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How to Reduce High Blood Pressure and Avoid White Coat Syndrome

Updated on November 2, 2018
Mr Bueno profile image

Mr Bueno has spent forty years observing the tragic effects of both high blood pressure and heart disease among his family.

What is High Blood Pressure or Hypertension?

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Are There Alternatives to Medication to Reduce High Blood Pressure?

Whilst medication can be effective in reducing high blood pressure, and if your doctor has prescribed a course of blood pressure medication, it is strongly recommend you continue taking them, there are simple everyday actions you can take to significantly reduce your blood pressure without medication, thereby reducing your chance of an early death and avoiding the sometimes unpleasant side-effects of medication.

First of all, it’s important to make sure you are getting an accurate reading of your blood pressure levels and the only way to do this effectively is regular home testing. Doctors recommend that you use a blood pressure monitor with a cuff that slips around the upper arm for the most accurate reading. Wrist cuff monitors don’t provide the accuracy or consistency of a professional type upper arm cuff monitor.

Why is Home Testing often Considered More Effective than only Testing by a Health Professional?

Whilst visiting your doctor regularly and having your blood pressure levels checked is essential for those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it may well be that the readings that are taken at the surgery are artificially high due to what is known as “white coat syndrome,” “white coat effect,” or “white coat hypertension.”

Just the thought of visiting a health professional can send some individuals heart rate and blood pressure soaring
Just the thought of visiting a health professional can send some individuals heart rate and blood pressure soaring | Source

White coat syndrome occurs when an individual becomes nervous and tense during a visit to the doctors, thus artificially raising their blood pressure levels, meaning that the reading given at the surgery is not a true reflection of their everyday average blood pressure.

To overcome this, many doctors recommend home testing of blood pressure levels a number of times a day over a course of several weeks or months to gain a true average reading and also to track the progress of attempts to get high blood pressure under control and lowered over a course of time.

In the past, home testing of blood pressure was a more difficult process and the equipment required was quite bulky and not quite as user friendly and keeping a check on blood pressure levels whilst on the go was next to impossible. All that has changed with the introduction of electronic devices with digital displays and arm cuffs you can wear whilst at home, work or in the gym.

Doctors recommend easy to use and wear blood pressure monitors, such as the simple to use Omron M2 Basic Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor which is found in many doctors surgeries and easily slips onto the arm and gives a near instant reading at the touch of a button on its large, easy to read digital display.

TheOmron M2 Basic Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor is ideal for home blood pressure testing. For those who also want to keep track of their blood pressure levels on the go there are options such as the OMRON EVOLV All-In-One, Wireless, Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor which can be worn like a sleeve on the upper arm.

I have used both of these devices to great success in helping me track by blood pressure over a period of time and gradually reduce my readings from an original state of hypertensive crisis, to a safe and stable blood pressure level

There are many other similar products available on the market at the moment but you need to be aware that blood pressure monitors with upper arm cuffs are preferred by professionals, wrist monitors just don’t cut it, and it is always wise to look for products that are endorsed by the FDA or your own national professional public health bodies.

Whilst getting the right product is essential for accurate readings, it is also essential to make sure you are using the equipment correctly, so take a few minutes to watch the video below on how to make sure your blood pressure readings are as accurate as possible.

How to take an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading with a Blood Pressure Monitor Cuff

Ok, so now we have the tool for tracking your blood pressure sewn up, let’s explore the simple steps you can make to start reducing your blood pressure so you can see the results yourself on your blood pressure monitor.

Reducing Your Blood Pressure Naturally

Once again, we state here that if you have been prescribed a course of blood pressure reducing medication, you should continue the course for as long as is necessary. For some this could be a lifetime script but for many people, including the following tips in your daily routines will not only bring your blood pressure under control, but will also provide a whole host of other benefits, some of which we will relay to you here, to help you understand the full benefits of your journey to a lower blood pressure and a happy, healthier, longer life. So, let’s start our journey straight away and begin your plan to reduced blood pressure with these simple steps.

