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How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Meds

Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC - Blogs
By Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACCBoard-certified cardiologistFebruary 24, 2017
From the WebMD Archives

If you have high blood pressure (readings persistently over 140/90 mmHg), the most important thing you can do is eliminate the factors in your lifestyle that are driving your BP northward. Eliminate those and you might avoid the need for medications, or at least reduce the amounts required to control your readings. Here’s how lifestyle changes can impact your blood pressure:

Losing weight -- 5-20 mmHg decrease per 20 lbs weight lost

Eating a healthy diet -- 8-14 mmHg decrease

Reducing sodium -- 2-8 mmHg decrease

Regular physical activity -- 4-9 mmHg decrease

Reducing alcohol consumption -- 2-4 mmHg decrease

Put all these together and you can realize anywhere from a 20 to 55 mmHg drop on your own. That’s the same kind of result you’d get from being on a bunch of medications!

Eating right should be a cornerstone of your efforts, since diet affects so many of the other factors that impact your blood pressure readings. And because sodium is so hard to avoid, you’ll need to be especially diligent in this area. One easy way to reduce sodium intake: Eat an apple or other piece of fruit or some raw vegetables before you dig into anything else you might have for lunch or dinner. You might then just have a few fewer bites of your pizza or higher sodium entrée. No, it’s not a perfect plan, but it’s simple – and over time, can represent a significant sodium reduction (while improving overall dietary quality and helping you lose weight).

And even if your blood pressure readings are only “borderline” or “mildly abnormal” right now, it’s still very important to make these lifestyle changes. Taking steps to lower your readings now can keep your blood pressure problem from progressing into something more dangerous.

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About the Author
Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC

Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist and founder of Preventive Cardiology Consultants in Minneapolis. Her professional interests include noninvasive cardiac imaging and valvular heart disease, but her true passion is heart disease prevention.

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