Lowering your blood pressure if it is too high is a great way to improve your health. According to the World Health Organization, 7 million people die each year from conditions related to high blood pressure.
Reducing high blood pressure can mean reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems.
There are many ways how to lower your blood pressure. Here we present some of the most important as ideas you can discuss with your doctor.
If you are concerned that it is too high, the Signs of High Blood Pressure may be of interest.
Also useful is the Foods that Lower Blood Pressure, which goes over the evidence for some foods and their potential to lower blood pressure.
Getting enough exercise is in general one of the best ways to lower blood pressure. The reason for this is that your body very rapidly adjusts to the exercise and tells itself to moderate how it regulates blood flow and pressure.
Exercising automatically stimulates the part of your body which regulates your blood pressure.
The question is, how much exercise do you need, and how much benefit can you get?
Studies have shown that moderate intensity exercise can lead to a 5-7mm Hg drop in systolic and/or diastolic pressure. Some people get better results and some people less.
You can get some benefits of reduced blood pressure very likely from taking walks for 20-30 minutes a day.
As always, consult with your doctor if in doubt about exercise routine.
Changing your diet can make a big difference in your blood pressure. One study of the DASH diet showed a solid 11mm Hg drop in systolic and a 5 mm Hg drop in diastolic pressure.
In general, a diet to reduce blood pressure should consist of reduced salt, fruits and vegetables, and a variety of other healthy options, including whole wheat grains and low fat diary products.
Cutting back on salt is very important.
Studies show that salt intake is highly correlated with the development of high blood pressure. This is because it causes an automatic regulatory system to kick in that holds fluids in your body, increasing your blood pressure.
If your doctor believes your high blood pressure needs medication, medication can be very effective in reducing your blood pressure. There are a variety of medication options, ranging from the ace inhibitors and beta blockers to the calcium channel blockers and the diuretics – and others.
They work by acting on various parts of your body to tilt the balance towards lower blood pressure. They might, for instance, work by reducing the amount of fluid in your body, which naturally lowers blood pressure.
Other Ideas – Acupuncture
Acupuncture is the ancient practice of inserting needles into the body at specific points in order to balance the opposing forces of yin and yang.
Some studies, although not very rigorous and scientific, have shown benefit from acupuncture for lowering blood pressure. Results as good as a 6 mm Hg drop in systolic and 5 mm Hg drop in diastolic have been reported.
But bear in mind that the studies showing such benefit are very likely to be biased, and these results are not necessarily superior to what you would get from placebo.
Could learning how to relax better lower your blood pressure? To answer this question, the respected review organization Cochrane analyzed many studies that looked at whether relaxing was a valid treatment for lowering blood pressure.
The conclusion was that relaxing could reduce blood pressure by around 5 mm Hg systolic and 3 mm Hg diastolic. Impressive. But there’s a caveat. They also pointed out that most of the studies they could obtain for their analysis were not so well done and subject to bias.
Work less – perhaps cut back on the amount of hours spent working. This is more likely to apply if you are working more than 40-50 hours a week.
Drink less caffeine in general especially from coffee – caffeine in general can cause your blood pressure to go up. Drinking less coffee and caffeinated beverages could help lower your blood pressure.
While this makes sense, the science is not fully clear yet. A recent study showed that drinking several cups of coffee a day actually reduced the risk of heart disease.
Drink more tea – that said, there are also studies which show that tea can lower your blood pressure or reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lose weight – One of the best ways to lower your blood pressure – and be more healthy overall – is to lose weight. Losing weight is typically easier said than done, but here is a list of the Top 10 Ways to Lose Weight.
Quit smoking – smoking can increase your blood pressure and hurt your overall cardiac health (in addition to increasing the risk of many cancers).
Consume less soda – sodas are high in sugars and caffeine and may not be the most healthy choice.
Drink less alcohol – consuming less alcohol may have some effect on your blood pressure levels
We hope you found these ideas on how to lower blood pressure useful. As always, we are open to comments and hearing what your personal experiences and thoughts are.
1) Dietary Therapy in Hypertension
2) Effect of laser acupoint treatment on blood pressure and body weight—a pilot study
3) Relaxation therapies for the management of primary hypertension in adults