Different Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

by Emily McBride
(last updated October 1, 2009)

The tricky thing about high blood pressure is that you won't know it's a problem unless you have tested your blood pressure recently. Before you even do anything about blood pressure, you should first get it checked. However, once is not enough. Check it regularly to see how you're doing. If you are going in for a doctor's appointment, your blood pressure will get checked most of the time. Ask the nurse or doctor what your blood pressure is. You should get your blood pressure checked at least every two years once you are 18, and more often if you have high blood pressure and you're trying to lower it.

The nice thing about checking your blood pressure is that you can do it just about anywhere—grocery stores, drug stores, or health clinics. If you have high blood pressure, consider buying an inexpensive cuff and pump that you can use on your own at home. Make sure that you read the instructions, and if you are still confused, ask your doctor for help.

The disease stages are as follows: Normal is less than 120/80, Prehypertension is 120/80 to 139/89, Stage 1 Hypertension is 140/90 to 159/99, and Stage 2 Hypertension is 160/100 or higher. Now that you know if you have high blood pressure, here are some tips on how to lower it:

  • Avoid salty foods. The American diet is overloaded with salt. If you need to lower your blood pressure, try only eating 1,500 mg of sodium a day. Don't salt your food at the dinner table. Make homemade meals whenever possible because packaged and processed food often contain a lot of extra salt.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. This step is self-explanatory, but very important. Eat a well-balanced diet and get enough exercise. Calculate your BMI to get an approximate idea of if you are at a healthy weight or not. Not only is it important to not have too much excess weight, but you can also lower your blood pressure by getting enough exercise and healthy eating.
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol. Smoking is obviously dangerous for your health, and it is harmful to your blood pressure as well. Also limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day for women, and two for men.

High blood pressure is something to take seriously because it can add stress on your heart and is the number one preventable risk factor for strokes. Other consequences are heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, kidney disease, and even blindness in some cases. Make sure to get your blood pressure under control!

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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