Making Progress On Lowering Your Blood Pressure With Diet Heres Where To Head Next
Taking control of your diet is a huge first step toward lowering and managing high blood pressure, and its something to be proud of. Many people start with a high blood pressure diet. And when theyre ready, take the next step with other activities that are key to bringing blood pressure down to a healthier level, including:
- Get moving in simple, easy ways. Try to get at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate physical activity, which includes things like brisk walking, dancing, canoeing, gardening, vacuuming, sweeping and mowing.
- Check out deep breathing or meditation. Chronic stress means higher blood pressure. Deep breathing and meditation can help reduce the effects of stress for better physical and mental health, and even just a few minutes can make a difference.
- Investigate how to quit smoking. Stopping smoking is essential to preventing or managing high blood pressure. But its not easy for help, your doctor is a great place to start.
- Set a weight goal. Dropping even just a few pounds can start to have a positive impact on your blood pressure. But losing weight is often easier said than done your doctor can help you come up with a personalized plan youre more likely to stick with.
Get Enough Sleep Each Night
Although sleep may not directly lower a persons blood pressure, it is vital for physical health and mental wellbeing. A lack of good quality sleep can increase the risk of chronic health conditions, some of which may increase a persons blood pressure.
The exact amount of sleep a person needs will vary from person to person. However, adults should be aiming to get between 79 hours of good quality sleep each night.
Try One Of These Dash
Getting started with DASH is pretty easy. Here are some simple changes you can make to start eating more foods that lower blood pressure naturally:
- Introduce some more fruits and vegetables into your meals, especially dark green, orange and yellow ones. Broccoli, spinach, carrots, melons, avocados, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, squash and potatoes are great ways to get started. Try to focus on whole fruits and vegetables, rather than juices or oils to get the most nutrient value.
- Substitute low-fat or fat-free dairy options for what you normally use. This includes things like milk, cheese and yogurt, where the idea is to still get the beneficial calcium without getting as much of the fat. One way could be in your daily coffee order: Ask for a skinny latte instead of a regular one.
- Focus on eating good fats . Try to avoid saturated fats and trans fats, and always check nutrition labels to review what kind of fats your foods contain. Also look for lean meats, oily fish, nuts and light salad dressings. Cook with olive oil, rather than solid fats like butter. Peas and beans are also great mealtime choices: these not only have good fats, but theyre good sources of potassium and magnesium.
Remember: You dont have to change everything all at once. Build up slowly one way to start out is by aiming for a vegetable at every meal. Eventually, you can add more of the DASH high blood pressure diet over time.
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Eat More Foods High In Magnesium
A small study in the International Journal of Hypertension found magnesium supplementation can reduce blood pressure in small amountsNguyen H, Odelola OA, Rangaswami J, Amanullah A. A Review of Nutritional Factors in Hypertension Management. International Journal of Hypertension. 2013 698940. . Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements, especially if you have kidney disease. You can also safely incorporate high-magnesium foods into your diet. Dr. Desai recommends foods like leafy green vegetables and unsalted almonds.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
Most people who have high blood pressure do not have symptoms. This is why its sometimes called the silent killer. It is very important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Some people experience headaches, nosebleeds, or shortness of breath with high blood pressure. However, those symptoms can mimic many other things . Usually, these symptoms occur once blood pressure has reached a dangerously high level over a period of time.
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Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference In Your Blood Pressure Numbers
If you suddenly find yourself with high blood pressure under the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, you might be wondering what to do. The guidelines lowered the definition for high blood pressure to 130/80 from 140/90 millimeters of mercury , meaning more people now meet the criteria for stage 1 hypertension.
While you shouldn’t shrug off the change, there’s also no need to panic. “Obviously, nothing happened overnight inside a woman’s body or to her health with the release of the guidelines,” says Dr. Naomi Fisher, director of hypertension service and hypertension innovation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The change, however, should spur you to take your blood pressure seriously. “These guidelines have been long anticipated and are very welcome by most hypertension experts. They may seem drastic, but in putting the knowledge we’ve gained from large trials into clinical practice, they will help thousands of people,” says Dr. Fisher.
Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Spending time around people encouraging you to do unhealthy things, like excess alcohol or a bad diet, will not help to lower blood pressure. Supportive family and friends can help you improve your health.
