8 Ways to Control Blood Pressure Without Medication

By Dr. Lu Huiying 2019-11-22 10:24:22

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you might be considering medication to get your numbers down. If you’re worried about the prospect of taking medication, keep in mind that there are other things you can do to lower your blood pressure:

1. Lose extra pounds

Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight can also cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure. Although shedding pounds in general is a good idea, losing weight around your waistline is particularly beneficial as weight in this area can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.

2. Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity, such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes a day, can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.

3. Eat a healthy diet

Follow a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. If you have high blood pressure, this diet can lower your numbers by up to 11 mm Hg.

4. Reduce sodium in your diet

Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. In general, limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake, 1,500 mg a day or less, is ideal for most adults.

5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol only in moderation, generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men, you can potentially lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. However, drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points and reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

6. Quit smoking

When you smoke, your blood pressure is increased long after you put the cigarette out. Fortunately though, quitting can help you return to a more normal blood pressure while also reducing your risk of heart disease and improving your overall health.

7. Cut back on caffeine

The role that caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. Caffeine can raise blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it. To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage and if your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, this can suggest that you may be sensitive to caffeine.

8. Monitor your blood pressure at home

Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before you get started.

Dr Lu Huiying

Chief Physician, Internist

Dr Lu earned a medical degree at Second Military Medical University with high honors. Her research addresses new treatments for digestive disorders and respiratory diseases. She specialises in digestive system diseases, respiratory system diseases, liver diseases, the cardiovascular system, and nervous system diseases.

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