Low blood pressure goals
As primary care doctors in Raleigh, our main concern is serving the number of patients who seek our help every day in a holistic way. In practice, this means that our goal is not just giving you a pill to fix individual problems, one-by-one. We want to help you understand the complex processes of your body and how they influence one another. High blood pressure is not a stand-alone problem. The reasons for it may be many, the possible effects, too. That’s why it’s so important for us to look at your life as a whole and find the best approach to treat your condition in a healthy and effective way.
The good news
When it comes to your blood pressure, we have good news for you. You can lower it significantly by yourself, and we are here to help.
By making these 10 lifestyle changes, you can reduce your blood pressure by as much as 30-40 mmHg and, together with that drop, lower your risk of heart disease.
If you aren’t sure whether these tips would work for you, visit our internal medicine clinic in Raleigh and we’ll answer any questions you might have.
1. Lose extra weight
Weight loss is one of the most efficient changes you can make in order to control your blood pressure. Losing even a couple of pounds if you’re overweight can help you lower these numbers. According to the American Heart Association, losing weight may help you reduce your blood pressure by about 5 mm Hg.
2. Make exercise a habit
Regular physical activity, for about 30 minutes most days of the week, can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg. It’s important to do it consistently because if you stop, your blood pressure can rise again. Remember to choose exercises you feel good about, as a positive attitude is key to sticking with it.
3. Create a healthy eating plan
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg. This eating plan involves:
Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
4. Reduce sodium in your diet
The reduction of sodium intake, to about 1,500 mg a day or less, can improve your heart condition and reduce blood pressure by up to 5-6 mm Hg. Implementing this low-sodium plan doesn’t mean counting every mg of salt – simply check food labels, eat fewer processed foods (and fewer restaurant meals!), and don’t add salt to your food – use herbs and spices to flavor your food, instead.
5. Limit alcohol consumption
If you drink alcohol in moderation only (like one drink a day), you may be able to lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. This effect is reversed when you drink more than that; in fact, anything more can raise blood pressure by several points.
6. Quit smoking
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for some time after you finish. Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to physiological norms. Even if you’ve smoked for many years, the health benefits can be innumerable from quitting.
7. Cut back on coffee
Caffeine can raise blood pressure up to even 10 mm Hg. Nevertheless, if you drink coffee regularly and cannot imagine your day without this first cup -don’t sweat it. Not everyone experiences caffeine intake the same way. Talk to your primary care doctor in Raleigh about the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure.
8. Reduce stress
This one is big. Even the healthiest person has observed the negative effects of stress on their body, especially when it comes to blood pressure. The first thing you need to do is examine your reactions: What is causing you stress? Is it family? Work? Finances? Whatever it is, try to find a way to calm down about those problems, avoid triggers, and find your own way to relax. For some it is gardening, while others find solace in reading, fishing, or even meditating. Whatever it is, make it your priority. Your heart will thank you.
9. Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your physician regularly
If you monitor your blood pressure at home, it can help your doctor to understand your condition better. It is important to check it on a daily basis, in the comfort of your own home, as being the doctor’s office has the tendency to affect the reading. To help you, download this blood pressure log prepared by the American Heart Association and fill it out every day, so that you can show it to your doctor and get individualized help.
Also, plan to visit with your doctor on a regular basis. Our internal medicine clinic in Raleigh (Schneider Medical Group) is open Monday to Thursday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, so you can find a time that suits you best.
10. Get support
A strong support system is essential when you suffer from a heart condition. Don’t be hesitant to ask for help; your friends and family will be more than happy to assist you. They can drive you to your doctors’ appointments, exercise with you, prepare healthy meals, or even be a part of your relaxation plan, if that’s what you wish.
You can also find support beyond your family and friends. Support groups can connect you with people who share your problem and can motivate you, offer practical tips or simply be there for you when you need it.
If you’re concerned about your blood pressure or haven’t had it checked in some time, call Schneider Medical Group now to set up an appointment in our internal medicine clinic in Raleigh or book online. Call today at 919-301-8971
Read more about our high blood pressure treatments here.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.