What Is Good Blood Pressure
A good, normal blood pressure readingtaken while seated, with a blood pressure cuffshould be 120/80. The first number is the systolic blood pressure , and the second is the diastolic blood pressure . Anything over that is either considered elevated or high.
Those numbers apply across the board for adults over the age of 18, Dr. Osborne says. He notes that decades ago, good blood pressure numbers varied based on age, limits some people still cling to today. But in actuality, its all standardized to 120/80.
The vast majority of hypertension out there is in adults, he says. Its independent of age. It doesnt matter whether youre 21 or 81. The numbers are the same.
For adults, that is. For kids, its a little different. Blood pressure numbers are based on population and age, and are generally lower than with adults. Theres not a standardized set of guidelines for children, but certainly if you come across a kid that repeatedly has blood pressures that would be high according to the adult category, its high, Dr. Osborne explains.
Increase Activity And Exercise More
In a 2013 study, sedentary older adults who participated in aerobic exercise training lowered their blood pressure by an average of 3.9 percent systolic and 4.5 percent diastolic . These results are as good as some blood pressure medications.
As you regularly increase your heart and breathing rates, over time your heart gets stronger and pumps with less effort. This puts less pressure on your arteries and lowers your blood pressure.
How much activity should you strive for? A 2013 report by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association advises moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity for 40-minute sessions, three to four times per week .
If finding 40 minutes at a time is a challenge, there may still be benefits when the time is divided into three or four 10- to 15-minute segments throughout the day .
The American College of Sports Medicine makes similar recommendations .
But you dont have to run marathons. Increasing your activity level can be as simple as:
- using the stairs
- going for a bike ride
- playing a team sport
Just do it regularly and work up to at least half an hour per day of moderate activity.
One example of moderate activity that can have big results is tai chi. A 2017 review on the effects of tai chi and high blood pressure shows an overall average of a 15.6 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure and a 10.7 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure, compared to people who didnt exercise at all .
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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Ways To Lower Your Blood Pressure
1. Maintain a healthy weight
2. Reduce central obesity
Having excess fat around the waistline puts you at risk of hypertension and related heart disease. You can reduce the fat around your middle through various exercises, including jogging, walking, hiking, rowing, swimming and high-intensity interval training .
3. Stay physically active
The American Heart Association recommends doing 90-150 minutes of physical activity spread throughout the week or at least 30 minutes each day for at least 5 days a week.
4. Quit smoking
Smoking causes the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that leads to high blood pressure. Try to quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Ask your doctor if you need help figuring out the best way to do this. Joining a program designed to help you quit smoking may help.
5. Get enough sleep
6. Manage stress
Stress releases hormones that temporarily raise blood pressure. Learn to manage stress by doing activities that relax you and make you feel good. These may include simple things like taking a long walk in nature, listening to music, or pursuing hobbies you enjoy. You can also try deep breathing and meditation techniques.
7. Eat heart-healthy foods
The Bottom Line On Blood Pressure
Blood pressure can be confusing. But its also an amazing predictor of your future heart health. Get familiar with your blood pressure numbers. Know them as well as you know your weight. Then listen to your doctors recommendations. If your doctor prescribes medication, dont put off taking it because you think you can fix the problem through diet and exercise. For some people, lifestyle changes alone arent enough.
Sema continues to follow the same routine she initiated 30 years ago. In the morning, she spends 20 minutes meditating followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill. In the evening, shes back on the treadmill for another 30 minutes. When I go to the doctor now, she says. Im happy to tell him, Im doing all that I can. Now its up to you.
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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.
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
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Practice Slow Deep Beathing For 5 Minutes
Lots of drivers have failed DOT physicals simply from being nervous about their results. If you already know that you have above average blood pressure, you may feel that overwhelming anxiety of the results. The irony behind this is youre possibly raising your blood pressure by worrying about it. Slow deep breathes have been known to temporarily lower your blood pressure.
Listen To Classical Music
Listening to soothing music like classical or chamber music is one of the best ways to lower BP fast. Especially if you combine listening to music with practicing breathing exercises or meditation, this effect is increased. Through research, the scientists found that these types of music create a calming effect and help reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
Researchers believe that the types of music that can help lower blood pressure naturally often have a volume or rhythm that doesnt change much has no lyrics, and has regular, repetitive sections.
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Why Lowering Your Bp Matters
Over time, high blood pressure can lead to an array of health complications. HBP does not have symptoms, so its especially important to visit your primary physician on a regular basis. They will be able to determine if your blood pressure is abnormal and prescribe a treatment plan for you.
HPB can lead to:
- Damage to your heart and arteries
- Memory loss
- Vision loss
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I used to think these dramatic drops in blood pressure were something that happened to only a very few people, continues Dr. Fruge, but Ive been here at Pritikin for more than 15 years, and I see results like these every week. This isnt a miracle. Its simply what happens when we start taking good care of ourselves.
When To See A Doctor
Measuring blood pressure is the only way to determine whether it is high. People can visit their doctor for a routine blood pressure monitoring. Alternatively, people can ask their doctor for advice on how to measure their blood pressure at home.
