Is it Possible to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication?
In case you missed, the American Heart Association has on the 13th Nov, 2017, set new guidelines on high blood pressure. Read about the controversial decision here. Some readers commented that we don’t need more medication. So, it is possible to control high blood pressure without medication?
I came across a Mayo Clinic article ‘10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication’. So, yes, you can! And so I checked the list to see how I measure up against the suggestions. You should too. (Note: for those on medication, always consult your doctor before making changes)
First, a quick summary of the 10 ways:
- Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Reduce sodium in your diet
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Quit Smoking
- Cut back on caffeine
- Reduce your stress
- Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly
- Get support
1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): Losing 10 pounds (4.5kg) will lower your blood pressure. Higher risk for men with waistline of 40 inches (102cm), and women 35 inches (89cm)
I am starting to put on belly fats lately. This is a tough one for me personally. My daughter likes to poke my belly and say, “Pa, your tummy is showing.” A good comeback is, “Of course it’s showing. It’s a sign of prosperity.” And every time I pose for a picture, I have to remind myself to suck my tummy in.
It has been said, “Cells come and go, but fat cells live forever!” My way to reduce the waistline is to buy pants 2 notches smaller. That way I am forced to keep exercising to eventually fit comfortably into them.
2. Exercise regularly
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): 30 minutes of exercise (dancing, walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming) 4-5 days a week can reduce your blood pressure by 4 to 9 mm Hg
My exercise routine started with a challenge from my brother-in-law. I live in an apartment on the 31st floor. He said I couldn’t climb up 31 floors. I like being challenged. I walked up the 31 floors. Hah, I proved him wrong! Though very tired, I felt good.
That was back in August 2016. Now I regularly climb up the 31 floors, down 31 floors, and up again another 31 floors. 62 floors of walking! A lot of sweating. Then a shower and it feels so great!
So pick an exercise routine that you can do and stick to it!
3. Eat a healthy diet
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): Diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products can lower blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. Keep a food diary.
Eating healthy is a challenge to most people. A juicy greasy burger with a side of French fries is food heaven for me. Rice cooked in chicken fat and served with roasted chicken is another of my favorite. Our national dish Nasi Lemak (Rice cooked in coconut, served with chicken or beef and spicy anchovies) is just unforgettable.
I don’t think I’m going to give these up. But I will need to eat more fruits and vegetables. The Mayo Clinic’s suggestion of keeping a food diary is an excellent idea. I am starting one today. I will be using my smart-phone to record my daily food intake. I think I’ll be surprised!
4. Reduce sodium in your diet
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): Limit to less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day (1 tablespoon of salt) A small reduction in sodium intake can lower blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.
I think I am skipping point 4 for now. I mean, how can a person eat Sushi without a good dipping of soy sauce? Or French fries without sprinkling some salt over them?
5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): One drink a day is acceptable. And if you are under medication, too much alcohol can reduce its effectiveness.
One drink (12 ounces, 345ml) is defined as one can of beer per day! Ha, ha, some of us may want to skip point 5. I am totally ok with one beer a day. In fact, I drink about 3-4 cans per week.
6. Quit smoking
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): Each cigarette raises your blood pressure.
I don’t smoke. I know some readers will have a hard time quitting smoking. I have a friend who smokes 2 packs a day. His father, a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer. He saw how his father suffered before he died. He wanted to quit but couldn’t. He is still smoking 2 packs a day.
7. Cut back on caffeine
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): Caffeine can increase blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg. Debatable.
Don’t believe? Try this brilliant suggestion by Mayo clinic: check your blood pressure within 30 minutes of drinking coffee. If your blood pressure reading increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, then you should cut back on caffeine.
I drink about 2 cups of coffee a day. It seems coffee doesn’t affect my blood pressure. But I am reducing it to one cup a day due to gastritis.
8. Reduce your stress
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): Stress causes high blood pressure. Find out what triggers your stress.
Obviously, you can’t get rid of all the things that cause you stress. Yeah, you’re still stuck with that horrible boss. But you can learn how to cope and reduce stress. Learn more how to reduce stress here. Or learn about the number one de-stressor Rule Number 6.
Try this, it works! Watch the video below:
9. Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): You need your very own blood pressure monitor.
A blood pressure monitor is a good investment for your family. Check out my number one recommendation.
Talk openly with your doctor about various treatments for high blood pressure or what lifestyle change you need to do to lower your blood pressure.
Quick fact (Mayo Clinic): Get support from family and friends to encourage you to stick to your good health routine.
I get all my support from my wife. She nags me to eat more vegetables. She nags me to stick to my exercise. She nags me because she cares. I have a group of friends who love to eat bbq meat. It’s an all-you-can-eat restaurant! Hmm…it’s time to cut back on this meat feast.
Good health to all of us!
Hi, my name is Song. Thanks for visiting hard-knocked-life-coach.com. Please come again!
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