Blood Pressure

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Blood Pressure.

High blood pressure: Take steps to control it
Secondary high blood pressure: When another condition causes hypertension
Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure
Tip # 1 -
What you need to know about high blood-pressure
Tip #2 - Are you measuring your blood-pressure correctly?
Tip #6 -
Exercise your way to lower blood-pressure
The Better Blood Pressure Diet


Blood Pressure Category
Systolic mm Hg (upper #)

Diastolic mm Hg (lower #)


less than 120
less than 80


120 – 139
80 – 89

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1

140 – 159
90 – 99

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2

160 or higher
100 or higher

Hypertensive Crisis (Emergency care needed)

Higher than 180
Higher than 110


High blood pressure: Take steps to control it

Lifestyle changes are an essential part of controlling high blood pressure.

A healthy lifestyle is an integral part of any treatment plan to control high blood pressure. Even if you need medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), and many people do, your lifestyle still plays a central role in your treatment strategy. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.

By making only one healthy change to your lifestyle, you're likely to be more successful controlling your blood pressure than is someone who doesn't make any changes. A lower blood pressure can help you live a longer and fuller life, and prevent heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and dementia.

Lifestyle changes that can change your life

Lifestyle change — it may sound both simple and overwhelming at the same time. But, breaking it down to manageable pieces can help you start down the road to reducing your blood pressure and benefiting from the trickle down health effects of doing so.

Lose excess weight

Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure by several points. In general, the greater the weight loss, the greater the reduction in blood pressure. Weight loss also increases the effectiveness of blood pressure medications (antihypertensives).

Check your weight. Calculating your body mass index (BMI) and measuring your waist circumference are two ways to help tell if you're overweight or obese. In general, if your BMI is 25 to 29, you're overweight, and if it's 30 or higher, you're obese.

Measure your waist circumference. Waist circumference is a useful tool to assess abdominal fat. In general, men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches. And women, in general, are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches.

Talk to your doctor. You and your doctor can determine your target weight and the best way to achieve it.

Make changes. Eat healthier, exercise and change self-defeating behaviors, such as late-night snacking or big servings at meals. Medications or even surgery might be options for some people.

Avoid questionable products. Don't be lured by promises of easy fixes with over-the-counter diet products or supplements that can actually harm you, such as those containing ephedra. Dietary supplements that contain ephedra have been banned in the United States since April 2004.

Weight loss: 6 strategies for success

Exercise regularly

Physical activity is an important part of an overall strategy to control blood pressure. If you have prehypertension, exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.

Regular physical activity — at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by several points. And it doesn't take long to see a difference. If you've been sedentary, increasing your activity can lower your blood pressure within just a few weeks. People with hypertension who are active and fit may live longer than those who don't exercise.

Evaluate your current activity level. Are you getting at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week? If not, consider increasing your activity level.

Develop an exercise program. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program tailored to your needs and medical conditions. Your doctor can help determine whether you need any exercise restrictions. Even moderate activity, such as walking, can help.

Add strength training. Strength training can slow and reverse declines in strength, bone density and muscle mass that occur as you age. It's also helpful in controlling blood pressure. However, if you have high blood pressure, don't do strenuous, prolonged isometric exercises — straining of your muscles without moving. Isometrics can significantly increase your blood pressure during exercise and for a short time afterward.

Don't be a weekend warrior. Trying to squeeze all your exercise in on the weekends to make up for weekday inactivity isn't a good strategy. If you have uncontrolled hypertension or heart problems, those sudden bursts of activity could actually do more harm than good.

Eat a healthy diet

Remember that old saying, "You are what you eat"? While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, what you eat certainly can affect your blood pressure.

A key research study called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) showed that you can reduce your blood pressure by following an eating plan that is rich in grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. A DASH-style eating plan can reduce your blood pressure by up to 14 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Evaluate your eating style. Keep a food diary, even for just a week, to assess your eating patterns and habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why. This can shed surprising light on your true eating habits.

Eat healthier foods. Follow the DASH diet for a healthy eating style. Make grains, vegetables and fruits the mainstays of your diet, with plenty of low-fat dairy products. Eat less red meat and fewer sweets and fats.

Consider boosting potassium. While most Americans get too much sodium, they often get too little potassium. Potassium can blunt the adverse effects of sodium on blood pressure, reduce the risk of kidney stones and possibly reduce bone loss. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Some packaged food products list potassium on the labels. Bear in mind that too much potassium can be toxic. And in people with certain conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, renal disease, severe heart failure and adrenal insufficiency, overly high potassium intake can lead to life-threatening complications. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that's best for you.

