How to Lower High Blood Pressure

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High blood pressure is considered blood pressure that consistently measures at or above 140/90 mm/Hg. Normal blood pressure levels are below 120/80 mm/Hg. Prehypertension is blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89. It’s important to lower high blood pressure to prevent cardiovascular disease from developing such as heart attack, stroke, and other conditions.

High blood pressure can be managed or lowered with lifestyle changes and medication if necessary.

Benefits of Reducing High Blood Pressure

In addition to living a longer, healthier life, lowering high blood pressure also lowers your risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Aneurysms
  • Atrial arrhythmias
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Kidney failure

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure regularly, a physical examination, and getting details about your health history and lifestyle (exercise and eating habits).

The DASH Eating Plan

An eating plan known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension has been shown to help reduce lower high blood pressure. This meal plan is low in saturated fat, and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. In addition to the DASH eating plan, you should also reduce your sodium intake (less than 2,400mg a day or a teaspoon). Studies have shown that the DASH diet has had a positive effect within two weeks of beginning, but the changes should be made long term for continued success.

Other lifestyle changes that can help you lower high blood pressure include:

  • Losing weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week
  • Reducing alcohol consumption (2 drinks or less per day)

If lifestyle changes aren’t working, then medication may be prescribed.However, medication is not a substitution for lifestyle changes. You should continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly for the best results.

At Virginia Heart & Vascular Institute, we help patients who suffer from high blood pressure. Your health is as important to us as it is to you. Contact us today at 703-560-1075 to schedule an appointment.