How to Lower Blood Pressure | Whittier, CA | PIH Health

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Published on February 28, 2022

How to Lower Blood Pressure

Photo of a doctor measuring her patient's blood pressure in an examination roomHigh blood pressure, also called hypertension, can increase your risk of developing serious health issues if it is not well controlled. It raises your risk of heart attack and stroke. It can also contribute to kidney failure, eye problems and even erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, it’s easy to know if your blood pressure is high. A quick and simple test performed at the doctor’s office is all that’s needed. You can even measure your blood pressure at home.

What is considered “high” blood pressure?

Before knowing how to lower blood pressure, it’s helpful to know what’s considered normal or high.

CATEGORY

SYSTOLIC (TOP #)

AND/OR

DIASTOLIC (BOTTOM #)

Normal

Less than 120

and

Less than 80

Elevated

120-129

and

Less than 80

Hypertension Stage 1

130-139

or

80-89

Hypertension Stage 2

140 or higher

or

90 or higher

What can you do?

“Fortunately, patients often have some control over the factors that contribute to high blood pressure,” says Grace Jae MD, a family medicine physician for PIH Health. “Whether you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or want to avoid it, there are habits that patients can incorporate into their healthy lifestyle to help lower their blood pressure or even delay or reduce their need for medication.”

Here are 10 ways to help lower your blood pressure:

  1. Lose weight. One of the most effective ways of lowering blood pressure is to lose weight. If you’re overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight can help.
  2. Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity, such as walking, swimming or cycling. Strength training also helps so try to do that at least twice a week.
  3. Reduce sodium. Limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day (some doctors recommend 1,500 mg or less). Most sodium in people’s diets comes from processed and restaurant foods. Read labels, choose low-sodium options and season with herbs and spices instead of salt.
  4. Eat healthy. Consume less saturated fat and cholesterol, too. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat protein and dairy helps you lose weight and lower blood pressure.
  5. Manage stress. Finding ways to reduce stress may help you keep blood pressure under control and is good for your physical and mental health in many other ways.
  6. Address sleep issues. If you snore or wake up feeling unrested, talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested for sleep apnea, which can increase blood pressure.
  7. Quit smoking. Kick the habit and you’re likely to see a reduction in your blood pressure. Plus, you’ll also improve your heart health in other ways.
  8. Lower alcohol consumption. Although drinking alcohol in moderation (1 drink a day for women or 2 for men) may lower blood pressure slightly, drinking any more than this can increase it.
  9. Limit caffeine. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you are, your blood pressure may go down if you have less of it.
  10. Take medication as directed. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower blood pressure on their own, follow the directions of your doctor and take prescribed medications regularly.

If you are looking for physician in your area to help you keep your blood pressure under control, visit PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor.

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