Supportive people can encourage you to make healthy decisions, become exercise partners and more. They can boost moral, offer the proper tips and be there for emotional support.
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Living With High Blood Pressure
Controlling your high blood pressure is a lifelong commitment. You will always need to monitor your weight, make healthy food choices, exercise, learn to cope with stress, avoid smoking, and limit your alcohol intake. If you need medicine to control your high blood pressure, you will likely need it all your life.
Additionally, you will need to get used to regular blood pressure checks. Your doctor may want you to come to the office regularly. Or you may be asked to check your blood pressure at home and keep track of your numbers for your doctor. Some pharmacies and retail clinics have blood pressure machines on site. You can buy your own, automated arm blood pressure cuff for use at home. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times a day. Another option is to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.
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The material provided on this site is for educational purposes only and any recommendations are not intended to replace the advice of your physician. You are encouraged to seek advice from a competent medical professional regarding the applicability of any recommendations with regard to your symptoms or condition.
Copyright © 2021 by BlueBeat Media. Thank you for your interest in Jim Donovan. We do not allow republication of our full newsletters and articles. However, you can post a portion of our content with a live link back to our homepage, donovanhealth.com, or a link to the specific article you are quoting from.
Adhana, R., Gupta, R., Dvivedii, J., and Ahmad S., . The influence of the 2:1 yogic breathing technique on essential hypertension. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 57: pp. 38 44. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
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Get The Facts On Alcohol And Blood Pressure
Many of us like to have a drink when we go out with friends or family. The right concoction can make a delicious dish even better or help set the mood for a fun evening. But alcohol and blood pressure dont always mix well.
Drinking a lot can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at greater risk for a wide variety of further cardiovascular issues. So when you decide to drink, its important not to have too much.
How much is too much? If youre a woman, try not to have more than one drink per day. For men, no more than two drinks per day. A standard drink is a 12 oz. beer, a 5 oz. glass of wine or 1.5 oz. of spirits.
However, if youve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may advise you on a different daily limit, or suggest you cut out alcohol completely.
And just to clear something up: Red wine isnt necessarily good for your heart the research is still unclear and we still suggest moderation.
How To Get Blood Pressure Down To 120
A new study links reducing blood pressure with lower risk of heart attack and stroke
Exercising and reducing salt can get blood pressure into the normal range
Patients taking several blood pressure medications may be able to add more
Doctors have long known that systolic blood pressure below 120 was considered normal and meant a lower risk of heart disease and kidney problems. But they would often only treat patients if that top number crept above 140, the threshold for officially having high blood pressure.
Recent findings from a large National Institutes of Health study now suggest that its worth treating patients in that prehypertension gray area of 120 to 140, in order to bring them down into the normal range.
The findings, which have not yet been published and are still preliminary, found lower rates of heart attack, stroke and death among people with high blood pressure who brought that top number down to 120. In order to reach that goal, study participants in the 120 group took an average of three blood pressure medications, whereas the 140 group took two medications.
This is notable because there a lot of people out there with blood pressure in the 130s that we might previously have left alone, but if the results of this trial as we think they are, it might be reason to try to get them to 120, said Dr. John D. Bisognano, professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and president-elect of the American Society of Hypertension.
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How Can I Prevent High Blood Pressure
You can help prevent high blood pressure by having a healthy lifestyle. This means
If you already have high blood pressure, it is important to prevent it from getting worse or causing complications. You should get regular medical care and follow your prescribed treatment plan. Your plan will include healthy lifestyle habit recommendations and possibly medicines.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Cut Back On Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates
A 2010 study compared a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet. The low-fat diet included a diet drug. Both diets produced weight loss, but the low-carb diet was much more effective in lowering blood pressure.
The low-carb diet lowered blood pressure by 4.5 mm Hg diastolic and 5.9 mm Hg systolic. The diet of low-fat plus the diet drug lowered blood pressure by only 0.4 mm Hg diastolic and 1.5 mm Hg systolic .
A 2012 analysis of low-carb diets and heart disease risk found that these diets lowered blood pressure by an average of 3.10 mm Hg diastolic and 4.81 mm Hg systolic .
