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Your 5-step plan to lower blood pressure naturally

Your 5-step plan to lower blood pressure naturally

Because high blood pressure can hurt your heart, take some basic steps to lower blood pressure naturally. If you have high blood pressure, you aren’t alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure (also called hypertension) or have lowered their blood pressure using medications.

High blood pressure can affect anyone of any age. While it’s more common among older adults, 25% of Americans between age 20 and 44 have hypertension. So, why does something that may not cause any symptoms matter? Read on learn how you can lower blood pressure naturally.

Why high blood pressure is such a big deal

What is blood pressure, anyhow? It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Blood pressure levels measure how much pressure your blood is putting on the body’s blood vessels.

When your blood pressure is normal, blood flows smoothly through your blood vessels. But when you have higher blood pressure, your blood moves with more force and can hit the walls of a blood vessel with a good bit of pressure. Over time, that force can damage the blood vessels.

“Normal” blood pressure is defined as a reading of 120/80 or lower. Your blood pressure includes two readings—the top number is your systolic pressure, which represents the pressure hitting artery walls when your heart beats. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, which represents the pressure hitting those walls between heartbeats.

High blood pressure is a health issue in and of itself, but it also increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease and a number of other health conditions.

5 (semi-easy) steps to reduce your blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, do you automatically need blood pressure medications to lower it into a healthy range? The short answer is no.

While medication may be prescribed if your blood pressure is dangerously high or remains high chronically, you can often lower your blood pressure by making some lifestyle changes. The first choice for treating high blood pressure is usually attempting to lower it without medication.

Unsure where to even begin? These five steps are a good start:

1. Tweak what you’re eating. Notice we didn’t say overhaul your diet! Making even a small number of changes to your diet can make a big impact, and you’re more likely to stick with small changes. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) method of eating calls for filling your plate with lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean protein sources. Include a couple servings of fatty fish like salmon in your diet each week for a dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Get moving. Any type of physical activity can lower your blood pressure and protect your heart. Do whatever workout you enjoy—any activity that gets your heart rate up is beneficial, whether that’s a brisk walk, a night out dancing or a rousing tennis match! Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

3. Aim to lose a few pounds. Talk with your medical provider about what a healthy weight looks like for you. Losing weight, even a few pounds, can make a big difference for your heart. Since carrying extra weight raises blood pressure, weight loss can lower it by making it easier for the heart to pump blood efficiently.

4. Watch out for sodium. We’d tell you to put down the saltshaker—and that’s still a good idea—but most sodium in our diets comes from processed foods. Watch labels carefully and choose items with less sodium in them, aiming for a max of 1500 mg per day. It’s also a good plan to reduce your added sugar and saturated fat intake, so watch the labels for those additives, too.

5. Drink up. And we’re talking water, not a cocktail! Hydration is important for every part of your body, and your heart is no exception. Drink water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated, which can help lower your blood pressure. Hate plain water? Liven it up with a sprig of mint, lemon slices or some crushed berries!

Wondering whether your ticker is ticking normally and in good health? Schedule an appointment with one of our heart and vascular specialists.