Sure, you might find some comfort knowing you’re not alone with your high blood pressure, seeing as how nearly half of adults (47%) in the United States are in the same boat. We’d prefer that you get out of the boat altogether and find dry land when it comes to your blood pressure.
To that end, our team here at LaSante Health Center, which includes cardiology experts, is focusing on four of the most effective techniques for lowering blood pressure — and none rely on medications.
Here’s a look at why we want you to lower your blood pressure and how to take those steps.
Understanding your blood pressure
When we take your blood pressure reading, we measure two things:
- The pressure on the walls of your blood vessels during a heartbeat (systolic)
- The pressure between heartbeats (diastolic)
Any reading that’s at or above 130/80 is considered high blood pressure.
The primary reason we’re concerned about high blood pressure is that the force of the blood on the walls of your blood vessels can lead to serious complications over time, including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Eye problems
- Sexual dysfunction
While we’ve been throwing a few numbers at you, the one that we’re most concerned with (outside the overall prevalence of hypertension) is that only 1 in 4 people with high blood pressure have the problem under control. Our aim is to change that.
Lowering your blood pressure in four steps
There are medications you can take to control blood pressure, but you want a more natural approach, and we appreciate that decision. In fact, the four steps that we outline here will improve almost every area of your health, so these are steps well worth taking.
First, we want you to pay attention to your diet and get on board with the DASH diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension.
This diet focuses on healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and grains. As important, you need to eliminate certain foods from your diet, namely those that are high in sugar, saturated fat, and salt.
For a more detailed look at the DASH diet, we suggest you start here.
If you have high blood pressure, it’s imperative that you get up and move more. We live in a city that’s made for walking, so we suggest that you get at least 30 minutes a day of this type of aerobic exercise.
Walking, running, climbing up stairs — these are all great ways to get your heart rate up and your blood pressure down.
Reduce stress and get some sleep
There’s no shortage of stress in the world these days, as well as things to keep you up at night, but sleeping well and finding ways to relax are crucial for heart health.
Some techniques for accomplishing both are practices such as yoga, which relaxes the muscle tension in your body to help you sleep better. Or try a nice walk in the park with a friend, which can relieve stress and set you up for better sleep.
Deep breathing, meditation, turning off your screens — these are also ways to reduce stress and relax.
Lose a little weight
If you follow our first two tips, this last one should follow. Studies show that losing just 5-10% of your overall body weight can have significant health benefits, including lowering your blood pressure.
We know that these suggestions — eat healthy, exercise more, and lose weight — are easier said than done, but we’re here to help. We can create a manageable and individualized plan that helps you make these heart-healthy changes. And we can monitor you along the way to keep you on the right track.
To get on the road to healthier blood pressure numbers, please contact our clinic in Brooklyn, New York. We serve the Flatbush and East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Little Haiti, Little Caribbean, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens communities.