6 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Now

by Jillian Chertok

This article was updated on May 4th, 2021. 

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, and it’s an important one to pay attention to because about 103 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure. In the first redefinition of high blood pressure since 2003, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology introduced new guidelines listing 130/80 as the new high pressure level. With this in mind, almost half of American adults suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension). Also, a blood pressure reading of 130-139 or 80-89 is now considered high from now on.

The new blood pressure categories indicate the below:

  • Normal = less than 120 and less than 80
  • Elevated = 120-129 and less than 80
  • High Blood Pressure Stage 1 = 130-139 or 80-89
  • High Blood Pressure Stage 2 = 140 or higher or 90 or higher
  • Hypertensive Crisis (call your doctor immediately) = Higher than 180 and/or higher than 120.

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According to the American Health Ranking, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the leading and fifth-leading causes of death, respectively. In 2016, 82,735 deaths were primarily attributable to high blood pressure.

Although high blood pressure usually shows no signs or symptoms, there’s good news! There are easy ways to lower your blood pressure without medication (although you should take that too if your blood pressure is at dangerously high levels and your doctor advises you to), and I’ve got ya covered. Here’re 6 ways to lower your blood pressure now, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic!

  1. Lose weight. Blood pressure typically increases as weight increases, so if you’re overweight, it will be better for your overall health to start that diet. Now. Also, if most of that extra weight your carrying is around your waist, you could be at an even greater risk of high blood pressure. Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure.
  2. Exercise regularly. You should be doing this anyway, but at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day can lower your blood pressure. Just another reason to renew your gym membership!
  1. Eat healthy foods (most of the time). A diet that includes plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, helps lower your blood pressure. What doesn’t help reduce it? Saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium. Buh bye, butter! So long, bagel!
  1. Limit alcohol consumption. If you’re someone who likes to drink now and then, no one tells you to give it up. In fact, in small amounts, alcohol can potentially lower your blood pressure. But, if you drink too much alcohol – more than one drink a day for women and men older than 65, or more than two drinks a day for men 65 and younger – you can raise your blood pressure by several points. And, if you take blood pressure medication, alcohol can reduce its effectiveness.
  2. Quit smoking. Are you still smoking cigarettes? Given all that we know about the harmful effects of tobacco? SMH. It’s time to quit! Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you’ve finished. By stopping, you’re helping your blood pressure return to normal. Bottom line, if you want to live longer, quit smoking. Now.
  3. Reduce your stress level. I know, easier said than done, but chronic stress is a significant contributor to high blood pressure. If you’re someone who gets stressed out easily, come up with ways to cope with that stress more healthily. Need some help? Check out these helpful tips on how to reduce stress from WebMD.

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