Lowering Your Blood Pressure

by Trudy Despain
(last updated March 13, 2012)

Remember Yosemite Sam getting so frustrated and angry with Bugs Bunny that he finally has steam spewing from his ears like geysers and his face turning the color of a red pepper? Yosemite Sam is a textbook case for high blood pressure issues. The stress level in his life caused by that long-haired trouble maker has nearly pushed him to the edge of sanity.

Yosemite Sam's high blood pressure issues are solved when the episode ends. But for one out of three Americans, high blood pressure is a concern. If you are one of those statistics, your doctor may choose to put you on medications to avoid complications from dangerously high blood pressure. But medications, with their side effects and cost, are not the end of the road. There are things you can do to eventually control your blood pressure and eliminate the need for medications.

The amount of weight a person carries around his or her waistline has a strong correlation to high blood pressure. Even a weight loss of ten pounds can have a dramatic effect on blood pressure. Your doctor can help you determine a target weight and how to best achieve the desired results.

Tobacco use is so destructive to a person's health that it is no surprise to find that it is linked to high blood pressure. Quitting tobacco is one of the most difficult physical challenges most people face. Tobacco is as addictive as heroin. Prison inmates, whose access to tobacco and drugs is cut off immediately lat the time of incarceration, have overcome their heroin addiction but still crave tobacco. On average, it takes seven attempts to quit tobacco before success is achieved. If you have tried to quit in the past but found it too difficult, seek assistance through support groups. Local health departments usually offer free or low-cost cessation programs. You can also ask your doctor for help. He can prescribe patches and medications that will help you kick the habit.

Chronic stress is also a contributing factor to high blood pressure. Like Yosemite Sam, we all have moments when our blood boils from pressure and stress. Eliminating stressors is the best remedy but for most of us, that isn't an option. Instead, we need to learn to handle it in the most positive way we can. Breathing techniques, yoga, meditation and mental imagery are all excellent stress relievers.

Getting control of high blood pressure won't happen overnight. It usually requires an assault on multiple fronts and assistance from your doctor. By doing the work to lower your blood pressure you are reducing your risk for more serious health problems down the road like heart disease and stroke.

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