Another side effect of a low-carb, low-sugar diet is that you feel fuller longer, because youre consuming more protein and fat.
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Reduce Stress Through Meditation And Rest
Chronic stress can lead to chronic elevations in the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, says Dr. Desai. These hormones constrict the arteries and cause weight gain, which further increases blood pressure.
He recommends reducing stress by using breathing exercises, practicing meditation, completing physical exercise, practicing yoga, logging quality sleep, taking breaks throughout the day, spending time in nature, listening to music and eating a balanced diet.
Eat More Potassium And Less Sodium
Increasing your potassium intake and cutting back on salt can also lower your blood pressure .
Potassium is a double winner: It lessens the effects of salt in your system, and also eases tension in your blood vessels. However, diets rich in potassium may be harmful to individuals with kidney disease, so talk to your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
Its easy to eat more potassium so many foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:
Foods labeled low-fat are usually high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat is what gives food taste and makes you feel full.
Cutting down on or even better, cutting out processed food will help you eat less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this can result in lower blood pressure.
Make it a practice to check labels. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , a sodium listing of 5 percent or less on a food label is considered low, while 20 percent or more is considered high (
How Quickly Does Lisinopril Lower Blood Pressure
Lisinopril, commonly sold under the brand name Zestril, begins to lower blood pressure within six hours of the first dose being administered. This is true with all doses, although adults who are on a dose of at least 20 milligrams have more consistent results and a more significant drop in blood pressure.
Research has also shown that Black individuals can be slightly less responsive to lisinopril than other populations. As such Black individuals may be prescribed additional medications, such as a diuretic, to improve effectiveness.
Although lisinopril acts quickly, it can take two to four weeks for your blood pressure to drop into the target range. Because of this, it’s important to continue taking lisinopril as prescribed, even if you dont feel any different when youre taking it.
High blood pressure is dangerous, but it doesnt usually cause any noticeable symptoms. Your healthcare provider will bring you in for regular blood pressure checks, especially as your body adjusts to lisinopril. This ensures that the medication is doing what it should.
You can also talk to your healthcare provider about monitoring your blood pressure at home, but this is generally considered less effective than having a professional check your blood pressure.
Beyond Exercise: The Dash Diet
The DASH diet has been shown to lower systolic blood pressure . Studies have shown a DASH diet can reduce systolic blood pressure by as much as 14 points. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and is 2,000 calories a day. DASH is also low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat.
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Essential Oils For Blood Pressure
Another of the many natural ways to lower blood pressure is to incorporate some key essential oils into your daily lifestyle. Essential oils can lower blood pressure by dilating arteries, acting as antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and by decreasing emotional stress. The most effective essential oils for lowering blood pressure are lavender, ylang ylang, clary sage and frankincense.
Talk with your natural doctor about how to lower blood pressure naturally and safely. Check with your doctor before making major diet and exercise changes. If youre taking any medications, youll also want to make sure there are no drug interactions with any natural supplements you plan to take.
- Blood pressure is a combination of systolic and diastolic pressure.
- High blood pressure happens when the pressure on the arteries and blood vessels becomes too high and the arterial wall becomes distorted causing extra stress on the heart.
- You can monitor your own blood pressure by measuring your pulse rate.
- Try natural ways to lower blood pressure like dietary changes, stress relievers and exercise.
- Check with your doctor before making any major diet or exercise changes or trying new supplements.
When Treatment Is Recommended
Everyone with high blood pressure is advised to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Your doctor will carry out some blood and urine tests, and ask questions about your health to determine your risk of other problems:
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg , but your risk of other problems is low you’ll be advised to make some changes to your lifestyle
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg and your risk of other problems is high you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 160/100mmHg you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
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Who Is At Risk For High Blood Pressure
Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but there are certain factors that can increase your risk:
- Age – Blood pressure tends to rise with age
- Race/Ethnicity – High blood pressure is more common in African American adults
- Weight – People who are overweight or have obesity are more likely to develop high blood pressure
- Sex – Before age 55, men are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure. After age 55, women are more likely than men to develop it.
- Lifestyle – Certain lifestyle habits can raise your risk for high blood pressure, such as eating too much sodium or not enough potassium, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, and smoking.
- Family history – A family history of high blood pressure raises the risk of developing high blood pressure