5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of High Blood Pressure

5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of High Blood Pressure

heart health

5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects one in three Americans. It is one of the risk factors for heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, congestive heart failure and many other complications. Here are five tips from Living Health Integrative Medicine that you can keep your blood pressure in check.

What is High Blood Pressure?

First of all, it has nothing to do with your mood. You don’t have to be under stress to have high blood pressure although living a high stress life can affect it.
Your heart pumps blood through a series of vessels that extend throughout the body. It takes a certain pressure to push that blood throughout those vessels. The muscular walls of the blood vessels stretch to accommodate the blood more easily. Your blood pressure is made up of two numbers: the systolic and diastolic. They represent your heart at work and at rest, respectively.
When blood pressure is high, it takes more force by the heart to push it through the vessels. The vessels stretch but the increased pressure on their muscular walls can cause tears in the walls, loss of elasticity (resulting in weakness) and plaque buildup.

Heart attacks and strokes occur when the force of the blood knocks these plaques or blood clots loose. They can lodge and block blood flow in the brain and the heart or even smaller vessels in the extremities. The scary thing is that many times there are no symptoms prior to these events.

Lowering Your Risk

There is good news. It is never too early to lower this risk factor. Alone hypertension is damaging. In conjunction with other risk factors for heart disease, you could be accelerating the damage and shortening your life. The best thing is that lowering blood pressure is within your control.

1. Know your numbers: You can’t work on a solution unless you know where you stand. Normal blood pressure is in the range of 120/80. Any reading above 120/80, you will want to think about ways to lower the pressure. Being proactive when you first start to see elevated numbers, can prevent you from having to use medication to bring it down.

2. Watch what you eat: Reduce or eliminate your sugar and grain intake. A high carbohydrate diet will cause insulin and leptin resistance, primary causes of high blood pressure. Avoid processed foods high in damaging fats, sugar and salt. Stick to Dr. Steph’s plate rule (see below or our book Lose the Gluten, Lose your Gut. Ditch the Grain, Save your Brain for more information).

5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of High Blood Pressure

Maintaining stable blood sugar is an important factor. Eating a high sugar or carbohydrate diet increases your risk of diabetes and causes insulin and leptin resistance. Insulin resistance will then cause sodium retention and an increase in blood pressure.

3. Get moving: Exercise improves insulin receptor sensitivity. This will help get more blood sugar into muscle instead of storing it in the form of fat therefore lowering your risk of becoming insulin resistant. As you increase your fitness level, your body will become more efficient in regulating blood sugar and blood pressure.

4. Take your Nutritional Supplements: Natural nutritional supplements can help lower blood pressure. They are not a substitute for a healthy diet. Comprehensive testing and analysis can reveal nutritional deficiencies that may help lower blood pressure. Vitamin D deficiency is common and will promote stiff arteries that may increase blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about what nutritional supplementation is best based on your nutritional deficiencies.

5. If you smoke STOP: Nicotine raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Smoking also stiffens the blood vessels and they lose elasticity. The heart has to pump harder to pass blood through them, raising your blood pressure.

Where Do I Start?
Do you have high blood pressure? If you do not know, then this is the first place to start. Go get checked. If you have high blood pressure, invest in a digital monitor. These can be purchased at most pharmacies. Then start regularly checking and recording your pressure. Look for patterns to determine what positively and negatively impacts your blood pressure.
Blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. Use these five methods to lower your risk. If you need an individualized plan for lowering your blood pressure give our office a call.