Science-backed tips to lower your blood pressure

Roughly 39 per cent of those aged over 55 years are thought to have high blood pressure. This excess force

Roughly 39 per cent of those aged over 55 years are thought to have high blood pressure.

This excess force of blood pressing against your artery walls can damage blood vessels and has the potential to trigger a heart attack, stroke or damage your kidneys.

Good news is at hand however, with a few easy lifestyle changes seeing a reduction in your blood pressure that also reduces your risk.

If you’ve never really understood what those two figures used by your doctor to record your blood pressure mean, strap yourself in for a quick induction. The larger number (known as the systolic) is usually the one of most interest as it refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries. The smaller number is the diastolic and refers to your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats.

According to professor Tom Marwick, director of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, a normal reading is around 120/80 mmHg.

If your systolic number goes up to 140, your doctor might as you to make a few lifestyle changes and if it goes any higher (say 150 or 160) they might consider putting you on medication.

Your weight also contributes to your blood pressure. Research by the Institute for Quality and Efficacy in Cologne, Germany found that if you lost 4kg you were able to lower your systolic pressure by 4.5 mmHg and your diastolic by 3 mmHg.

Marwick warns that salt is a huge contributor to your blood pressure and recommends you avoid adding it to meals, bypass processed food and start taking an interest in nutrition labels to ensure you aren’t consuming more salt that is recommended.

He says sweet potato, avocado and yoghurt are natural sources of pressure-lowering potassium.

It probably comes as no surprise that exercise is a key to keeping your blood pressure on an even keel. “Physical activity has a beneficial impact on blood vessels and circulation,” Marwick told Prevention magazine.

What’s more is if you get outside and into the sunshine you’ll lower your blood pressure, stress hormones and heart rate.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, including death. The potential consequences can motivate you to take care of your blood pressure and lead a heart-healthy life.

Have you ever had high blood pressure? How did you address the situation?

  1. John Brants  

    was first diagnosed with high BP in 1986 .It was consistently 200+ over 190+ .Best score recorded by a GP was 261/161.

  2. John Brants  

    My own recorded best ( on an UFS $150 gadget was 271/158 Was prescribed all different pills over the years -no go. A cardiologist ran many tests.His conclusion was “eat more salt “. Liked that as salt is yummy. Now on Sevikar and BP is around 120-170/60-80. Junk,sugar and most processed so called food has been off menu for several years. Have cooked regularly -stuff like eye fillet steak seared,rested and then gently fried in red wine and butter.(Swear by butter). Am now 20 years past my medically forecast use by date-try to enjoy each day that I awaken.

  3. Macman2  

    Don’t forget bananas for Potassium. I was around 220 and feeling awful. After a few important checks the doctor in emergency gave me a banana and said “eat this”.
    If you are not diagnosed, or already on tablets, check with your Doctor before regular banana intake.
    Also try pineapple juice.
    I sometimes get very good BP readings at my doctors, which is contary to “doctor-stress elevated readings” normally expected.
    Finally my Doctor told me “you just had a shower didn’t you?” He then explained that a hot shower or bath lowers BP for a while. Wish I had known that and the effect of bananas before I had to go to emergency – would have saved me a late night trip, instead I could have used the tips above and seen my GP the next day.
    If you have BP tablets and still feel awful, ask your Doctor if he can try a different tablet. I went through about four types until a combination of two made me fell perfectly normal, with good readings. Some Doctors are better at BP control than others and consider a visit to a heart specialist.
    They say you cannot feel blood pressure, when some people can at times.
    Avoid stress at all costs. I had a stressful job and resigned, a good contributor to my return to feeling normal again. Good food and exercise help. A friend moved to the relaxed life in the country and says his blood pressure problems disappeared. A relaxed holiday can help for a while too.

  4. Frank  

    OK – but I don’t really like to eat much sweet potato

    info seems to vary with the source, e.g. ‘Healthy high potassium foods include beans, dark leafy greens, potatoes, squash, yogurt, fish, avocados, mushrooms, and bananas. The current daily value for potassium is 3.5 grams.’

    wha’ – that seems to suggest I should eat 10 bananas a day ? That ain’t gonna happen.

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