Be a smart consumer. Make a shopping list before heading to the supermarket. Read food labels when you shop. And don't be lured by tempting displays of candy or cookies. Stick to your healthy-eating plan when you're dining out, too.

Cut yourself some slack. Although the DASH diet is a lifelong eating guide, it doesn't mean you have to cut out all of the foods you love. It's OK to treat yourself occasionally to foods you probably wouldn't find on a DASH diet menu, like a candy bar or mashed potatoes with gravy.

Reduce sodium in your diet

Consuming more sodium than you need may raise your blood pressure. The DASH study found that even a modest reduction in sodium intake can reduce blood pressure. And bigger cutbacks mean greater reductions in blood pressure.

Calculate your sodium consumption. Keep a food diary to estimate how much sodium you consume each day. You may be surprised at how much you're taking in. Most healthy adults need only between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. But if you have hypertension, are older than 50, are black, or have such chronic conditions as kidney disease or diabetes, you may be more sensitive to sodium and its ability to raise blood pressure. In that case, aim for less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day.

Don't add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices, rather than salt, to add more flavor to your foods.

Ease into it. If you don't feel like you can drastically reduce your sodium consumption suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will adjust over time.

Read food labels. Look at the sodium content before you buy. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives. Even some foods you think are healthy, such as some vegetable juices, may contain surprisingly high amounts of sodium.

Eat fewer processed foods. Potato chips, frozen dinners and cured meats, such as bacon and processed luncheon meats, are high in sodium.

Eat more fresh foods. Fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grains contain little sodium.

Check your water softener. Water softeners are sometimes a hidden source of sodium in your water at home — although cold water to the kitchen often isn't softened. If your water softener adds excessive sodium to the water you drink, you might want to consider switching to a different water-purification system or buying demineralized water for drinking and cooking.

Limit alcohol consumption

Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can help prevent heart attacks and coronary artery disease. But that protective effect is lost if you drink excessive amounts of alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for women and more than two a day for men. The reason for the difference between men and women in the amount of alcohol recommended is not because of differences in body size, rather it is that women metabolize alcohol differently than men do. At those higher levels, alcohol can raise blood pressure by several points. In addition, it can reduce the effectiveness of your high blood pressure medications, compounding the risks of excessive alcohol consumption.

Assess your drinking patterns. Along with your food diary, keep an alcohol diary to track your true drinking patterns. One drink equals one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine or one 1.5-ounce shot of whiskey. If you're drinking more than the suggested amounts, cut back.

Consider tapering off. If you're a heavy drinker, suddenly eliminating all alcohol can actually trigger severe hypertension for several days. So when you stop drinking, do it with the supervision of your doctor or taper off slowly, over one to two weeks.

Don't binge. Binge drinking — having four or more drinks in a row — can cause large and sudden increases in blood pressure, in addition to other health problems. Don't abstain during the week and make up for it on the weekend.

Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke

On top of other health threats, the nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg or more. Although that increase may be only temporary, lasting 30 to 60 minutes after using tobacco, having repeated elevations through the course of the day means your blood pressure may remain constantly high. In addition, chemicals in tobacco can damage your arteries and cause fluid retention, both of which can raise your blood pressure. And like alcohol, tobacco products can interfere with the effectiveness of your blood pressure medications.

Don't use any tobacco. That includes pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and other forms of tobacco, not just cigarettes. The combination of high blood pressure and tobacco use increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Once you stop smoking, your blood pressure may drop by a few points. Although that might not seem like much, you'll also reap the other health benefits of stopping, such as reducing your risk of lung cancer.

Avoid secondhand smoke. Inhaling smoke from others also puts you at risk of health problems.

Limit caffeine consumption

The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debatable. Drinking caffeinated beverages can temporarily cause a spike in your blood pressure. And some studies show that people who drink caffeine regularly have a higher average blood pressure, suggesting that caffeine might have a long-term impact. But other studies show you can develop a tolerance to caffeine so that it doesn't affect your blood pressure. A November 2005 study showed drinking coffee — even a lot of it — didn't seem to increase the risk of high blood pressure in women, but drinking colas containing caffeine did. However, it isn't clear whether there are other properties of the two beverages that might be affecting blood pressure.

Check your caffeine consumption. Tally up how much caffeine you consume in an average day. Some doctors recommend limiting caffeine to 200 mg a day — about the amount in two cups of coffee.

