You don’t always need prescription medications to lower your blood pressure. By making these 10 lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
If you have high blood pressure, the Mayo Clinic says there are a number of ways to treat it. And you may be able to do it without medication. Or if medication is still needed, a reduced amount may do the job.
“If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure (a systolic pressure — the top number — of 140 or above or a diastolic pressure — the bottom number — of 90 or above), you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down.”
Before you go for a prescription, consider these ideas for lowering blood pressure without medication. If you have some extra weight that you should lose, dropping those pounds can make a dent in your blood pressure. Regular exercise can make a difference as well.
Too much alcohol or caffeine may contribute to high blood pressure. If you smoke, you should quit. Stress can make your blood pressure rise. It’s never too late to find better ways of dealing with stress.
10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure (a systolic pressure — the top number — of 140 or above or a diastolic pressure — the bottom number — of 90 or above), you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down.
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.
1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. In general, the more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure. Losing weight also makes any blood pressure medications you’re taking more effective. You and your doctor can determine your target weight and the best way to achieve it.
Besides shedding pounds, you should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure. In general:
* Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters, or cm).
* Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88 cm).
* Asian men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 36 inches (90 cm).
* Asian women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 32 inches (80 cm).
2. Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity — at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). And it doesn’t take long to see a difference. If you haven’t been active, increasing your exercise level can lower your blood pressure within just a few weeks.
If you have prehypertension (systolic pressure between 120 and 139 or diastolic pressure between 80 and 89), exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program. Your doctor can help determine whether you need any exercise restrictions. Even moderate activity for 10 minutes at a time, such as walking and light strength training, can help.
But avoid being a “weekend warrior.” Trying to squeeze all your exercise in on the weekends to make up for weekday inactivity isn’t a good strategy. Those sudden bursts of activity could actually be risky.