In this St. Barnabas Health System blog, we’re exploring three high blood pressure treatment options that don’t include medication.
In case you need a quick refresher on high blood pressure, it’s a common disease in which blood flows through the arteries (blood vessels) at above normal pressures.
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers, the first is systolic blood pressure and this represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number that’s measured is diastolic blood pressure. This number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart rests and beats.
Millimeters of mercury (mm HG) are used to measure blood pressure.
- Normal – 120/80 mm HG
- High – more than 140/90 mm HG
- At risk – people with a reading of 139/89 mm HG may have a condition called prehypertension and are at high risk for developing the condition.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, don’t panic. There are ways to bring your numbers down without having to take a daily medication and in this blog we’re sharing three of them.
Regular exercise – at least 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. Consistency when it comes to physical activity is imperative in lowering levels. Once you stop a consistent workout routine, your blood pressure will likely increase.
Here are a few examples of the exercise to consider incorporating into your daily regimen:
- Strength training
Though just suggestions, you want to find an activity that you can commit to and that you enjoy. Make exercise fun and less of a chore and you’ll be more likely to stick to a schedule. Be sure to consult your primary care physician prior to starting a new exercise routine.
As weight increases, so too will blood pressure. Losing weight is perhaps one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure. Losing just 10 pounds has shown to reduce and/or prevent high blood pressure.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a major risk factor of high blood pressure is carrying too much weight around your waist.
- Women are at risk if their waist measures more than 35 inches.
- Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches.
It’s important to note that these figures are not the same for all people. They are subject to change based on ethnicity. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss possible solutions and lifestyle changes to lose weight and lower blood pressure.
Reduce salt intake
Decreasing sodium in your diet is a viable way to reduce blood pressure. The recommended daily allotment of salt is 2,300 milligrams (mg) which is equivalent to about one teaspoon of salt. Here are a few ways to keep your salt consumption in check:
- Pay attention to food labels – When possible, take a moment to scan the food label and opt for the low or reduced-sodium varieties of the food you normally buy.
- Remove the salt shaker – Avoid adding extra salt to dishes.
- Reduce the consumption of processed foods – Sodium is added during processing in order to preserve the foods. If possible, make a conscious effort to avoid eating processed foods on a regular basis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Schedule an appointment with you primary care physician to have your blood pressure tested.