How to Reduce High Blood Pressure and Avoid White Coat Syndrome
What is High Blood Pressure or Hypertension?
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.”
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.
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.
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.