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.
Cut Back On Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates
Sugar, especially fructose, may increase your blood pressure more than salt, according to one 2014 review. In trials lasting at least 8 weeks, sugar increased blood pressure by 5.6 mm Hg diastolic and 6.9 mm Hg systolic .
A 2020 study that compared various popular diets found that for people who with more weight or obesity, low carb and low fat diets lowered their diastolic blood pressure by an average of about 5 mm Hg and their systolic blood pressure 3 mm Hg after 6 months .
Another benefit of a low carb, low sugar diet is that you feel fuller longer, because youre consuming more protein and fat.
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.
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Does Pain Affect Systolic Or Diastolic Blood Pressure
Research indicates that people age 14 and older could have higher blood pressure due to acute pain levels. However, the role of chronic pain on blood pressure levels is not well understood. Often, hypertension and concurrent musculoskeletal problems are commonly prescribed analgesics and antihypertensive at the same time.
Sometimes pain and anti-inflammatory medications can cause people to retain water, which can cause kidney problems as well as increase blood pressure. These include indomethacin, acetaminophen, aspirin, naproxen sodium, and piroxicam.
Management of high blood pressure often requires adjustment, especially when an injury occurs that causes someone to decrease their level of activity. Taking a lot of anti-inflammatory pain medications can also cause water retention, which elevates blood pressure.
What You Do Can Make A Difference
There are many different things you can do to lower your high blood pressure in addition to making lifestyle changes. Check in regularly with your healthcare provider. He or she will monitor your blood pressure and make sure you are on track. Also, stay informed about your health by asking questions during your office visit. Here are some examples to help you get started:
- I hadnt been concerned about my blood pressure since it was below 140/90 mm Hg. Whats different now?
- Ive been doing well with my medication, but now my blood pressure is considered high based on the new guidelines. What do I need to do now?
- If Im at risk for heart disease, how does this affect my blood pressure treatment?
- What lifestyle changes would be good for lowering my blood pressure?
- How does sodium and salt affect my blood pressure? How much salt is safe for me to consume when I have high blood pressure?
- What foods and drinks should I avoid?
- How do I use my blood pressure cuff at home? How do I know if its accurate?
- Do I need to see a dietitian?
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How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure Naturally Over Time
Now that weve discussed why theres no fail-proof, safe, and fast way to lower blood pressure, remember, there are still many ways to lower your blood pressure over time. Here are some simple recommendations:
Exercise most days of the week. Exercise is the most effective way to lower your blood pressure. Being physically active at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week goes a long way toward keeping or getting your blood pressure under control.
Consume a low-sodium diet. Too much sodium causes blood pressure to rise. The AHA recommends keeping your daily sodium intake to less than 2 grams, but keeping it less than 1.5 grams is even better! The DASH diet provides a low-sodium eating plan for you to use as an example.
Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 to 2 drinks per day. Drinking more than average1 drink for women and 2 drinks for mencan cause your blood pressure to rise. Plus, alcohol can cause you to pack on the pounds, which can also lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Make stress reduction a priority. Stressful situations can cause your blood pressure to go up temporarily. But if you continue to be stressed, your blood pressure can remain high. Find calming activities you can do every day to help you relieve stress. Coloring, walking outside, listening to relaxing music, and even taking a warm bath can help you keep you lower your stress levels.
Why Does Hypertension Matter
If you are in this 130/80 range, reducing your blood pressure can help protect you from heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and even cognitive decline. The goal of the new guidelines is to encourage you to treat your high blood pressure seriously and to take action to bring it down, primarily using lifestyle interventions. “It is well documented that lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure as much as pills can, and sometimes even more,” says Dr. Fisher.
Making those changes can be challenging. More than one woman has woken up in the morning committed to healthy eating only to be derailed by a plate of cookies on a table in the office or a dinner out with friends.
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What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you and your healthcare provider will talk about your target blood pressure. Your provider may suggest that you:
- Check your own blood pressure regularly with a home blood pressure monitor. These electronic monitors are available at most pharmacies or online.
- Work on controlling anger and managing stress.
Risks Of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
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Who Gets Isolated Systolic Hypertension
Older people are more likely to have it, because systolic blood pressure usually goes up as you age.
- More than 30% of women over 65 and more than 20% of men have this condition.
- If your parents had high blood pressure, you may be more likely to have it.
