The best way to reduce blood pressure is by losing excess weight. There are a lot of other factors that fall in line right behind this and there are different opinions as to what is the most important, but losing excess weight, eating right, and increasing your physical activity always seem to come in right at the top.
The Best Way to Reduce Blood Pressure
Let me start by saying I am an engineer, not a health professional. I have just experienced a stroke and several other people in my family have as well.
I have done some research to help me bring some solid information to you but part of this is also based on my experience with high blood pressure. So, let’s get to the bottom line. My experience with high blood pressure has shown me that my weight gain or loss is directly connected to my blood pressure. I understand that everyone is different but my experience also falls in line with what the Mayo Clinic says about it. Now they don’t say weight loss is the number one way to reduce high blood pressure but it is #1 on their list followed by exercise and eating a healthy diet.
Let’s go through some of the top ways to reduce high blood pressure and then we’ll come back to weight loss at the end.
Top Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication
This list comes the Mayo Clinic article.
- Lose extra pounds
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Reduce sodium in your diet
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Quit smoking
- Cut back on caffeine
- Reduce your stress
- Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly
- Get support
Why Can Weight Loss Reduce High Blood Pressure?
The Mayo Clinic, Heart.org, the Department of Health and Human Services, Harvard Medical School and many others will put obesity pretty high on the list of significant factors that can raise your blood pressure.
Blood pressure is known to rise and lower with your weight. Additional weight puts more pressure on your heart and has many other associated health problems. Being over weight can also cause diabetes in addition to high blood pressure.
You don’t have to look very far to understand that excess weight is a problem and for people with heart disease or those with a high risk of a stroke. No wonder the doctor and nurse will always talk to you about your diet and getting to a more desirable weight.
My Weight and High Blood Pressure
I started noticing the correlation between my weight and blood pressure in the mid 1990s. My blood pressure was getting a little out of control and my doctor impressed on me to do something about it. I was young enough at the time, mid 20s, that no one was concerned and they said it was ok for my blood pressure to be slightly elevated as I was an athlete and stayed active.
One day I started on a serious exercise program and it was amazing. My blood pressure went from around 140 over 85 to 125 over 80 within only about two weeks of working out hard. This exercise program was a combination of weight training and intense aerobic exercise but also included eating healthy.
I really can’t tell you how many times this happened over the course of 30 years that my blood pressure would start getting out of control and then I would begin a serious exercise program and “Immediately” I would have an incredible drop in blood pressure. Now, I will agree that I not only changed my activity level but I dramatically changed the way I ate and serious weight loss was always an immediate result and then my blood pressure improved literally overnight (a few weeks).
I remember on many occasions that the doctor would ask if high blood pressure was a problem in my family and my immediate answer was always an emphatic no! My blood pressure is directly connected to my weight.
I didn’t and still don’t today have the medical expertise to conduct research and write a peer reviewed article about the connection between weight and blood pressure but I can still stand here and shout from the roof tops that “WEIGHT IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO BLOOD PRESSURE,” and I would argue that with any scholar in the world.
My Final Thoughts
It’s true that everyone is different and I may get people that adamantly disagree and they may be absolutely correct.
My point will not be to argue with that person or argue about the finer points or the different factors that can affect blood pressure. My point will be to look someone in the eye who has extra weight to lose and do my best to impress upon them the importance of getting to a healthy weight and to not forget about the other things like nutrition, exercise, salt intake, processed foods, limiting alcohol, cutting back on caffeine, reducing stress, etc.
The goal here at Stroke Prevention Nutrition is to help others reduce the risk of a stroke by natural methods and to stop relying on doctor’s and medication when your own education, determination and healthy choices can do the majority of the work for you.
Take your future into your own hands and don’t start thinking about this after a stroke, like I did.