People at risk of developing high blood pressure must have regular health checkups and monitor their blood pressure at home.
A person should also see their doctor if they have high blood pressure, and their efforts to lower their blood pressure are ineffective.
High blood pressure can lead to several health complications. According to the AHA, potential complications include:
How About White Coat Syndrome
The term white coat syndrome or white coat hypertension have been used for years to indicate if you have high blood pressure readings only when you are In a medical setting. This is something that may be more prevalent with truck drivers and others who must qualify to work, and there exists stress relating to having to meet the minimum requirements to drive and work.
From a medical standpoint, it typically means that there is evidence that your blood pressure has tested normal at home, or maybe at the pharmacy, but is typically higher when tested at the doctors office or during your DOT medical exam.
Your blood pressure is not fixed it rises and falls throughout the day in response to what you are doing and what is happening around you. White coat syndrome is a response to being nervous about having your blood pressure tested, although a person does not always notice they are nervous. A driver may actually have their blood pressure rise as high as much as 30 points if very anxious. It is therefore important for a driver who is anxious about their medical exam to know what to do to help manage this before going in to their exam.
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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 (
Switch To Dark Chocolate
A 2010 analysis of 15 studies suggests that dark chocolate may slightly reduce blood pressure. Ried K, et al. Does chocolate reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis. DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-8-39 If youre eating chocolate, choose dark chocolate over other types, and make sure its at least 70 percent cocoa. 12 heart-healthy foods to work into your diet. .
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Can High Blood Pressure Be Prevented Or Avoided
If your high blood pressure is caused by lifestyle factors, you can take steps to reduce your risk:
- Lose weight.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Learn relaxation methods.
If your high blood pressure is caused by disease or the medicine you take, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medicine. Additionally, treating any underlying disease can help reduce your high blood pressure.
Drink Milk Coconut Water And Cranberry Juice
Milk is a superfood. It consists of potassium, calcium, and Vitamin D. These nutrients are directly proven to lower blood pressure immediately.
Coconut water is highly rich in potassium, electrolytes, and minerals. These nutrients are an immediate solution to hypertension.
Not only that, at times, deficiency of these minerals can cause hypertension.
A study in West Indian Medical Journal proved that coconut water drops the pressure by margins.
Cranberry juice is rich in proanthocyanidins. This helps in reducing high BP by dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow.
Articles published in Nature, 2016 proves that berry juice lowers systolic blood pressure.
However, milk is not suitable for everyone as people have lactose intolerance.
Thus, consultation with a doctor before the change in diet is advisable.
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Limit Saturated And Trans Fats
The AHA also recommend avoiding trans fats, which can increase bad cholesterol levels while decreasing good cholesterol levels. Like high blood pressure, trans fats increase a persons chances of developing heart disease and stroke.
Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
Some people buy their own blood pressure monitor to use at home. This means you can measure your blood pressure on an ongoing basis.
The blood pressure readings you do at home are as good as those done by your doctor.
If you decide to buy one, it’s important to get the correct cuff size. If the cuff is too big or too small, it can give an inaccurate reading.
If you take your own blood pressure and get an unusually high reading, take it a second time after at least five minutes. If it’s still high and you’re worried, contact your nurse or GP.
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Nix Your Nicotine Addiction
Each cigarette you smoke temporarily raises blood pressure for several minutes after you finish. If youre a heavy smoker, your blood pressure can stay elevated for extended periods of time.
Even secondhand smoke can put you at increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Drinking a glass of red wine with your dinner is perfectly fine. It might even offer heart-health benefits when done in moderation.
But drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to lots of health issues, including high blood pressure.
Excessive drinking can also reduce the effectiveness of certain blood pressure medications.
What does drinking in moderation mean? The AHA recommends that men limit their consumption to two alcoholic drinks per day. Women should limit their intake to one alcoholic drink per day.
One drink equals:
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.
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How I Lowered By Blood Pressure 20 Points
NOTE: you may not see such dramatic results, so give this protocol 30 days.
My main objective in my case was the figure out the cause. I do take meds to address hypothyroidism, and if meds arent dosed properly, blood pressure can rise. I ordered labs to check thyroid, and while waiting, I addressed the next obvious cause, which was stress. I am very sensitive to stress and work hard to keep my stress levels in check. I knew I needed to mix up my morning meditation practice and get stricter about focusing on breathwork and stress relief. Heres the rest of the protocol I developed for myself to lower blood pressure:
- AM meditation, 10 minutes deep breathing
- Get sleep in check! 8 hours, in bed by 10 ideally.
- Hibiscus-based and/or blood pressure tea blends are good for arterial health.
- Potassium and minerals are essential for healthy BP. Try a mineral supplement.
- I took chlorophyll to oxygenate my system and address low red blood cell production .
- Hydrate! Dehydration can raise BP.
- CBD oil: This, for me, was the key player and star of the show. Fortunately I live in an area where I can easily access this magical elixir. Im somewhat convinced this alone was the reason for the dramatic and swift reduction in my blood pressure. CBD is the non-psychoactive constituent in marijuana that has amazing health benefits without getting you high.