Test your sensitivity. To see if caffeine might be raising your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage you regularly consume. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood-pressure-raising effects of caffeine.

Reduce your stress levels

As with caffeine, the influence of stress on blood pressure isn't settled. Stress or anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure. That's why some people develop white-coat hypertension — a brief rise in blood pressure when they visit the doctor's office or are in stressful situations. But others may thrive on stress.

Identify your stressors. You need to know what your stressors are before you can act on them. Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness.

Reduce your stressors. Once you know what's causing you stress, see which stressors you can eliminate or reduce. For instance, if you typically say yes to each favor asked of you, start saying no to some requests. If you get stuck putting in overtime every day, talk to your supervisor about a more balanced workload.

Learn better coping methods. If you can't eliminate all of your stressors, you can at least cope with them in a healthier way. Take breaks for deep-breathing exercises. Get a massage or take up yoga or meditation. If self-help doesn't work, seek out a professional for counseling. Try meditation or ask your doctor about purchasing a machine that helps teach slow deep breathing.

Get regular health care

When you have high blood pressure, you'll likely need to monitor your blood pressure at home. Learning to self-monitor your blood pressure can be a motivating force in making and monitoring lifestyle changes to control blood pressure. In addition, a record of your blood pressure readings helps your doctor know if your medications are working or if they might need to be adjusted.

Regular visits to your doctor are also likely to become a part of your normal routine. These visits will help keep tabs on your blood pressure — and ensure that you don't neglect other health concerns.

Have a primary care doctor. People who don't have a primary care doctor find it harder to control their blood pressure. If you can, visit the same health care facility or professional for all of your health care needs.

Visit your doctor routinely. If your blood pressure is not well controlled, or if you have other medical problems, you might need to visit your doctor every month to review your treatment and make adjustments. If your blood pressure is well controlled, you might need to visit your doctor only every six to 12 months, depending on other conditions you might have. People who have frequent blood pressure checks at their doctor's office are more likely to control their blood pressure than are those who go a year or more between visits.

Cultivate a support system

Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor's office or embark on an exercise program with you. Knowing that someone cares about you may inspire you to stick to healthy habits and take your blood pressure medication on schedule.

Enlist support. Talk to your family and friends about the dangers of high blood pressure. If they understand the potential complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure, they're more likely to support your efforts to change unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Join a support group. A support group brings together people who share similar interests or concerns. Joining a support group may put you in touch with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost, and who can offer practical tips to cope with your condition.

The payoff: Healthier living

Despite the big benefits offered by making these healthy changes, only about half the people with high blood pressure try to modify their lifestyle as a way to treat their condition.

For most people, these are not drastic changes in daily life, but they offer significant rewards. When your blood pressure is under control, your risk of life-threatening complications, such as heart attack and stroke, decreases and you may live a longer and happier life.


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Secondary high blood pressure: When another condition causes hypertension

Various conditions can cause secondary high blood pressure. Treating these underlying conditions can control — or cure — your high blood pressure.

When something goes wrong in one part of your body, a ripple effect can create problems elsewhere — such as high blood pressure (hypertension). In fact, 5 percent to 10 percent of high blood pressure cases are caused by an underlying condition, according to the American Heart Association.

This type of high blood pressure, known as secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly. But there's good news. Proper treatment can often control or cure both the underlying condition and the high blood pressure, which reduces the risk of serious complications — including heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.

Here's a look at possible causes of secondary hypertension.

Diabetic nephropathy

Your kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessels that filter waste from your blood and eliminate it in your urine. But diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. In fact, diabetic nephropathy is the most common type of kidney failure — which is nearly always associated with high blood pressure. The high blood pressure can be treated with diet, exercise and medication. If your kidney function dips too low, you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

In this inherited condition, cysts in the kidneys disrupt normal function and raise blood pressure. The high blood pressure can be treated with diet, exercise and medication. The polycystic disease may ultimately require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Glomerular disease

Your kidneys filter waste and sodium using microscopic filters called glomeruli. Inflammation of these filters is called glomerulonephritis. If the inflamed glomeruli can't function normally, you may develop high blood pressure. The high blood pressure can be treated with diet, exercise and medication. Glomerulonephritis may be treated with medication, dialysis or a kidney transplant.


In this condition, certain parts of one or both kidneys become plugged. This blocks urine flow and raises blood pressure. Some blockages resolve without treatment, but others require drainage or surgery. Once the blockage is removed, blood pressure often returns to normal.

