6 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure


As we age, it is common to develop high blood pressure or hypertension. In fact 53% of Canadians over the age of 60 have hypertension.  Unlike other serious medical conditions, you can do something about hypertension, beyond taking medication.  Several lifestyle changes have been proven to lower blood pressure.

Measure your blood pressure at home. There is a specific method of how and when to measure at home that will determine your “real average” blood pressure.

• Lose weight. Statistics Canada reports that over 60% of Canadians between 45 and 64 years of age are “medically overweight (BMI >25) or obese (BMI >30)”.  Body Mass Index (BMI) is a calculation using your height and weight.  Studies have shown that for every 2.2 lbs. of weight loss, blood pressure is reduced by 1.6 mmHg / 1.1 mmHg.

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• Get Moving. A survey of physical activity among Canadian adults found that only 12% of people over 60 and less than 20% of people aged 40-59 were meeting the guideline of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week.  You do not need to train like an Olympic athlete, but you do need to work your heart.  Get your heart rate to 55% – 65% of your maximum heart rate (MHR).  A simple calculation for MHR is 220 – Age, so if your 60, your MHR is approximately 160 and you need to exercise at 96 beats per minute.  Ideally, break up the 150 minutes into 20 or 30 minute sessions.  It doesn’t matter what you do, walk, swim, jog, dance or cycle.  They are all great for heart fitness.

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• Reduce the amount of salt you eat. There is clinical evidence that reducing sodium in your diet can have a direct impact on lowering your blood pressure significantly.  The target is to reduce your sodium intake to 2000 mg or lower, that is 5g of salt a day.  In order to do this you will have to read the nutrient facts on packaging, and eat more of your own meals where you can limit the amount of salt.

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If you have hypertension, consuming a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grain foods rich in dietary fibre, protein from plant sources, and reducing saturated fats and cholesterol will lower blood pressure. If you are really serious about lowering your blood pressure with diet, follow the “DASH” diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).  There are several cook books and recipes available on-line that will help.  A study referenced in Hypertension Canada’s Guidelines found that when hypertensive patients followed the DASH diet their respective blood pressure fell significantly by 11.4 mmHg / 5 mmHg.

• Limit Alcohol. Hypertension Canada Guidelines suggest <2 drinks per day, and consumption should not exceed 14 drinks per week for men and 9 drinks per week for women.

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There is significant clinical evidence to show that individuals can dramatically lower their blood pressure by changing their exercise and dietary habits.

For more information on blood pressure and how to measure accurately at home, visit www.biosmedical.com

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