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Blood pressure 185/86

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Renee, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Renee

    Renee Well known member

    I got my blood pressure checked last week and it was high. I have had it checked several times since then and it is still in this range. I really, really don't want to go to a dr about this or go on meds but I am scaring myself thinking I could have a stroke. I have always had good readings until now.

    I have had a really bad flare-up of vulvodynia since last May. I'm wondering if being so miserable for so long could contribute to high blood pressure. The neck pain that I had for a year and a half finally got better last December after four months of ignoring it and stopping all treatment. So I'm also wondering if it is being replaced with high blood pressure, as if I don't have enough to distract me with the vulvodynia flare-up.

    Are there any diagnostic tests that a dr can do besides just taking your blood pressure? Or do they just put you on meds based on the blood pressure test?
     
  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Blood pressure can vary, especially when we are under stress. I would take medication for it as the last resort. There are many ways to lower blood pressure naturally, and here are a few suggestions from the American Heart Association.



    1. Go for power walks
    Hypertensive patients who went for fitness walks at a brisk pace lowered pressure by almost 8 mmhg over 6 mmhg. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn't work as hard to pump blood. Get a vigorous cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Try increasing speed or distance so you keep challenging your ticker.


    2. Breathe deeply
    Slow breathing and meditative practices such as qigong, yoga, and tai chi decrease stress hormones, which elevate renin, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Try 5 minutes in the morning and at night. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension. (Try these stress-busting yoga poses to relieve tension and check out this gorgeous yoga mat to complement your practice.)

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    3. Pick potatoes

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    Loading up on potassium-rich fruits and vegetables is an important part of any blood pressure-lowering program, says Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical. Aim for potassium levels of 2,000 to 4,000 mg a day, she says. Top sources of potassium-rich produce include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins.
    Are you at risk for the #1 cause of heart-related death?

    4. Be salt smart
    Certain groups of people—the elderly, African Americans, and those with a family history of high blood pressure—are more likely than others to have blood pressure that's particularly salt (or sodium) sensitive. But because there's no way to tell whether any one individual is sodium sensitive, everyone should lower his sodium intake, says Eva Obarzanek, PhD, a research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How far? To 1,500 mg daily, about half the average American intake, she says. (Half a teaspoon of salt contains about 1,200 mg of sodium.) Cutting sodium means more than going easy on the saltshaker, which contributes just 15% of the sodium in the typical American diet. Watch for sodium in processed foods, Obarzanek warns. That’s where most of the sodium in your diet comes from, she says. Season foods with spices, herbs, lemon, and salt-free seasoning blends. (For more ways to reduce your sodium, see 6 simple ways to lower your salt intake.)

    5. Indulge in dark chocolate
    Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic. In one study, 18% of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure decrease. Have ½ ounce daily (make sure it contains at least 70% cocoa, like these Cacao Wafers).

    6. Take a supplement
    In a review of 12 studies, researchers found that coenzyme Q10 reduced blood pressure by up to 17 mmhg over 10 mmhg. The antioxidant, required for energy production, dilates blood vessels. Ask your doctor about taking a 60 to 100 mg supplement up to 3 times a day

    7. Drink (a little) alcohol

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    According to a review of 15 studies, the less you drink, the lower your blood pressure will drop—to a point. A study of women at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, for example, found that light drinking (defined as one-quarter to one-half a drink per day for a woman) may actually reduce blood pressure more than no drinks per day. One "drink" is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. Other studies have also found that moderate drinking—up to one drink a day for a woman, two for a man—can lower risks of heart disease. "High levels of alcohol are clearly detrimental," says Obarzanek. "But moderate alcohol is protective of the heart. If you are going to drink, drink moderately."
    MORE: Sneaky Signs You Drink Too Much

    8. Switch to decaf coffee
    Scientists have long debated the effects of caffeine on blood pressure. Some studies have shown no effect, but one from Duke University Medical Center found that caffeine consumption of 500 mg—roughly three 8-ounce cups of coffee—increased blood pressure by 4 mmhg, and that effect lasted until bedtime. For reference, 8 ounces of drip coffee contain 100 to 125 mg; the same amount of tea, 50 mg; an equal quantity of cola, about 40 mg. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by tightening blood vessels and by magnifying the effects of stress, says Jim Lane, PhD, associate research professor at Duke and the lead author of the study. "When you're under stress, your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, boosting blood pressure," he says. "And caffeine exaggerates that effect." If you drink a lot of joe, pour more decaf to protect your ticker.

    9. Take up tea
    Lowering high blood pressure is as easy as one, two, tea: Study participants who sipped 3 cups of a hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic blood pressure by 7 points in 6 weeks on average, say researchers from Tufts University—results on par with many prescription medications. Those who received a placebo drink improved their reading by only 1 point. The phytochemicals in hibiscus are probably responsible for the large reduction in high blood pressure, say the study authors. Many herbal teas contain hibiscus; look for blends that list it near the top of the chart of ingredients—this often indicates a higher concentration per serving. (See when your tea is perfectly steeped using this elegant glass teapot with infuser.)

    10. Work (a bit) less
    Putting in more than 41 hours per week at the office raises your risk of hypertension by 15%, according to a University of California, Irvine, study of 24,205 California residents. Overtime makes it hard to exercise and eat healthy, says Haiou Yang, PhD, the lead researcher. It may be difficult to clock out super early in today’s tough economic times, but try to leave at a decent hour—so you can go to the gym or cook a healthy meal—as often as possible. Set an end-of-day message on your computer as a reminder to turn it off and go home. Follow these tips to make your weekends stress-free.

    11. Relax with music
     
  3. Renee

    Renee Well known member

    Lots of good info. Thank you Walt.
     
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    You're welcome. I'm 85 and have learned that life is all a matter of MindBody, and learning how to relax and not take it so seriously.
     
    Renee likes this.

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