Renovascular hypertension

This is a type of secondary hypertension caused by narrowing (stenosis) of one or both renal arteries. Renovascular hypertension can cause severe hypertension and irreversible kidney damage. It's often caused by the same type of fatty plaques that can damage your coronary arteries (atherosclerosis) or a condition in which the muscle and fibrous tissues of the renal artery wall thicken and harden into rings (fibromuscular dysplasia).

In mild cases, the high blood pressure may be treated with diet, exercise and medication while kidney function is simply monitored. In more severe cases, the doctor may open clogged arteries with a procedure known as angioplasty. Wire mesh tubes (stents) may be used to hold the arteries open. Another option is to surgically bypass blood flow around the affected arteries. Once blood flow to the kidneys improves, blood pressure usually returns to normal.

Cushing's syndrome

In this condition, corticosteroid medications, a pituitary tumor or other factors cause the adrenal glands to produce too much of the hormone cortisol. This raises blood pressure. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy or medication to return both cortisol and blood pressure to normal.


In this condition, a tumor in the adrenal gland, increased growth of normal cells or other factors cause the adrenal glands to release an excessive amount of the hormone aldosterone. This makes your kidneys retain salt and water and lose too much potassium, which raises blood pressure. Treatment may include medication to block the action of aldosterone, surgery to remove a tumor in the adrenal gland, and diet, exercise and medication to treat the high blood pressure.


This rare tumor in the adrenal gland increases production of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, which can lead to persistent high blood pressure or marked fluctuations in blood pressure. Surgery to remove the tumor returns blood pressure to normal.


This condition occurs when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone, which can cause high blood pressure. Hypothyroidism may have various causes, including inflammation, surgery, radiation treatment, certain medications or pituitary problems. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormones usually returns blood pressure to normal.


This condition occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This can increase the activity of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which can increase blood pressure. Treatment may include medication, radioactive iodine therapy or surgery, all of which can restore normal blood pressure.


The parathyroid glands regulate levels of calcium and phosphorus in your body. If the glands secrete too much parathyroid hormone, the amount of calcium in your blood rises — which triggers a rise in blood pressure. Treatment is typically removal of the parathyroid glands, which returns blood pressure to normal.

Coarctation of the aorta

With this congenital defect of the body's main artery (aorta), a constriction (coarctation) in part of the aorta forces the heart to pump harder to get blood through the aorta and to the rest of your body. This, in turn, raises blood pressure — particularly in your arms. Surgery to repair the aorta can restore normal blood pressure.

Sleep apnea

In this condition, breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The repeated episodes of oxygen deprivation may damage the cellular lining of the blood vessel walls, which may deprive blood vessels of the elasticity they need to regulate blood pressure. Treating sleep apnea with a pressure mask, nasal devices, surgery, weight loss or other steps can help control the high blood pressure.


As you gain weight, the amount of blood circulating through your body increases. This puts added pressure on your artery walls. In addition, excess weight often is associated with an increase in heart rate and a reduction in the capacity of your blood vessels to transport blood. All of these factors can increase blood pressure.


This common pregnancy complication, characterized by protein in the urine and elevated blood pressure, can develop after the 20th week of pregnancy. Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to life-threatening complications for both mother and baby. The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby, which restores normal blood pressure.

Medications and supplements

Various prescription medications — from pain relievers to antidepressants and drugs used after organ transplants — can cause or aggravate high blood pressure. Birth control pills, decongestants and certain herbal supplements, including ginseng and St. John's wort, may have the same effect. Many illicit drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, also increase blood pressure.

Treatment offers control

Once an underlying condition is effectively treated, secondary high blood pressure may decrease or even return to normal. Often, however, lifestyle changes — such as eating healthy foods, increasing physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight — remain an important part of blood pressure management. You may need to continue to take blood pressure medication as well.

Treatment can sometimes be complicated. But once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.

Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

Here's some good and bad news for chocoholics: Dark chocolate seems to lower blood pressure, but it requires an amount less than two Hershey's Kisses to do it, a small study suggests. The new research from Germany adds to mounting evidence linking dark chocolate with health benefits, but it's the first to suggest that just a tiny amount may suffice.

Volunteers for the study ate just over 6 grams of dark chocolate daily for almost five months _ one square from a German chocolate bar called Ritter Sport, equal to about 1 1/2 Hershey's Kisses. People who ate that amount ended up with lower blood pressure readings than those who ate white chocolate.

