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Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Luke Laffin, MD, Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and cardiologist in the Section of Preventive Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic tells us about natural ways to lower blood pressure. These tips will help you stay off medications or lessen the amount of medications you need to take to control blood pressure.

Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

My name is Luke and I’m a preventive cardiologist here at the Cleveland Clinic I’m also a medical director of cardiac rehabilitation it’s gives me great pleasure today to speak with you about natural ways to lower our blood pressure you know when I see patients in clinic they always asking well how can I try and avoid medicine as much as possible what can I do naturally to lower my blood pressure and they come in with all kinds of ideas and things they’ve read on the internet about lowering blood pressure does this special supplement help etc the majority of them know they don’t really tend to lower blood pressure or at least there’s not good data to back it up however there is good data to back up a variety of lifestyle measures that we can actually use to naturally lower blood pressure and they actually become the cornerstone of hypertension management as I always say to my patients 70% is lifestyle 30% is medications I can give you six seven eight blood pressure medicines if you’re not doing the lifestyle components you’re really not going to be effectively lowering your blood pressure so these are generally things that people think about but we have to be we have to be diligent and doing them the first one that we think about is weight loss it’s very clear from the most recent hypertension guidelines and from a variety of data that weight loss helps lower blood pressure the standard rule of thumb that we see is getting to your ideal body weight lowers blood pressure by about six millimeters of mercury in the studies that have looked at it however another rule of thumb that we can use is for every kilogram that an individual loses their blood pressure is decreased by one millimeter of mercury so definitely powerful stuff something to consider when you’re getting on the scale in the morning other things that we think about are nutritional or dietary patterns the most well-studied natural intervention for blood pressure is introduction or the the use of a – diet now the – diet is an acronym it stands for Dietary Approaches to stopping hypertension and the specifics are that it’s essentially a well-balanced of moderation plenty of fruits and vegetables it tends to more more towards a Mediterranean dietary pattern but it’s also low-sodium and that really brings us to the next component that I would say from a lifestyle perspective is the most important part of blood pressure management and that’s making sure that an individual is on a low-sodium diet now there’s different levels of sodium out there that different organizations suggest as the maximum of sodium during a day the American Heart Association recommends 1500 milligrams of sodium I tend to think that’s a little bit too low we know that people can generally get away with a maximum of 2,300 milligrams of sodium throughout the day the difference in blood pressure between 1500 milligrams a day and 2,300 milligrams a day is only about two or three millimeters of mercury so it’s important to understand that and really try and stay below 2,300 2,300 milligrams of sodium throughout the day it’s also important to understand that when I say sodium I’m talking about salt for those of you that aren’t aware of that and that all salt is created equal so sea salt is the same as table salt is the same as Himalayan salt is the same same as you know the pink salts which I think is Himalayan salt as well but they all increase blood pressure so it’s very important when they look at look back when they were look doing the initial Studies on sodium intake and blood pressure low sodium diet was worth about one and a half to two blood pressure medicines so really powerful natural way to lower one’s blood pressure on that line of electrolytes we also really focus on potassium intake in individuals with hypertension and it’s the inverse of sodium so too much sodium intake increases blood pressure too little potassium intake or too low of potassium values also increase blood pressure so it’s important to understand that and make sure that your diet is replete with potassium now of course if someone has other compelling for a low potassium diet like chronic kidney disease which means our our bodies ultimately hold on to potassium a little bit more than the normal individual but in the person with normal kidneys it’s important that we’re having plenty of fruits and vegetables and making sure our potassium levels are normal when we check the other natural things that we think about lowering blood pressure are physical activity it’s very important and there’s a couple different types than I oftentimes speak to my patients about the first is moderate aerobic physical activity so when I may say moderate intensity aerobic physical activity that essentially means a brisk walk or a light jog and the guideline recommendations suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week now we know individuals do better from a cardiovascular perspective the more that they do but really at least a minimum of a hundred and fifty is how we should be or how much we should be trying to get on a weekly basis once you’ve achieved that amount of aerobic physical activity another nice addition and another way to lower blood pressure is with light resistance activities so some light weights some light bands these can be very effective at lowering blood pressure and it doesn’t have to be five six times a week really the sweet spot for cardiovascular disease is two to three times a week 20 to 30 minutes and it’s important because we know that as individuals age we actually have to do more physical activity every year just to keep the muscle mass we have and this can be really helpful in terms of lowering blood pressure finally one of the things that we oftentimes think about in terms of elevating blood pressure is alcohol intake so the most recent blood pressure guidelines recommend no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two alcoholic drinks per day permanent for men to maintain normal blood pressures so those are just a few ways that we can naturally lower our blood pressure and try and avoid taking medicines as much as possible thanks very much

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