7 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure
July 6, 2022
If you don’t like your blood pressure numbers – you’re not alone. More than 34% of adults in Georgia suffer from high blood pressure. And the problem affects people of all ages.
Uncontrolled blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, makes it more likely that you will develop heart failure, and can cause kidney damage or pain.
So, if your blood pressure is over 140/90, you may need prescription medicine to keep it under control. But many people can control their blood pressure by doing seven simple things:
- Eat healthy
A program called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is an effective way to manage and lower blood pressure. The program is simple – eat more:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- High-protein foods, like unsalted nuts
- Foods high in potassium and magnesium, like leafy greens or beans
- Calcium-rich foods, like yogurt
And, cut back on:
- High-fat foods
- Processed foods
- Cut back on salt
It’s a prime offender in raising blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends people consume less than 1,500 milligrams, about two-thirds of a teaspoon, a day. Check the labels on packaged foods to see how much salt they contain – or better yet, cook and eat at home. About 77% of your salt intake comes from eating out and packaged foods.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least half an hour of exercise most days of the week. Not only is that good for your blood pressure – exercise is good for your mental health too! And all physical activity that increases your heart rate counts, including walking, dancing, gardening, or riding a bike.
- Lose weight
Typically, you lower your systolic blood pressure (the first number in your blood pressure results) by five to 20 points for every 20 pounds you lose. If you’re overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can help lower blood pressure. Ideally, you want your body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Reduce stress
Lowering stress helps keep your blood pressure normal. Try meditation or exercises like yoga. Studies show that listening to music can relieve stress. So can sitting in the sun.
- Quit smoking
Your blood pressure increases every time you have a cigarette. Lower your blood pressure and prolong your life by quitting. If you need help getting started, talk to your doctor.
- Get sound sleep
Your blood pressure goes down when you’re asleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your blood pressure stays high. To get a good night’s sleep, stick to a regular schedule, exercise early in the day, and don’t have anything to eat or drink too close to bedtime.
Get the Care You Need
To check on your blood pressure, visit your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Grady can help. If you need a primary care physician, call us at (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.