University of Cologne researcher Dr. Dirk Taubert, the study's lead author, said the blood pressure reductions with dark chocolate were small but still substantial enough to potentially reduce cardiovascular disease risks, although study volunteers weren't followed long enough to measure that effect.

The research involved just 44 people aged 56 through 73, but the results echo other small studies of cocoa-containing foods. Cocoa contains flavanols, plant-based compounds that also are credited with giving red wine its heart-healthy benefits.

One problem is chocolate bars containing cocoa tend to have lots of calories, so Taubert and his colleagues tested small amounts containing just 30 calories each.

The study appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. It was funded by University Hospital in Cologne.

The results are interesting but need to be duplicated in larger, more ethnically diverse populations, said Dr. Laura Svetkey, director of Duke University's Hypertension Center.

She stressed that the study results should not be viewed as license to gorge on chocolate.

"I would be as happy as the next person if I got to eat more chocolate," she said, but cautioned that weight gain from eating large amounts of dark chocolate would counteract any benefits on blood pressure.

Study participants were otherwise healthy and mostly normal-weight German adults with mild high blood pressure or pre-hypertension, which includes readings between 120 over 80 and 139 over 89.

Average blood pressure at the start was about 147 over 86.

Every day for 18 weeks, the volunteers were instructed to eat one-square portions of a 16-square Ritter Sport bar, or a similar portion of white chocolate. White chocolate doesn't contain cocoa.

Systolic blood pressure, the top number, fell an average of nearly three points and diastolic dropped almost two points in the dark chocolate group, compared with no change in blood pressure readings in the white chocolate group.

Tests suggested that steady exposure to dark chocolate prompted chemical changes that helped dilate blood vessels and regulate blood pressure, the researchers said.

Participants were told not to eat other cocoa-containing products and to continue regular eating habits and activity levels. They also kept food diaries so researchers could see if other foods might have influenced the results.

But, said Taubert, "It is very unlikely that other factors may explain the blood pressure reduction."

Dr. Lawrence Appel of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said the most proven non-drug methods for lowering blood pressure are losing weight and eating less salt. Eating dark chocolate might help if combined with those two, he said.

For most people, "the lower your blood pressure, the better you are. So if you can get it lower from different strategies that's good for the long term," Appel said.
Source: Lindsey Tanner,

Tip #1 - What you need to know about high blood-pressure

Before introducing non-drug ways to lower blood-pressure, let's cover the basic facts about blood-pressure. We'll also provide a few online resources should you want to read more.

What is blood-pressure?

Blood-pressure is the force of blood exerted on the inside walls of blood vessels.

Blood-pressure is expressed as a ratio (eg 120/80). The first, top number is the systolic pressure or the peak pressure when the heart pushes blood out into the arteries. The second, bottom number is the diastolic pressure or the lowest pressure when the heart rests.

Your blood-pressure normally varies during the day. It's generally lowest at night and increases in the morning to reach a peak in the afternoon. It increases during activity and decreases at rest.

What are the risks of high blood-pressure?

Normal blood-pressure is less than 120/80 points. Higher levels of blood-pressure (hypertension), a condition referred to as the "silent killer," can develop for years without any signs or symptoms.

Left untreated, the damage high blood-pressure causes to blood vessels and vital organs increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, heart failure, dementia and blindness.

What are the benefits of lowering high blood-pressure?

Luckily, high blood-pressure is manageable and lowering it can greatly reduce your risk of developing associated life-threatening conditions. For example, lowering blood-pressure by 14 systolic points for 5 years has been shown to provide:

Where to find more information?

The Mayo Clinic's High Blood Pressure Center

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Web site "Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure"

If you really want to be clinical, download the "Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High blood-pressure" (JNC 7)

Tip #2 - Are you measuring your blood-pressure correctly?

Did you know that 26% of all people who are told they have high blood-pressure are misdiagnosed and are either over treated or under treated?

Here are a few tips on how to measure blood-pressure correctly. It may seem a bit cumbersome at first, but keep in mind that with blood-pressure, every millimeter point counts.

Tip #3 - Do you suffer from "white-coat" hypertension?

What is "white-coat" hypertension?

If your home blood-pressure measurements are consistently lower than blood-pressure measured at your doctor's office, you might suffer from a common condition called "white-coat" hypertension.

So what is your real blood-pressure?

Both measurements are true. Physiologically, "white-coat" hypertension means that your body is probably more reactive to stressful events. This means that you probably have elevated blood-pressure many times during the day that you may not be aware of.

Should I be concerned about "white-coat" hypertension?

