10 Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication
Dec 20, 2023
Smart Watch Blood Pressure Accuracy
People with high blood pressure may wonder whether they need to take medication to lower their blood pressure. But lifestyle is crucial to treating high blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure through a healthy lifestyle may avoid, delay, or reduce the need for medication.
The following 10 lifestyle changes can lower and maintain blood pressure levels.
1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
Blood pressure usually rises with weight gain. Being overweight can also lead to interruptions in breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), further raising blood pressure.
Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes to control blood pressure. If you are overweight or obese, losing even a little weight can help lower your blood pressure.
2. Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity can reduce high blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg. Regular exercise is important to keep your blood pressure from rising again. A general goal is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.
Exercise also prevents blood pressure from rising to the level of hypertension. For people who already have high blood pressure, regular physical activity can lower blood pressure to safe levels.
Some aerobic exercises that can lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or dancing. Also try high-intensity interval training, which is short bursts of high-intensity exercise alternating with low-intensity exercise.
Strength training can also help lower blood pressure. Do strength training at least two days a week. Talk with healthcare provider about developing your exercise program.
3. Eat healthy
Eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, and reducing your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol can lower blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg. Examples of eating plans that can help control blood pressure include the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet.
Dietary potassium can lessen the effects of salt (sodium) on blood pressure. The best sources of potassium are foods, such as fruits and vegetables, not supplements. Aim for 3500 to 000 mg per day, which may lower blood pressure by 4 to 5 mm Hg. Ask healthcare provider how much potassium you should be getting.
4. Reduce the amount of salt (sodium) in your diet
Even a small reduction in dietary sodium may improve heart health and reduce high blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg.
The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among populations. Daily sodium intake is generally limited to 2,300 milligrams (mg) or less. However, lower sodium intake (not to exceed 1500 mg per day) is beneficial to the health of most adults.
The following methods can help reduce the amount of sodium in your diet:
- Read food labels. Choose low-sodium foods and beverages.
- Eat less processed food. Foods naturally contain less sodium. Most sodium is added during processing.
- No salt added. Use herbs or spices for flavor.
- Cooking. Cooking your own food allows you to control the sodium content of your food.
5. Limit alcohol consumption
Limiting alcohol consumption (less than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men) can help lower blood pressure by around 4 mm Hg. A glass of wine is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor.
But drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure by a few points. And excessive drinking may also reduce the effectiveness of antihypertensive drugs.
6. Quit smoking
Smoking raises blood pressure. Quitting smoking can help lower blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve general health, and possibly increase lifespan.
7. Get a good night’s sleep
Poor sleep quality (fewer than 6 hours per night for weeks on end) may lead to high blood pressure. Many problems can disrupt sleep, including sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and general insomnia (insomnia).
If you often have sleep problems, talk with healthcare provider. Finding and treating the cause can help improve sleep. Following these simple tips can also help you get a more restful night's sleep.
- Keep a regular schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Try to keep the same schedule on weeknights and weekends.
- Create a restful environment and ensure a cool, quiet and dark sleeping environment. Do something relaxing an hour before bed, like taking a warm bath or doing some relaxing exercises. Avoid bright lights, such as TV or computer screens.
- Watch your diet. Don't go to bed too hungry or too full. Avoid eating large meals right before bed. Also limit or avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Limit naps. For those who find daytime napping helpful, scheduling naps earlier in the day and limiting naps to 30 minutes may help with nighttime sleep.
8. Reduce stress
Long-term (chronic) emotional stress may cause high blood pressure. You can try the following methods to ease your emotions:
- Avoid trying to do too much. Plan your day well and focus on your priorities. Learn to say no. Set aside enough time to get what needs to be done.
- Focus on problems that are within your control and develop solutions. For work problems, you can discuss with your superiors. If there is a conflict with a child or spouse, find a way to resolve it.
- Avoid things that cause stress. For example, if rush hour traffic is stressful for you, you can avoid rush hour travel or use public transportation. Avoid those who cause you stress, if possible.
- Take time to relax. Take time each day to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Make time for activities or hobbies you enjoy, such as walking, cooking or volunteering.
- Learn to be grateful. Expressing gratitude to others can help reduce stress.
9. Monitor blood pressure at home and receive regular checkups
Home monitoring can help you keep an eye on your blood pressure to see if medication changes and lifestyle changes are working for you. BP Smartwatch focuses on blood pressure monitoring and can measure accurately and in real time.
Regular doctor visits are also key to keeping your blood pressure under control. If your blood pressure is well controlled, talk to healthcare provider about how often you need to have your blood pressure checked. You may only need to check once a day, or on multiple days.
10. Get Support
The support of family and friends is very important to health. They can encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor, or start exercising with you to keep your blood pressure low.