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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Five home remedis to control high blood pressure without medication

Five home remedis to control high blood pressure without medication
You don't always need prescription medications to lower your blood pressure.
By making these 5 lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure
and reduce your risk of heart disease.
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. Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can
make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.
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 to Stop
Hypertension (DASH) diet. It isn't easy to change your eating habits,
but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:
• Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week,
can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you
eat, how much, when and why.
• Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of
sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such
as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor
about the potassium level that's best for you.
• Be a smart shopper. Make a shopping list before heading to the
supermarket to avoid picking up junk food. Read food labels when you
shop, and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you're dining out,
too.
• Cut yourself some slack. Although the DASH diet is a lifelong eating
guide, it doesn't mean you have to cut out all of the foods you love.
It's OK to treat yourself occasionally to foods you wouldn't find on a
DASH diet menu, like a candy bar or mashed potatoes with gravy.
4. Reduce sodium in your diet Even a small reduction in the sodium in
your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. Most healthy
adults need only between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a
day. But if you have high blood pressure, aim for less than 1,500 mg
of sodium a day. To decrease sodium in your diet, consider these
tips:
• Track how much salt is in your diet. Keep a food diary to estimate
how much sodium is in what you eat and drink each day.
• Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the
foods and beverages you normally buy.
• Eat fewer processed foods. Potato chips, frozen dinners, bacon and
processed lunch meats are high in sodium.
• Don't add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of
sodium. Use herbs or spices, rather than salt, to add more flavor to
your foods.
• Ease into it. If you don't feel like you can drastically reduce the
sodium in your diet suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will
adjust over time.
5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink Alcohol can be both good and
bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your
blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. But that protective effect is lost if
you drink too much alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for
women and more than two a day for men. Also, if you don't normally
drink alcohol, you shouldn't start drinking as a way to lower your
blood pressure. There's more potential harm than benefit to drinking
alcohol. If you drink more than moderate amounts of it, alcohol can
actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce
the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications.
• Track your drinking patterns. Along with your food diary, keep an
alcohol diary to track your true drinking patterns. One drink equals
12 ounces (355 milliliters, or mL) of beer, 5 ounces of wine (148 mL)
or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor (45 mL). If you're drinking more than
the suggested amounts, cut back.
• Consider tapering off. If you're a heavy drinker, suddenly
eliminating all alcohol can actually trigger severe high blood
pressure for several days. So when you stop drinking, do it with the
supervision of your doctor or taper off slowly, over one to two weeks.
• Don't binge. Binge drinking — having four or more drinks in a row —
can cause large and sudden increases in blood pressure, in addition to
other health problems.

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