"White-Coat" hypertension is not as dangerous as sustained hypertension (hypertension which is present all the time). However, individuals who have "white-coat" hypertension may have a higher risk of complications and cardiovascular disease than those with completely normal blood-pressure all the time. Another risk of "white-coat" hypertension is that individuals with this condition may develop sustained hypertension at a later time.

So what can be done about it?

Daily home blood-pressure monitoring has been shown to somewhat reduce "white-coat" hypertension, although it's not clear if it reduces the long term risk of high reactivity to stress. And, learn how to deal with daily stress.

Tip #4 - How to deal with "blood-pressure elevating" stress.

It is common wisdom that stress can momentarily elevate your blood-pressure. In fact, many scientists believe that our highly stressed modern way of life is one of the underlying causes of high blood-pressure (hypertension).

Risks increase over the long term

According to the Mayo Clinic on High Blood Pressure, "The effects of acute stress are usually only temporary. However, if you experience stress regularly, the increases in blood-pressure that it produces over time damage your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys and eyes -- just as with persistent high blood-pressure. This cumulative effect of stress often goes unrecognized until it manifests itself as a serious health problem." 1

So what can be done about it?

To reduce stress, relaxation is always recommended, however in most cases it is impractical. Here are some suggestions you can try instead:

Tip #5 - Can your diet help lower blood-pressure?

Ok, we are sure your doctor has told you (on more than one occasion) that losing extra weight and eating better can reduce high blood-pressure.

As we know it is "easier said than done," we thought we'd provide you with few facts and tools that can help.

Tip #6 - Exercise your way to lower blood-pressure

In addition to diet, it's likely that your doctor has also mentioned that physical exercise can help lower blood-pressure. But did you know that mild exercise, such as walking, may reduce blood-pressure just as much or even more than strenuous activities, such as jogging? The good news is that every bit of activity counts.

A recent statement prepared jointly by the American College of Sports Medicine and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you accumulate 30 minutes or more of exercise on most days of the week.

A rather inexpensive pedometer can help you reach your goals counting steps, aerobic steps, distance in miles and calories burned.

Missing # 7

Tip #8 - How sleep affects your blood-pressure.

This may sound trivial but it's important to acknowledge that sleeping well can help lower blood-pressure. Here are some facts and suggestions for getting a good night's sleep, every night.

Get plenty of sleep - When you are refreshed, you're better able to tackle the next day's problems, allowing you to avoid and better cope with stress.

If you have difficulty falling asleep, try keeping a schedule; going to sleep and awakening at a consistent time each day. A bedtime ritual such as taking a warm bath, reading or eating a light snack helps many people relax.

Make sure you sleep healthily - People with high blood-pressure are more likely to suffer from a condition called sleep apnea. In this potentially serious sleep disorder, breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Apnea is Greek for "without breath."

If you have been told that you snore loudly or you wake up feeling tired after a full night's sleep or you are sleepy during the day, it may be worthwhile to learn more about sleep apnea. For more information from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Center Click Here.

The Better Blood Pressure Diet

High blood pressure is serious business. It’s a leading cause of preventable deaths among men. Luckily, better nutrition can lower your blood pressure and extend your life expectancy. Here’s what to eat, and what to avoid.

Is your doctor nagging you about high blood pressure? Pay attention.

High blood pressure is serious business. It could lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, even Alzheimer's.

In fact, in terms of individual risk factors for preventable health conditions, only smoking causes more deaths to Americans.

Think about it like this: If you are a 35 year old man and your blood pressure is 120/80. Congrats – your life expectancy is 76 years (assuming you are healthy otherwise).

Now imagine this: You are a 35 year old man and your blood pressure is 150/91. Bummer – your life expectancy is 55 years.

Want to turn things around? Good idea.

Together with lifestyle factors (good sleep, reduced stress, regular exercise, limited use such as alcohol and tobacco) nutrition can go a long way to reduce high blood pressure. Here’s how.

How to lower your blood pressure with good nutrition

Diets built around whole, unprocessed plant foods can help control blood pressure. People with existing high blood pressure who add more plants to their diets can lower blood pressure into a healthy range — even if they don’t lose weight.

Here’s what a healthy blood-pressure friendly diet looks like:

Diet isn’t the only factor in high blood pressure. As I mentioned, other lifestyle factors including stress matter a lot. You may choose to explore relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.

But nutrition can go a long way to either help or hurt the condition. What you eat is in your control. Don’t let something like high blood pressure steal away your life expectancy.


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