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How to Lower Blood Pressure Without Medication

Updated on October 12, 2011
http://www.flickr.com/photos/topgold
http://www.flickr.com/photos/topgold

Why I Care

I typically do not divulge this information to people who do not already know, but I just turned...30. It wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be. Heck, I still feel as young as ever and I can keep up with most of the teenagers in my neighborhood. Since I have three small kids I need to make sure I can still sprint to catch one before she runs into the road, to then turn around and dive to catch the softball another one lobbed at her sister's head. Even at my age, I feel great. That is why I was in shock to hear my doctor tell me I need to watch my blood pressure.

The Appointment

My doctor takes my blood pressure at every appointment, as I'm sure is standard procedure with most doctors. Usually doc tells me my blood pressure is fine and I'm doing a great job with it. However, at an appointment a few months ago, she told me to schedule another appointment to have my blood pressure checked again because it was higher than normal. I was in shock and never made it to the next appointment. I did not want to take anymore medication and I was not ready to hear that it was necessary. Instead of the appointment, I went online and searched everywhere for methods to lower blood pressure without medication.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxicombina
http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxicombina

The Research

Before you read any further, I need to tell you that if your doctor says you need the medication, take it. Unfortunately, high blood pressure increases your chances for stroke, impaired vision, atherosclerosis (hardened arteries), kidney damage, heart attacks, and congestive heart failure. While you are taking the medication, you can implement a healthy lifestyle to lower your blood pressure and perhaps stop the medication later on. Below are the best lifestyle changes you can take to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range or to lower it back to a healthy range.

The first lifestyle change is to eat healthier. What you eat has a huge impact on your blood pressure. Sodium, cholesterol, fat, red meats, and sweets all have the potential for increasing your blood pressure. Dieticians recommend a diet high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts. Although nuts get a bad rap for being high in fat, they are also an excellent source of protein and most of the fat content is unsaturated, meaning it's actually good for you. Yale - New Haven Hospital published a report stating that nuts are great for healthy skin and hair, for blood pressure control, for immune response, and for blood clotting. Eating healthier does not need to be difficult. Simply change menu items to reflect low-or no-sodium options, choose whole grains and natural foods, and choose lean cuts of fish and poultry. You can also substitute ingredients in recipes to make them healthier. I started using egg whites instead of eggs, light mayo instead of regular, and nonfat yogurt instead of buttermilk or sour cream. I also remove the skin from poultry and replace ground beef with ground chicken or ground turkey.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/superfantastic/1807159814/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superfantastic/1807159814/

The second lifestyle change is to maintain your ideal weight. As your weight increases, your blood pressure increases. If you need to lose weight you can set small, healthy goals and reward yourself as you reach each goal. But don't reward yourself with food! If you start eating healthier per step one, weight loss is bound to occur. You can easily get two birds with one stone, as the old saying goes.

The third lifestyle change is to get up and move. You can start out as slow as necessary and work your way up to at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. And no need to worry, those 30 minutes a day can even be broken up into 3 10-minute workouts a day. Some ideas for squeezing in extra physical activity include taking the stairs at work, parking as far away from buildings as you can to walk more, and working in your yard or garden.

The fourth lifestyle change is to limit alcohol. I know this one may be a little rough for some of us, but alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories that increase your weight. Not as good thing if you are trying to lose weight and eat healthier. If you are going to drink, it is best to do it in moderation. The National Heart Lung and Blood Association recommends no more than one drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/xurble
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xurble

The fifth lifestyle change is to quit smoking. Smoking speeds up the hardening of the arteries that may be caused by high blood pressure and just compounds the problem. Of course, there are many other reasons to quit smoking including the risk of lung cancer and emphysema.

No matter the method you choose to control your high blood pressure, make sure you speak about it with your doctor. Some methods may work well for one person and not the next. With the risks involved, I would not recommend playing the guessing game.

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    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi RT :) I'd rather people stay healthy by using proactive health rather than reactive care. I think it's a lot cheaper to stay fit, eat right, and check your numbers than it is to constantly buy the meds to take care of those elevated numbers. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Good tips on getting to and maintaining healthy blood pressure. Taking care of ourselves is a responsibility we shouldn't take lightly. Reminders that encourage a healthy lifestyle help keep people on track. :)

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi there Pcc, I actually have heard of white coat syndrome! Its something I have in common with Tracey. I didn't get it or know what it was until I went through tens of tests, some very painful, to diagnose my chiari. Now I am terrified I will be sent for more tests or I will get another bad diagnosis...so my blood pressure jumps and I get jittery just thinking about going to the doctor! Your BP is very good so you have nothing to worry about :) thanks for stopping in!

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 6 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Ardie...well put together hub. Have you heard of 'white coat syndrome'? Tracey has this. Every time she goes to Dr she has to have her blood pressure taken about 4 or 5 times over 10 to 15 mins. Gradually as she relaxes it starts to come down. Don't have that problem.Had mine checked Friday 130 over 70.

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Thank you VideoGV :) I prefer a natural approach to being healthy too. Otherwise you take meds to counteract unwanted effects of other meds and its a messy cycle. Thanks for reading!

    • videogameviking profile image

      videogameviking 6 years ago from California

      Nice article! Also, a pomegranate is great for the heart, and can even lower blood pressure. I definitely prefer natural remedies to medication.

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Thanks jenubouka! Im sorry for your beloved but so glad you guys found out before medication was needed. I started the South Beach Diet with my honey 4 months ago because we both have family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It's amazing what changing your diet can do for your health and numbers. I wish your beloved the best.

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      great info here ardie, My beloved has high blood pressure thankfully not on meds yet, will defiantly utilize this hub!

    • franciaonline profile image

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Ardie,

      Very interesting and helpful for someone like me who is older than you and should therefore watch my weight and blood pressure. I love this thing you said about nuts for their unsaturated fat. I'll go for them again.

      Thanks for this informative hub....Francia

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      very healthy info

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