Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
Tips to lower blood pressure without medication.
Why this topic?
General information about blood pressure. . .
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood against the blood vessel walls. A normal reading is less than 120 over 80 (120/80). A reading of 120-139 over 80-89 is prehypertenstion. Stage 1 high blood pressure is a reading of 140-159 over 90-99 and stage 2 is 160 and higher over 100 and higher.
Many factors contribute to high blood pressure such as smoking, weight, lack of activity, diet, stress, age, certain diseases and disorders, genetics and family history of high blood pressure.
10 lifestyle changes
According to the Mayo Clinic here are 10 lifestyle changes we can make to lower blood pressure.
- Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline. We all know losing weight is an important factor in maintaining a healthy life but where we carry this weight is just as important. Weight around the waistline increases the risk of high blood pressure. In my family, weight around the middle is a big issue (pun intended)!
- Regular exercise. 30 to 60 minutes most days can make a difference in lowering and maintaining a normal pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet. Follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. More information below.
- Reduce sodium. 2300mg a day or less or 1500 mg or less a day for those for those 51 and older, or those with high blood pressure.
- Limit alcohol consumption. A small amount of alcohol may have benefits but the protective effect is lost if consumption is too great.
- Avoid tobacco products and second hand smoke. Nicotine can raise blood pressure for up to an hour after smoking.
- Cut back caffeine. Caffeinated beverages can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure.
- Reduce stress. Determine what is causing the stress and find ways to eliminate or reduce that stress. Easier said than done! Find methods to help cope with the stress when the stress inducer cannot be eliminated. Don't turn to alcohol or unhealthy eating habits though!
- Monitor blood pressure and make regular doctor's appointments. Monitor blood pressure at home. Find a good quality self-monitor and track your readings. I found a great FREE app called BP Companion. I can enter my readings, track my weight and enter notes about that record. It creates graphs and charts and keeps track of my highs, lows and averages. Give me a gadget and it makes tracking much more fun!
- Get support from family and friends. Everything is easier when you have a good support system. In my case, family support is extremely important. Since we have a family history of high blood pressure, it is important for us to share information about what has and hasn't worked for us. It is important for us to be aware of the risk factors in our family so we can help the children in our family be aware of what they can do to keep themselves healthy and maybe keep them from having to be medicated.
Research conducted at American University in Washington suggests meditation may provide cardiovascular and mental-health benefits. Participants practiced transcendental medication 20 minutes once or twice a day over three months a subgroup who were at increased risk for hypertension, significantly lowered their blood pressure as well as psychological distress.
It is important to find a type of meditation that you like. If it isn't your style, you won't use it! We have been incorporating meditation in class. This is a great way to explore different types and find what works best for you. For me, gentle beach sounds and wind chimes works!