How to lower your blood pressure?

exercising helps to lower and control blood pressure

Picture yourself and two coworkers. You’re all pretty healthy, right? Appearances can be deceiving. The American Heart Association estimates that about 103 million people, or one out of every two adult Americans, have high blood pressure, and that number is expected to rise. Only about 50 percent of people with high blood pressure report having their blood pressure under control. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and hypertensive heart disease is the leading cause of death associated with high blood pressure. About 70 percent of people who have their first heart attack, 77 percent who have their first stroke, and 74 percent who have congestive heart failure have high blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure under control will not only make you feel better - it might just save your life! There are lots of ways you can lower your blood pressure without medication by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

Share This Post

Picture yourself and two coworkers. You’re all pretty healthy, right?

Appearances can be deceiving. The American Heart Association estimates that about 103 million people, or one out of every two adult Americans, have high blood pressure, and that number is expected to rise. Only about 50 percent of people with high blood pressure report having their blood pressure under control.

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and hypertensive heart disease is the leading cause of death associated with high blood pressure.

About 70 percent of people who have their first heart attack, 77 percent who have their first stroke, and 74 percent who have congestive heart failure have high blood pressure.

Getting your blood pressure under control will not only make you feel better – it might just save your life! There are lots of ways you can lower your blood pressure without medication by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

What is high blood pressure?

Before we talk about what it means to have high blood pressure, let’s first establish what blood pressure is. Blood pressure is simply the force at which your blood pushes against the walls of your blood vessels, like your arteries, veins, and capillaries.

In order to stay alive and function properly, our tissues and organs need to receive oxygen from our blood. The heart pushes blood out into the blood vessels each time it pumps, sending it to the organs and extremities. 

Blood pressure is measured using numbers that quantify two different forces: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.

When you receive a blood pressure reading, the systolic pressure is the first or top number listed, while the diastolic pressure is the second or bottom number.

Systolic pressure is the pressure that occurs when the blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries; it may help to think of this as the “active” pressure.

Diastolic pressure is the pressure measured as your heart rests between beats; it may help to think of this as the “resting” pressure.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when your blood pushes too hard against the walls of your blood vessels on a consistent basis.

Hypertension can damage your overall heart health and blood vessels because it increases their workload, causing them to work less efficiently and have to work harder to achieve the same levels of oxygen in the blood.

Eventually, the extra pressure damages the walls of the arteries and can cause narrowing in the blood vessels, further preventing blood from reaching the different areas of the body and further elevating your blood pressure.

What causes high blood pressure?

Scientists don’t know exactly what causes high blood pressure, but there are a number of factors that contribute.

Genetic factors, health conditions, and lifestyle choices can all influence your blood pressure. Some causes linked to high blood pressure include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Eating too much salt
  • Drinking excess alcohol (more than one or two drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Family history
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders
  • Sleep apnea

 When the exact cause of hypertension cannot be identified, it is referred to as “essential hypertension;” more than 95 percent of cases fall into this category.

When high blood pressure is categorized as essential hypertension, it is most likely due to lifestyle factors, particularly salt intake.

Men are more likely to experience high blood pressure than women until the age of 45. Between 45 and 65, men and women experience high blood pressure at similar levels. Over age 65, women are more likely to have high blood pressure than men.

What are the blood pressure measurement ranges?

There are five different categories for blood pressure.

Blood pressure readings are written by placing the systolic, or “active,” number on top and the diastolic, or “resting,” number on the bottom. 

  • Normal: 90 – 120 over 60 – 80 (90-120/60-80)
  • Elevated: 120 – 129 over less than 80 (120-129/less than 80)
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 130-139 over 80 – 89 (130-139/80-89)
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 140 and above over 90 and above (140 and above/90 and above)
  • Hypertension crisis: higher than 180 over higher than 120 (higher than 180/higher than 120). In cases of a hypertension crisis, seek medical attention right away.

What conditions can high blood pressure cause?

High blood pressure can cause or contribute to a number of serious issues and health conditions. Some of the conditions most commonly impacted by high blood pressure include:

  • Stroke
  • Vision loss
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney disease and kidney failure
  • Sexual dysfunction

Many people do not realize they have high blood pressure because the condition on its own does not cause noticeable symptoms.

That’s why it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly so you can manage it before it is too late.

How can I lower my blood pressure?

Because high blood pressure is so frequently and heavily influenced by the lifestyles we lead and the choices we make, there are many steps you can take to lower your blood pressure.

If you’re wondering how to lower your blood pressure, begin by incorporating one or more of these suggestions into your daily routine:

