A List of the Best Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can lead to complications such as a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease. When you have high blood pressure, the best ways to lower your blood pressure include measures that make you feel good and look good. In addition to taking the medications that your doctor orders and getting regular screenings for high blood pressure, there are changes that you might need to make in order to protect your overall health.

Medication

Your doctor might order one or more medications to help control your blood pressure. According to the Family Doctor website, there are different types of medicines for high blood pressure including diuretics, beta blockers, alpha blockers, ACE inhibitors and others. They have different mechanisms of action. You will need to take these medications regularly and report any side effects to your doctor. Stopping medication for high blood pressure can lead to serious complications like a heart attack or a stroke. You should not stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first.

DASH Diet

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends that you follow a DASH diet, or “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” This diet includes eating more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy food. It recommends foods lower in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol. According to the DASH diet, good foods to eat include whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. You should reduce the amount of fats, red meats, sweets and sugary beverages you consume. Most people’s blood pressure is affected by a high amount of sodium in their diet. Decrease the amount of sodium you eat by cutting back on salt and processed foods.

Lose Weight If Necessary

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines overweight using body mass index. This is a special calculation to assess the amount of body fat you have using your height and weight. Being overweight includes a BMI of 25 to 29.9; obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more.Obesity increases your risk for blood pressure. The American Heart Association states that if you lose 10 pounds or more it can lower your blood pressure. Concentrate on increasing your physical activity and eating healthier.

Be Active and Exercise

Exercise can help lower your blood pressure, help you lose weight and help with reducing stress. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days each week. Some examples of moderate exercise are walking, biking or swimming. If you are older than 50, have heart trouble or a family history of heart disease, you should ask your doctor about an appropriate exercise program for you.

Get Rid of Bad Habits

Smoking and drinking too much alcohol can contribute to poor health overall, while it can also affect your cardiovascular health. If you drink, you should only have one drink a day if you are a male and two a day if you are a female. Smoking temporarily raises blood pressure and it contributes to your risk of having a heart attack.

About this Author

Melissa Angela Lopez has a master’s in public health with a specialization in community health education. She is also a registered nurse. She has worked in the health field for more than 15 years and has a special interest in wellness and promotion of women’s health.