Hypertension/High blood pressure

By Dr. Kara Shannon using Mayo Clinic as a reference, January 6th, 2018

Hypertension/High blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force of your blood traveling through your blood vessels. The higher your blood pressure the harder your heart has to work to pump your blood which is dangerous. This contributes to hardening of the blood vessels and developing of heart failure. 

Most Americans suffer from essential hypertension. This means that there is no underlying disease causing your blood pressure to be high. Some people who have high blood pressure have a family history of hypertension. This however does not mean you can’t do things to improve or even get rid of your hypertension. Even if you have been diagnosed with pre-hypertension, you should be doing activities that improve your blood pressure now.

Normal reading          120/80

Pre-hypertension        120-139/80-89

Hypertension              140 & higher/90 & higher


Tips for preventing and treating high blood pressure

Lose weight from your waistline

ÞLosing just 10 pounds decreases your blood pressure.

ÞIf you are on medication this weight lose improves the effectiveness of your medications


ÞExercising will not only help you lose weight but also improves circulation and the function of your heart and lungs.

ÞPhysical activity which includes brisk walking 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, or more intense activity such as strength training 3 times a week will lower your blood pressure 4-9 mm HG in just a few weeks.

ÞStart today! Even if you’ve been inactive for a long time, don’t be afraid to start. When starting a new activity it is important to ease your way into it. If you need help figuring out where to start ask us or your medical doctor.

ÞIncorporate your activity with what you love. Enjoy the outdoors? Try hiking, walking, biking, or jogging. Like books? Listen to audiobooks while you perform your activities. Do you like music? Try dancing, listening to your favorite artist or band while exercising.

Reduce Sodium in your diet

ÞEven a small reduction in your salt intake will lower your blood pressure 2-8 mm Hg.

ÞThe average adult should limit their intake to no more than 2300 mg/day. If you are 51 or older reduce sodium intake to no more than 1500 mg/day.

Track your intake by reading food labels and keeping a food diary

Limit prepackaged foods and processed snacks

Don’t add salt to your meals. Instead use herbs and spices to build flavor.

Eat healthy!

Þ The food you consume has a direct effect on your health. What we eat either takes us further towards health or further away.

Þ Eating healthy will improve your weight and your waistline.

Þ Increase the amount of potassium in your diet.

This will help lessen the effects of sodium in the diet

Intake of potassium should come from fruits and vegetables which have other essential nutrients and antioxidants for a healthy body.

Þ Keep a food diary

Þ Paleo http://paleoleap.com/paleo-101/

Þ Try the Whole30 http://whole30.com/

Þ Ketogenic Diet http://dietdoctor.com/

Þ Mediterranean http://authoritynutrition.com/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan/

 food plans.

These dietary changes have been shown to drastically change and lower blood pressure, in some cases as well as medications.

All three of these options promote eating whole foods including fruits, vegetables, quality protein and fat, and some whole grains (Mediterranean). These options also encourage eliminating added sugars and unnecessary additives.

Reduce Alcohol consumption

ÞFor adult males under the age of 65, no more than 2 beverages should be consumed per day. For women and males over the age of 65 no more than 1 beverage a day should be consumed.

ÞThat being said, don’t save your alcohol intake for the weekends and binge, this has negative effects on your overall health

ÞReducing your alcohol intake to these recommendations will lower your blood pressure by several points and will even improve the effectiveness of your medications

Avoid tobacco products and second hand smoke

ÞNicotine in tobacco raises blood pressure by 10 mm Hg for up to an hour after consumption. This means if you smoke throughout the day your blood pressure will stay high.

Get support!

ÞAsk your family and friends for support. Educate them on the dangers of high blood pressure and what changes you need to make.

ÞIf you lack support from friends and family try a support group.

ÞAsk us for help. If you have any concerns or questions let us know. We care about you and want you to be healthy and live to your full potential!