What is the Number One Way to Reduce Blood Pressure?

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.

Weight Scale

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.Blood Pressure

  1. Lose extra pounds
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Eat a healthy diet
  4. Reduce sodium in your diet
  5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  6. Quit smoking
  7. Cut back on caffeine
  8. Reduce your stress
  9. Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly
  10. 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 Fit Personwill 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.

Weight Training

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.

Success

 

Take your future into your own hands and don’t start thinking about this after a stroke, like I did.

 

 

 

 

So You Had a Stroke – What Now?

Stroke Testing

So you had a stroke, what now? That’s the question we probably all ask our self at some point while sitting in the hospital room or at home later. Are you going to make changes to recover and reduce your future risk of a stroke or are you going right back to the bad habits that helped you get where you are today?

My What Now Moment

My “what now” moment came five years after my stroke. It’s crazy that it took that long. Hospital Test

You would think that while being run through all the testing there at the hospital that I would have been saying “NEVER AGAIN”. I don’t actually ever remember saying it. I know my family was saying things like, “I’ll bet you will be motivated to make healthier changes now, right”?

My real “stroke what now” moment came much later. I had made many attempts to lose weight and eat better but all of them ended in failure because I just did not have the determination to start with easy changes and follow through with them.

The problem is that not only did I not lose weight, I actually gained weight as the many “diets” I went on failed, due to “the me” factor. Any diet can work but it has to become a lifestyle change.

So, now I am 20 pounds over what I was when I had the stroke. I have been making good progress in changing my diet but I have not been successful at exercising regularly. Recently I have been feeling a little pain in my left arm which is not good, which brings me back to my “what now” moment. I haven’t made the changes I needed to make in the last five years and I fear that I am getting close to another stroke or heart attack.

I really am at a serious “what now” moment.

Is it Too Late?

I hope it is not too late for me to make some serious changes. Is it too late? Only time and the future will tell.

It is now or never. I may live a lot longer, taking some pills to put off the inevitable, but with my family history, time is not on my side. I recently wrote about taking some simple steps to help get started in my “Where Do I Start” article.” I have a quick update on the steps I noted I was going to take this week. So far I refocused on eating more healthy, I walked 1 mile before going to work today and then while at work I took a break from sitting and climbed seven flights of stairs. I am already feeling better just doing that.

I believe that it is not to late for me and I want to encourage you to start improving your health even if you think it is too late for you.

Moving Forward

Now What?

I am not in the health profession so these are just my thoughts as I went through my stroke recovery.

FaithMy first word of advice is to keep a good attitude as you engage in your recovery. Part of this advice comes through watching my mom during her recover in the last seven years since her massive stroke. One comment my mom and dad get over and over, when they are at the rehab center is, you always have such a great attitude and you have been dealing with this for a long time. Then they ask, “how do you do it”? A big part is their belief in God and the comfort that comes from their faith. No matter if you believe in God or not, your positive attitude has more of an effect on you and how you approach hardships while at the same time provides encouragement to others around you.

The second thing that is important is being dedicated to following your physical therapy no matter how long it takes. There are really two choices when you break it down. You can be positive and move forward with your rehabilitation or you can have a bad attitude and give up. I link these two things together because of personal observation that people with a negative outlook on life, tend to give up more quickly on their recovery. A negative attitude affects you in a multitude of ways and it also affects the people around you, some who may be helping you.

This brings me to my third “Now What” thing to do and that is to come up with some simple things that you can begin making to improve your recover or outlook on life. There may be some big things to do or programs to join but I believe the most success comes from you looking at your life and start taking one step at a time and make some simple easy changes.

I laid out some easy things in my last article so I won’t go over those again, other than to reiterate the best approach is to make simple changes then move on to bigger changes later.

Talk to Your Doctor or Physical Therapist

Please do yourself a favor, while starting little things at home to improve your health, and talk to your health care provider. I personally haveDoctor an issue with people pushing me to prescriptions before giving natural remedies time to work but every stroke victim is different. My recommendation is to find a doctor that uses both medicine and natural remedies and works toward eventually getting you off most of your medicine or all of it.

The biggest risk we all take is thinking we don’t need any medicine and will lose the weight and lower our blood pressure on our own, then we won’t need to take medication. That is my personal attitude but I know I need to go in for another check up and just make it known to my doctor that, if I need to be on medication, I only want it to be on them temporarily. We all just need to be careful and make the right decisions when dealing with a potential future stroke.

Final Thoughts Moving Forward

I want to leave you with these final thoughts on moving forward. Take some time to think about how you want your life to look in five or ten years. Time will fly by and you may find yourself shocked that you haven’t made any positive changes in your life or you may be pleasantly surprised that you have made huge gains over the years as these little things just added up.

Do your self a favor and really ponder your future. Many good things have come out of bad situations. I for one, am moving forward with determination to improve my health and help others do the same.

Looking Forward