Controlling High Blood Pressure without Drugs
Before treating hypertension, physicians need the patient’s medical history, perform physical examination and take lab tests to determine the causes and effects that have led to hypertension. These tests include chest X-rays to check if the heart is enlarged, an electrocardiogram to check heart condition and blood and urine tests to check kidney function.
Unless your blood pressure is dangerously high, the doctor will try to control it using a drugless treatment. He will advise you try to shed any excess weight you may have, through a proper diet and exercise. Being overweight can cause hypertension, and weight reduction can reverse an obesity-related hypertension.
Your doctor may recommend a low-fat diet to reduce the risk of it accumulating in the arteries, as well as reducing salt intake. The typical American diet contains about 10 grams of salt per day; reducing it in half (5 grams) is enough to control hypertension in a third of the patients. If you must follow a low salt diet, a dietitian will help you design a balanced diet, in this case it’s important to not remove salt from your diet completely since the body needs sodium to function properly.
Moderate exercise should be part of your daily lifestyle. If you are going to follow an exercise program, you should first consult with your doctor. Recreational and leisure activities should also be considered, as these’ll help you relax and relieve stress. In addition, exercising will help you maintain an ideal weight and this in turn will help improve your blood pressure control.
If you are overweight, your doctor will tell you how to decrease the amount of calories you eat per day to lose weight.
It’s been known for years that smoking causes hypertension as it damages the blood vessels. If you smoke you should quit. A new study has also shown a negative short-term effect, “while you’re smoking a cigarette, your blood pressure rises because nicotine constricts blood vessels.