- African-Americans are more likely than other groups to have high blood pressure.
Strategies To Reduce High Blood Pressure Naturally
Eventually, untreated high blood pressure can have dire consequences. Fortunately, you have a number of strategies to normalize blood pressure. Normalized blood pressure means you have less of a risk for many problems including cardiovascular disease.
While researchers arent always able to narrow down the culprits, theyve concluded that diet and lifestyle factors significantly impacthigh blood pressure. After your doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure, he or she will likely suggest dietary and lifestyle modifications including a low-salt diet and more exercise.
With the right strategies, you can do plenty to normalize high blood pressure and avoid or lessen the need for medication. These seven strategies become an excellent starting point.
1. Concentrate on foods that lower blood pressure. Sugary, processed foods contain salt, sugar, damaged fats, and food sensitivities like gluten that contribute to or exacerbate high blood pressure. Shifting to a whole, unprocessed foods diet can dramatically impact your blood pressure. Many whole, unprocessed foods are rich in potassium, a mineral that supports healthy blood pressure. Some research shows that too much sodium and low amounts of potassium can contribute to high blood pressure. Research shows people with high blood pressure can benefit from increased potassium in foods including avocado, spinach, wild-caught salmon, and sweet potatoes.
4. Find an exercise that works for you .
7. Visit your chiropractor.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Hypertension
While the exact causes of HBP remain a mystery in most cases, risk factors are much easier to identify. Fortunately, most of them are within your power to controlwhich means your hearts destiny may lie largely in your own hands. They include:
If youre overweight or obese, your body requires your heart to pump more blood to supply it with oxygen and other essential nutrients. This extra work adds to the pressure on the walls of your blood vessels.
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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 eases tension in your blood vessels. However, diets rich in potassium may be harmful to people with kidney disease, so talk with 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:
- other processed snacks
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 nutrition labels. According to the 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 Can You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Treatment of high blood pressure often starts with lifestyle changes, including decreasing salt in your diet, losing weight if necessary, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol use, and regular exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are often used to lower blood pressure. There are several types of medications that treat high blood pressure with each type of medication having benefits and risks that should be carefully weighed by you and your health care provider. Most people take more than one medication in order to bring their blood pressure down to their treatment goal.
Your blood pressure medication should begin to work within days. However, because high blood pressure is a long-lasting medical condition that often has little or no symptoms, remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Combination medicines, long-acting or once-a-day medications, may be used to decrease the burden of taking numerous medications and help ensure medications regularly. Once started, the medication should be used until your doctor tells you to stop.
Controlling your blood pressure should be part of a healthy living plan and lifelong task. The damage that high blood pressure causes your internal organs does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done.
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Measuring Ambulatory Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can also be diagnosed through a special device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. A doctor, nurse or pharmacist will get you to wear the device for a full day. The device measures blood pressure every 20 to 30 minutes and gives the doctor an average of your blood pressures during the day and while you are sleeping. These devices are not available everywhere and can be uncomfortable to wear.
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Low Systolic Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association doesnt state a specific number at which blood pressure is considered too low, as long as none of the symptoms of trouble are present. Therefore, what is low systolic blood pressure?
Most experts define low systolic blood pressure as a systolic number less than 90 mmHg.
If you have high BP and dont have a doctor or the correct health plan for you, you may want to check out a health plan service I recommend. They can get a plan fitting your situation and affordable. Visit the eHealth Insurance website for more information.
What Do The Readings Mean
As a general guide:
140/90mmHg or over you may have high blood pressureMost doctors use 140/90mmHg as the cut off for point for diagnosing . This is the point where your risk of serious health problems goes up. They might prescribe and advise you to make changes to your to bring your blood pressure down. 120/80mmHg up to 140/90mmHg pre-high blood pressureAlso called high-normal blood pressure. This is not high blood pressure, but it is a little higher than it should be and means you could go on to develop high blood pressure. See how you can make to lower it. 90/60mmHg up to 120/80mmHg ideal blood pressureAlso called normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure reading is healthy. At this level you have a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Following a will help you to keep it in the healthy range. 90/60mmHg or lower you may have low blood pressure usually isnt a problem, but it can sometimes make you feel faint or dizzy or could be a sign of another health problem.
The video below explains how your blood pressure numbers are linked to the risk of stroke and other disease.
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