  • Up your exercise: Increasing your physical activity is one of the most important and effective steps you can take to lower your blood pressure. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity in per week. A great guideline to shoot for is to try to add activity that increases your heart and breathing rate for 30 minutes per day.
  • Lose excess weight: Losing weight has been proven to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure for people who are overweight or obese. Losing just five to ten pounds can lead to a noticeable drop in your blood pressure.
  • Cut out the carbs and sugar: If you’re not sure where to start to lose weight, simply healthy eating can help. For example, cutting out or cutting back on carbs and sugar can help you lose weight while also reducing your blood pressure. Low carb diets and eating whole grains have been found to reduce blood pressure more than low fat diets and also are more effective at promoting weight loss.
  • Watch the salt: People with high blood pressure tend to be more salt-sensitive than others, meaning that a higher salt and sodium intake increases their blood pressure. Reducing your salt intake can help lower your blood pressure, as can adding in more potassium to your diet. Potassium helps reduce the effects salt has on your blood pressure while also easing the pressure on your blood vessels. Low fat milk, yogurt, fish, bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes are all great sources of potassium.
  • Focus on whole foods: An easy way to help reduce your salt intake is by eating more whole foods. The less processed your food is, the less salt it will naturally include.
  • Stop smoking: Did you know that every time you light up, you’re immediately increasing your blood pressure and heart rate? Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant that produces these effects. Cutting out smoking will help lower your blood pressure. 
  • Stress less: It’s easier said than done, of course, but cutting back on your stress will help lower your blood pressure. If you can’t cut back on obligations, try practicing deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation for a few minutes during the day, or even listening to soothing music. Every little bit helps!
  • Add in herbs: Some herbs, like ginger root, celery juice, sesame oil, green tea, tomato extract, and oolong tea, have been shown to reduce blood pressure. If you’re going to be drinking tea in the morning anyway, why not choose a variety that will help you lower your blood pressure?
  • Get your chocolate fix: Lowering your blood pressure isn’t all work and no play – eating dark chocolate can bring it down, too! Eating one to two squares of 60 to 70 percent cacao dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure and inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Sleep tight: Everyone’s exhausted these days, but if you struggle with high blood pressure, prioritizing your sleep is especially important. Studies have shown that sleep deprived people have a higher risk of high blood pressure, so spend some time relaxing at night and practice good sleep hygiene so that you can get your full eight hours.
  • Put the beer down: Drinking more than one to two alcoholic drinks per day is shown to raise blood pressure even in healthy people. Keep it to a minimum (one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men).
  • Cut back on caffeine: Caffeine immediately and temporarily increases your blood pressure for about 45 to 60 minutes. It may have more of an impact on individuals whose blood pressure is already high. Consider cutting back on your caffeine intake if your blood pressure is a concern.

References, Studies and Sources:

medically reviewed and fact checked
Sesame Care

Find the best price for great doctors and specialists

  • Thousands of doctors and specialists
  • $13,000,000+ saved by patients
  • 95% patient satisfaction
  • 4.3 on TrustPilot
     

Popular Destinations

Health

Medication

Telehealth Reviews

Shop

Pharmacist Membership

About Us

Pharmacy Near Me

Recent Articles

Hypertensive Heart Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

High blood pressure is a common problem in the U.S. Hypertensive heart disease, or high blood pressure that affects the heart, is one of the most serious problems you can face. The condition impacts one in three U.S. adults and puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Find out more about hypertensive heart disease: what it is, what causes the condition, how it's treated, and the best methods for prevention. 

Read More »

Share On:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

What Is Lisinopril Used For?

Lisinopril is a first-line treatment drug recommended for hypertension, but it also has other less well-known uses.

Amlodipine side effects: What are they?

Over 108 million people, or 45 percent of American adults, are currently dealing with hypertension, or high blood pressure, whether they know it or

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

If you’re one of the one in two Americans struggling to keep their blood pressure at a manageable level, you may be looking for

What Is Losartan Potassium?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimatesthat about 45 percent of American adults, or 108 million people, currently suffer from high blood pressure, also

What is Normal Blood Pressure?

According to the American Heart Association, nearly one in two American adults, or about 103 million people, suffer from high blood pressure. This “silent

What Is Amlodipine?

Nearly half of American adults (108 million people, or 45 percent of the adult population) is currently struggling with hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Losartan Potassium Side Effects: What Are They?

If you’re one of the 108 million American adults (about 45 percent of the adult population) currently suffering from high blood pressure, you’re definitely

Can a Garlic Supplement Prevent Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America due to many different risk factors. The use of garlic supplementation may help reduce

What is Metoprolol tartrate?

If you’re one of the more than 100 million American adults struggling to manage your high blood pressure, your doctor may have spoken to

Lisinopril Side Effects: What Are They?

One hundred million American adults are struggling to manage their high blood pressure, and if you’re one of them, you’ve likely been told by

Does Aspirin Lower Blood Pressure?

Aspirin, a common medication that is known to reduce the risk of heart attack, has been studied to see whether or not it might

When To Take Lisinopril

Need to know when to take lisinopril? Learn why it’s important to take it at the right time of day.

Does Timing Matter for Blood Pressure Medications?

Uncontrolled blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major burden in the United States that contributes to high heart disease rates, heart attacks, and stroke.

Can Potassium Help Manage High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about half of all adults living in the United States. Preventing and controlling blood pressure through healthy habits

What are Foods to Avoid with High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is heavily influenced by a number of lifestyle factors, which means there are lots of different ways to manage your condition.

What is Lisinopril?

Today, one of the first-line treatments for high blood pressure is lisinopril. Exactly what is lisinopril and what is it used for?

Losartan Potassium Side Effects: What Are They?

Losartan potassium is a commonly prescribed high blood pressure medication that can help lower high blood pressure in hypertensive patients when used in conjunction

How Does Lisinopril work?

Drugs within all of these classes are commonly prescribed for cardiovascular problems and some of these names might be familiar to you. Each of

What is Low Blood Pressure?

We often hear about the dangers of high blood pressure, but is it possible for your blood pressure to be too low? With high

What does Amlodipine do?

About 45 percent of the American adult population, or 108 million people, struggle with hypertension, or high blood pressure. This “silent killer” is so