According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three U.S. adults suffer from high blood pressure, which is around 32% of American adults. High blood pressure increases the risk for the leading causes of death in America – heart disease and stroke.
That’s why you have to lower your high blood pressure as soon as possible, and in this post, you will learn how to do that without taking medication, or at least delay the need for their help.
10 Lifestyle Changes to Lower Your High Blood Pressure
1. Lose Extra Weight
High blood pressure is often connected to weight gain. As your weight increases, so does your blood pressure. What’s more, overweight people usually suffer from sleep apnea, disrupted breathing while sleeping, which further increases your blood pressure.
You should also pay attention to your waistline. Men with waist measurement greater than 102 cm/40 inches, and women with waist measurement greater than 89 cm/35 inches, have higher risk of high blood pressure.
2. Regular Physical Activity
Strength training, walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, or even dancing for at least half an hour most days of the week, can reduce your blood pressure by 4-9 mm Hg. If you have prehypertension, regular exercise can help you prevent hypertension, and if you already have high levels of blood pressure, exercise can significantly reduce them. The most important thing is to be consistent!
3. DASH Diet
The DASH eating plan, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, is recommended for all hypertension patients to reduce their levels of blood pressure. It is consisted of large amounts of fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy products, and moderate amounts of fish, whole grains, nuts, and poultry. If you follow the DASH diet, you can help reduce your blood pressure levels by up to 14 mm Hg.
4. Lower Your Sodium Intake
If you reduce the sodium in your diet, you will actually lower your blood pressure levels by 2-8 mm Hg. Generally, it is recommended to limit your daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg.
5. Limit the Consumption of Alcohol
Even though low amounts of alcohol can help reduce your blood pressure by 2-4 mm Hg, drinking lots of alcohol can increase your blood pressure levels by several points. What’s more, excessive drinking can even reduce the effectiveness of hypertension medication.
6. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
If you are a habitual coffee drinker, caffeine has little to no strong effect on your levels of blood pressure. However, if you consume it rarely, it can indeed increase your blood pressure levels by up to 10 mm Hg.
Although this caffeine-blood pressure relation is still debated, it’s best if you check your blood pressure 30 minutes after consuming a caffeinated drink. If your levels of blood pressure rise by 5-10 mm Hg, you’re probably sensitive to the blood pressure increasing effects of caffeine.
7. Quit Smoking
Smoking raises your blood pressure, so quitting this unhealthy habit can help you normalize your blood pressure levels.
8. Manage Stress
Stress has huge effects on your blood pressure levels, especially chronic stress. Try to find what causes you to feel stressed, whether that’s finances, work, illness, family, etc., and learn how to cope with them in a healthier way.
You can achieve that by avoiding the people or things that bother you, accepting the things you can’t change, making a plan to solve your problems, practicing relaxing activities like yoga, expressing gratitude, etc.
9. Home Monitoring of Your Blood Pressure Levels
Get yourself a blood pressure monitor, which is available without a prescription, and check your blood pressure levels on a regular basis. This will help you see if the lifestyle changes you do are actually helping, as well alert you to potential health issues.
10. Get Support
As in any other health condition, support from your closest ones is very useful when it comes to treating high blood pressure. They can drive you to the doctor’s office, encourage to take care of yourself, or embark on a specific exercise program with you to maintain your levels of blood pressure low.
Joining a support group is also beneficial, as in this way you will not only get an emotional or morale boost, but also some practical tips from other hypertension sufferers.
Via Mayo Clinic