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Doctor taking a man's blood pressure

Simple, Everyday Changes You Can Make To Lower Your Blood Pressure

Tips for Treating Hypertension

Maybe you smoke, eat a bit too much salt or don’t get as much exercise as you should. Or maybe your doctor has told you that your blood pressure’s a bit high despite all the efforts you’ve made to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. The causes of hypertension aren’t always clear or easily identified, but either way, you’re going to have to find out how to lower high blood pressure.

First, a few basics about high blood pressure: there are two types. The first is called essential hypertension, and it is diagnosed when the exact cause cannot be pinpointed. Secondary hypertension is the other type, and it is caused by a specific aggravating factor, such as an underlying medical condition or side effects from medications. Blood pressure is measured as a ratio of your systolic rate (when your heart pushes blood out) and your diastolic rate (when your heart fills with blood between beats). Normal blood pressure is 120/80. If a blood pressure monitor returns a reading beyond 140/90, you will have to take steps to reduce it, though it’s advisable that you aim to keep it as close to the ideal rate as possible even if it’s just over a little bit.

Note that there are usually no high blood pressure symptoms, so be sure to get checked regularly. If your doctor returns a high reading on two or more occasions, you should seek treatment.

How to Lower High Blood Pressure

While your doctor can prescribe medicine that will bring your blood pressure down, you should start by making lifestyle changes:

  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Exercise regularly. Work your way up to getting 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three to four days per week.
  • Stop using tobacco. If you’re wondering how to quit smoking, your doctor can help you.
  • Lower your salt intake.
  • Use alcohol only in moderation.
  • Limit the amount of fat and cholesterol in your diet.

You can get a digital blood pressure monitor for home use to track your progress. When you see the numbers starting to fall, you’ll know your efforts are having a positive effect. Keep it up until you get as close to 120/80 as you can!