How to Lower Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure, Healthy Heart, Healthy Living
on August 13, 2011
Think Stock

If you have a recent diagnosis of high blood pressure — or hypertension — you are not alone. According to the Mayo Clinic, mostly everyone develops the condition eventually. Fortunately, learning how to lower blood pressure is not difficult, and it could save your life.

There are many treatment methods for high blood pressure. Your degree of health will define the treatment you receive. Consult your physician for the best practices and see below for the average blood pressure treatment goals:

  • 140/90 mm Hg or lower for a healthy adult.
  • 130/80 mm Hg or lower, should you have chronic kidney disease, diabetes or coronary artery disease or are at high risk of coronary artery disease.
  • 120/80 mm Hg or lower, when your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should or you have severe chronic kidney disease.

Medications are one approach. Lowering blood pressure can be of immediate importance. In this case, your doctor will prescribe medication to get things under control as quickly as possible. Once the immediacy has passed, other choices are available to you in lowering your blood pressure. Prescription options include:

  • Thiazide diuretics are commonly used as a first line of medication to regulate sodium and water levels in the body and assist in lowering blood volume, therefore blood pressure.
  • Beta blockers open blood vessels, lessening the workload on your heart.
  • Calcium channel blockers relax the muscles of your blood vessels.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers stop the action of a blood vessel narrowing chemical in the body.
  • Renin inhibitors slow down the production of renin, an enzyme that increases blood pressure.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme, or ACE inhibitors, also block the formation of a naturally occurring chemical that narrows the blood vessels.

Lifestyle changes will help lower high blood pressure. While simple to describe, in actuality, it can be difficult to make huge lifestyle changes once habits have been developed. A dangerously high blood pressure is just the impetus to get started. Good lifestyle habits are not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight; adding moderate exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week; and adopting a heart-healthy diet that is low in salt, saturated and trans fat and also high in fiber, fruits, vegetables and lean protein, while allowing for some good fats (mono or polyunsaturated).