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High Blood Pressure

Reducing Blood Pressure

11/17/2010

Question:

I`m a generally healthy guy, in my mid-twenties. I recently went to get some blood tests done and it turned out my blood pressure needs watching. (It was 120/90.) I`m not sure what I can do to bring it down. I don`t drink, don`t smoke, have a very good low-fat diet; I sleep enough, and exercise; I`ve got very little excess fat and am physically quite healthy. I meditate to keep stress under control. I have minimal amounts of salt in my diet- I don`t use it in cooking, and don`t eat ready meals or anything similar; and I drink a lot of water. Frankly, I can`t think of ANYTHING to decrease my blood pressure, but I don`t want to go on any sorts of medication for it.

Is there any other way to try to bring it down? As you can see it`s not excessively high; and I imagine the situation caused it to increase a little. (The anticipation of a needle in my arm, and all that...) Still, it does need attention and I`d appreciate any and all information or ideas.

Answer:

If you are not on medication yet, you would be considered to have at least high normal BP. A diastolic blood pressure of 90 actually is above the cutoff defining high blood pressure, but the diagnosis requires at least two or more reading at two different office visits at 90 or above.

Regardless, life-style change is the recommended treatment. This includes:

1. Normalization of weight. You indicate a lack of excess body fat but do not give your weight. If your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in meters) is more than 25, then calorie reduction is indicated.

2. Should avoid not only added salt and salty foods also should read food labels to keep daily intake less than 1500 mg/day

3. The "DASH" eating plan has been shown to lower BP nearly as much as any one BP lowering medication. This eating plan is on the National Heart Lung and Blood website and consists of fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts, and low fat dairy products.

4. In addition to 30 min exercise most days of the week, and moderation of alcohol.

At the very least, these measures will delay the time before medication will be required to lower your blood pressure if not prevent the development of high blood pressure.

For more information:

Go to the High Blood Pressure health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jackson T Wright, MD, PhD, FACP Jackson T Wright, MD, PhD, FACP
Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University