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Lower Your Blood Pressure for Better Health

By Paul Rothbart

Medical professionals use several numeric indicators to determine a patient's risk of chronic disease. One of the main indicators is blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems that can be fatal. If your blood pressure is high, you want to get it down into the normal range. There are medications for hypertension, but as with any type of drug, there are side effects. There are natural ways to lower blood pressure with lifestyle changes.

Consume Less Sodium

Sodium mainly enters the body through salt. Even a small reduction in sodium intake can have a significant impact on blood pressure. Ideally, you want to take in no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day. To achieve this, carefully read food labels to be aware of the amount of sodium in each serving. Avoid processed foods as they commonly are loaded with salt. As most meals are already seasoned, don't add extra salt when served. Watch out for beverages too. Many of them also contain high levels of sodium.

Get Exercise

Exercising regularly, 30 minutes a day, five days a week is a very effective way to lower blood pressure. You don't have to train like an Olympic athlete. A brisk walk is more than sufficient. You will also be burning calories which aids weight loss. Extra weight, especially around the waistline can contribute to high blood pressure. For men, a waistline of greater than 40 inches increases the risk of high blood pressure while for women the number is 35. These are for average people. Check with your doctor for guidelines specific to your body type.

Lower Your Stress Levels

Research has shown that high-stress levels may raise blood pressure. This is particularly true when the reaction to stress is to drink or eat excessively. To lower your stress level, find ways to avoid things that trigger it. If you hate heavy traffic, leave for work a bit earlier to avoid rush hour. Try not to interact with people who get on your nerves and stress you out. It's also important to spend time relaxing and doing things that you love. Practices like meditation or yoga are excellent ways to reduce stress. Less stress will also benefit your overall health.

High blood pressure is a serious condition that can have dire consequences. Have yours checked regularly. If it's high, take steps to bring it down to normal. Your risk of many diseases will be much lower.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in El Cajon, Calif.

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