Maintaining healthy blood pressure is a crucial part of maintaining general health. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries to carry the blood from the heart to other areas of the body. This pressure is primarily a function of how hard the heart pumps and how much resistance to the blood flow the arteries are exerting. The narrowing of the arteries as a person gets older can cause an increase in resistance, as can certain lifestyle factors. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Due to these increased risks, a person with high blood pressure needs to work with their medical provider to learn how to lower their blood pressure
Tips for Lowering Your Blood Pressure
Over the years, the guidelines for blood pressure have evolved.
The current guidelines for healthy systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure are as follows:
- Normal blood pressure: 120/80
- Elevated blood pressure: 120 to 129/80 to 89
- High blood pressure stage one: 130 to 139/80 to 89
- High blood pressure stage two: 140/90 or higher
- Hypertensive crisis: Above 180/120
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Changing certain lifestyle habits, such as avoiding unhealthy food, limiting salt intake, incorporating moderate activity into your daily life, and avoiding cigarette smoking, can all have a positive impact on heart health and can lower your blood pressure.
Below, you'll find some tips that can decrease your risk for heart attack and help you naturally lower your blood pressure.
Patients with hypertension are encouraged to make important dietary changes. The effects of salt, fat, and sugar, can increase blood pressure. For many, the treatment of hypertension will also include nutrition counseling, which can teach patients how to make healthier food choices for hypertension control.
Annual Wellness Visits
Before you make any lifestyle changes, if you believe you have high blood pressure, your first step is to schedule a wellness visit with your provider. At a wellness visit, a provider will examine you, order routine blood work, and take your vitals. This is also an opportunity for you to discuss your health concerns. At this appointment, your provider can identify any health issues, such as high blood pressure, and help you formulate a personalized care plan that will include safe exercises, diet changes, and other ways you can lower your blood pressure. A provider can determine what level of activity is safe for you.
Increasing General Activity Levels
If your provider gave you the green light, you can increase your general level of activity. Traditional exercises are not the only way you can be more active. An increase in general activity can also help lower your blood pressure. Moderate exercise can include walking, gardening, and housework. It can also mean parking further away in the parking lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or making other small changes that can increase your normal activity level. Being more active means you’ll spend more time on your feet and less time sitting. Unfortunately, sitting has been associated with a variety of health issues, especially for those with desk jobs. Because of this, you must take strides to spend more time on your feet and limit the time you spend sitting at your desk or on the couch.
Increasing Aerobic Exercises
Exercises that involve repetitive motion, such as jogging, running, cycling, or swimming, can be effective in helping to lower your blood pressure. If your provider determined it was safe for you to exercise, you can incorporate a minimum of thirty minutes of brisk exercise a five times a week. Using tools such as fitness trackers or heart rate monitors can make it easier for you to see positive changes and set personal goals.
Weight training can temporarily increase blood pressure, however, the benefits that come with weight lifting are significant. Begin using less weight but higher repetitions. As you work out, you must pay close attention to your body and cut sets or reps if you feel like you’re at risk of injury or you feel overexerted.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure Often
It’s possible to learn how to take your own blood pressure using a traditional blood pressure cuff and stethoscope. Your provider can easily teach you how to do this. There are also electronic blood pressure cuffs that can make it easier to monitor your blood pressure, thanks to their automatic operation. However, electronic blood pressure cuffs are not always accurate and require regular recalibration. Because of this, learning how to manually take your blood pressure can be a more accurate way to monitor your BP. You can also visit your local pharmacy and use their blood pressure stations to take your BP once a week.
Commit to Regular Checkups
Seeing your provider regularly can be one of the best ways to monitor your progress and ensure your blood pressure stays in a healthy range. In some cases, a provider may recommend medication that can also help to lower your blood pressure. If you’re taking blood pressure medication, your provider will want to closely monitor your progress and adjust the medication, based on whether it has helped to bring your blood pressure down. They will also want to monitor for side effects, will monitor your weight if you are overweight or obese, and will continue to encourage you to make positive lifestyle changes that can help you naturally lower your blood pressure.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
A person’s family medical history and genetics can contribute to their risk of high blood pressure. However, a person’s lifestyle is the primary contributing factor. For example, if a person eats a diet that’s high in sodium and fat, they are obese, or they smoke, they are at a much higher risk of high blood pressure.
How High Blood Pressure is Diagnosed
At a wellness visit, the team at Altaire Clinic will provide a blood pressure screening. If a patient’s blood pressure has increased since their last visit, a provider may recommend additional testing at different times of the day. This can help determine if a patient’s BP is consistently high or if the effects of caffeine, stress or other factors impact their blood pressure. Advanced cardiovascular testing may be recommended to identify other health issues.
High Blood Pressure Treatment
At Altaire Clinic, we take an integrative and natural approach to blood pressure management. After a diagnosis of high blood pressure, we will work with a patient to help them implement important lifestyle changes that can reduce their blood pressure and enhance their health, using the least amount of antihypertensive medication.
For example, we can help a patient make important dietary changes, such as reducing their intake of foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat. A practitioner may also help a patient incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine, or recommend tobacco cessation services.
If natural therapies and lifestyle adjustments are not enough to lower a patient’s blood pressure, a practitioner may adjust or prescribe new medications to regulate blood pressure. Ideally, a patient will continue to make important lifestyle changes so they can get to a point where they no longer have to rely on medication.
Contact Altaire Clinic Today to Schedule a Consult
If you’re concerned about high blood pressure, contact Altaire Clinic today to schedule a consultation. If you have already been diagnosed with hypertension and you’re currently taking medication, we can help you lower your blood pressure and assess your medication regimen to determine if any changes are needed. Contact our facility today and let us help you make positive changes that can help you on your path to wellness.