Raise your hand if someone if you know someone with high blood pressure. This is the part where if you were in a crowded room, every hand would go up.
According to the CDC, 1 in 3 American Adults have High Blood Pressure.
People with HBP are at high risk for stroke, heart attack and heart disease. Over 70% of people who suffer their first heart attack, stroke or chronic heart failure have high blood pressure (CDC).
Only half (54%) of people diagnosed with high blood pressure have it lowered to a safe place. That means that the other 46% is living with uncontrolled HBP. Similarly to many other conditions, HBP is a silent killer. Most of the time, you don't know you have it until you get it checked, or something worse happens.
For many people with high blood pressure, their numbers are controlled by pharmaceutical medications--most often because we are told we need these to prevent other issues. While this isn't untrue (of course the med will help) it's not your only option.
In fact, there are a multitude of ways to control your blood pressure naturally without the use of prescription meds.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight and Body Fat Percentage
Did you know this would start here? Maintaining a healthy weight and body fat is the number one way to help control and prevent high blood pressure. As weight goes up, the blood pressure often goes with it. Losing even just a few pounds can significantly help you BP go down. In fact, it's estimated that your BP can go down 1 millimeter of mercury per approximately 2 pounds you lose. Waist measurements specifically seem to be linked to HBP--men with a waist of over 40 inches and women with a waist of over 35 have an increased risk.
Bottom Line: If you are overweight, you have a greater risk for HBP. Work on small weight loss goals to reduce it.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet and Reduce Sodium
Less saturated fat and cholesterol can help to lower your BP significantly. Focus on eating a variety of vegetables, whole grains, fruits and some dairy. Try to shy away from fried foods, very fatty foods, highly processed meats and items, and instead focus on eating on real food. Check food labels to look for the sodium content in foods. Canned soups, breads, sauces and other items contain high sodium contents that are unnecessary. Watch out for low-fat options as well--often times, extra salt will be included for taste.
Work on--tracking your food to see what you are really eating, looking at labels and general nutrition facts, eating the rainbow.
3. Exercise Regularly
While this might be like a duhhh..you'd be surprised. Get regular exercise--about 30 minutes at least a few times a week of a mix of cardio and resistance training to help you keep that blood pressure down. Consistent exercise can help to reduce your numbers, and keep them that way, as well as aid in preventing hypertension. Both aerobic and weight training can help your blood pressure so it's best to get a mix of both.
Focus on: Getting regular exercise, at least a few times a week. Work with someone who can help develop a program that's right for you.
4. Reduce Your Stress
Your chronic stress can be changing your blood pressure--and not in a good way. While researchers don't know exactly how much stress you need to increase the BP, they know it doesn't help. In addition, when stressed, many of us turn to comforts such as unhealthy foods, alcohol and smoking which all individually make a difference on blood pressure.
To Dos: Avoid triggering things that make your stress level high, plan some self-care time and spend time learning how to manage stress in healthy ways such as meditation, journaling, and practices such as managing expectations.
As you can see, lowering your blood pressure without medication is done with things we all know we should be doing. There is no scientific way to make it better besides doing things that you should be incorporating into daily life anyway.
If you have high blood pressure, make sure to check all these boxes and work on getting it down naturally!