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10WAYSTO CONTROL
HIGH
BLOOD
PRESSURE
WITHOUT
MEDICATION
If
you’ve been
diagnosed with
high blood pressure
(a systolic pressure -
the top number - of 140
or above or a diastolic
pressure - the bottom
number - of 90 or above), you
might be
worried about
taking medication to
bring your numbers
down.
Lifestyle plays an
important role in treating your high
blood pressure. If you successfully
control your blood pressure with
a
healthy lifestyle
,
you
may avoid, delay or
reduce the need for
medication.
1. Lose extra
pounds and watch
your waistline
Blood pressure often increases as
weight increases. Losing just 10
pounds can help reduce your blood
pressure. In general, the more weight
you lose, the lower your blood pressure.
Losing weight also makes any blood
pressure medications you’re taking
more effective. You and your doctor can
determine your target weight and the
best way to achieve it.
Besides shedding pounds, you should
also keep an eye on your waistline.
Carrying too much weight around your
waist can put you at greater risk of high
blood pressure. In general:
Men are at risk if their waist
measurement is greater than 40
inches (102 centimeters, or cm).
Women are at risk if their waist
measurement is greater than 35
inches (88 cm).
Asian men are at risk if their waist
measurement is greater than 36
inches (90 cm).
Asian women are at risk if their waist
measurement is greater than 32
inches (80 cm).
2. Exercise
regularly
Regular physical activity - at least 30
to 60 minutes most days of the week -
can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9
millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). And
it doesn’t take long to see a difference.
If you haven’t been active, increasing
your exercise level can lower your blood
pressure within just a few weeks.
If you have prehypertension (systolic
pressure between 120 and 139 or
diastolic pressure between 80 and 89),
exercise can help you avoid developing
full-blown hypertension. If you already
have hypertension, regular physical
activity can bring your blood pressure
down to safer levels.
Talk to your doctor about developing
an exercise program. Your doctor can
help determine whether you need any
exercise restrictions. Even moderate
activity for 10 minutes at a time, such
as walking and light strength training,
can help.
But avoid being a “weekend warrior.”
Trying to squeeze all your exercise in on
the weekends to make up for weekday
inactivity isn’t a good strategy. Those
sudden bursts of activity could actually
be risky.
3. Eat a healthy
diet
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains,
fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy
products and skimps on saturated fat
and cholesterol can lower your blood
pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating
plan is known as the Dietary Approaches
Here are
10
lifestyle changes you can make to
lower your blood pressure and keep it down.
Jan/Feb 2012
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