(Please note: You may need to make adjustments to some of these tips to take account of personal physical limitations or dietary requirements. If you are unsure, consult your doctor)

Step 1: Reduce the amount of salt in your diet

Whilst this may seem like the most simple step here, as the first thing you can do is stop coating your meals with mounds of salt, many foods are packed full of hidden salt. Always read the ingredients on whatever food you are purchasing and where possible always go for fresh veg and fruit.

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Step 2 : Exercise regularly

Some experts believe that regular exercise can be more effective than medication for reducing blood pressure for many individuals. The key is to get your exercise routine right and do it in a way that is right for you and avoid the possible dangerous extreme exercise regimes some so called experts suggest may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Gentle, little and often is the best way to start out.

Step 3 : Reduce your weight or keep to a healthy weight

Crash diets are unhealthy and can end up putting more of a strain on your heart and playing havoc with your blood pressure. The goal is to find your ideal weight and slowly move towards it. Following all the simple steps we give you here to reduce your blood pressure will help you do just that in a structured way. Some people may lose weight more quickly than others. It is not a race, work towards your goals in your own unique ways.

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Step 4 : Eat a balanced diet

Eating a balanced diet will not only help you reduce your blood pressure. There are many other benefits associated with a balanced diet including increased energy, improved mood and improved sleep amongst many others.

Step 5 : If you drink too much alcohol, cut down

Drinking too much alcohol is a major cause of high blood pressure. But it isn’t only your blood pressure that suffers from excess alcohol consumption, excess alcohol negatively affects your heart, kidneys, liver and just about every part of your body.

Step 6 : Stop smoking

The best advice is to stop smoking completely. However, if the lack of nicotine is more than you can stand, consider switching to vaping using a low to medium nicotine e-liquid.

Step 7 : Measure blood pressure regularly using an accurate recommended blood pressure monitor and keep a track of your progress using a blood pressure diary

Some blood pressure monitors have a memory function that can work similar to a diary, but nothing beats a hand written journal detailing your successes and failures along your route to a lower blood pressure.

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    • profile image

      RTalloni 

      19 months ago

      Yes, it is true that when on medication for those conditions certain foods need to be avoided. Our goal is avoiding the medication! When docs have hinted that we might be going that direction we doubled up on using food as our prescription, sometimes to their dismay.

    • Mr Bueno profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Bueno 

      19 months ago from Cambridge, UK

      Hello RTallioni, glad you think the article is of use and you have found a diet that helps keep your blood pressure at the right level. Flax seed has many amazing benefits and so does grapefruit too. Those who are taking medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression, however, should be aware that eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice could be dangerous. When in doubt, ask a doctor and you can find more information here.... https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/gra...

    • Mr Bueno profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Bueno 

      19 months ago from Cambridge, UK

      Thanks Cecil. You're right, for many people it's taking all or a number of these strategies and applying them daily. All too often people try just one of the strategies and get disheartened if they don't get quick results. The key is to integrate as many of the strategies as you can, permanently, and reap the results over the long period.

    • profile image

      RTalloni 

      19 months ago

      Useful info here for anyone facing high blood pressure. We have found that including a half grapefruit per day and 2 tablespoons ground flax seed in our healthy diet does a marvelous job of helping keep our blood pressure low.

    • SgtCecil profile image

      Cecil Kenmill 

      19 months ago from Osaka, Japan

      Excellent article. Good info. If we did at least a few of these we'd all live a decade longer.

    • Mr Bueno profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Bueno 

      19 months ago from Cambridge, UK

      Hello Paula, thank you, I'm glad you found this article of use. I hope you will find my forthcoming articles on similar topics just as useful

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      19 months ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      Mr. Bueno.....Excellent, well-researched article that I believe is a must read for those troubled with high blood pressure. This has been very helpful to me personally. Thank you. I am always hoping to learn how I might best control a health issue without resorting to yet another Rx! Thus, I read health-related articles/books and do as much research on the latest trials and findings, as I can, in addition to working with my Drs.

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