deep breathing exercises, whether combined with meditation or used alone, can also be effective, as they reduce the heart rate and forcibly lower blood pressure.

If you’re unable to cut out stress from your life, consulting a therapist can be helpful. They can offer stress management techniques that can prevent the stress from impacting your health.

Healthy blood pressure levels are important for lowering your chances of developing heart disease.

Get your blood pressure checked regularly. If you’re diagnosed with hypertension, follow your doctor’s recommendations to lower your blood pressure. They may prescribe treatment strategies such as medications, supplements, and changes to your diet or exercise routine.

Always talk to your doctor before changing your treatment plan and never stop medications without consulting them first. They can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of treatment options.

Q&A How to Lower Your High Blood Pressure

  • What is a fast way to lower blood pressure?
The fastest ways to safely lower blood pressure include:
  1. Practicing breathing exercises that slow your heart rate and promote relaxation.
  2. Lying down and resting for 10 minutes.
  3. Eating a healthy diet.
  4. Losing weight (if needed)
  5. Doing regular exercise.
  6. Limiting alcohol.
  7. Stopping smoking.
  8. Taking your medication as directed.
  • What should we do when BP is high?
Here’s what you can do:
  1. Eat healthy foods.
  2. Decrease the salt in your diet. Aim to limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Increase physical activity.
  5. Limit alcohol.
  6. Don’t smoke.
  7. Manage stress.
  8. Monitor your blood pressure at home.
  • How can I lower my blood pressure fast and naturally?
How to lower blood pressure naturally
  1. Regular physical activity improves health. It’s no secret that regular physical activity helps to stay healthy.
  2. Eat less salt.
  3. Add more potassium to your diet to lower high blood pressure.
  4. Limit alcohol intake.
  5. Reduce stress to lower blood pressure.
  • What should I do if my BP is 140 90?
You should seek medical treatment right away.
  • Does drinking water help lower blood pressure?
Keeping yourself hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water every day improves blood pressure.
  • What time of day is blood pressure highest?
Peaking in midday.
  • Does lemon water lower BP?
Lemon drink contains traces of several minerals that may be beneficial in lowering blood pressure. 
  • How can I lower my BP in 5 minutes?
  • What is normal blood pressure by age?
Normal Blood Pressure By Age
Age SBP
Male 51-55 125.5
56-60 129.5
61-65 143.5
Female 21-25 115.5
  • Do bananas lower BP?
Eating bananas lower blood pressure due to their high potassium content.
  • Does coffee raise blood pressure?
Caffeine may cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. 
  • Should I lie down if my blood pressure is high?
Currently, the American Heart Association recommends that blood pressure readings be taken when you’re sitting down.
  • Does aspirin lower blood pressure?
Aspirin intake at bedtime compared with intake on awakening considerably reduced blood pressure.
  • What creates high BP?
It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity.
  • What drinks should I avoid with high blood pressure?
Coffee, tea or other caffeine-rich drinks, such as cola and some energy drinks, consider cutting down.
  • Does ibuprofen lower BP?
No significant effect on systolic or diastolic blood pressure at any hour during the 24-hour period.
  • How long can you have high blood pressure before it causes damage?
Perhaps within a year or two.
  • Why does blood pressure spike at night?
Medical conditions that can trigger a spike in your nocturnal blood pressure include diabetes, thyroid, and kidney problems, Pianko added.
  • Is 150 90 A good blood pressure?
High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80)
  • What is stroke level blood pressure?
180/120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or greater.
  • Does high blood pressure make you tired?
Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue is a symptom sometimes associated with high blood pressure, and has been shown to be a potential warning sign of cardiac events.
  • How do you feel when you have high blood pressure?
Moderate or severe headache, anxiety, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, palpitations or a sharp pain in the neck are signs of high blood pressure.
  • What is the new normal blood pressure 2021?
Less than 120/80 mm Hg
  • Does walking lower blood pressure immediately?
Ten minutes of brisk or moderate walking three times a day can help you lower your blood pressure
  • Is it possible to get off high blood pressure medication?
It may be possible to reduce your dose of blood pressure medication
  • Is 140/90 The New Normal?
This level is classified as Stage 2 hypertension under the new guidelines.
  • At what BP should I go to the hospital?
180/120 or higher
  • Which number is more important in blood pressure?
Both numbers are equally important in monitoring heart health.

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Luke Laffin, MD, Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and cardiologist in the Section of Preventive Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic tells us about natural ways to lower blood pressure. These tips will help you stay off medications or lessen the amount of medications you need to take to control blood pressure.

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