What I Did to Lower My Blood Pressure Without Medications

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What I Did to Lower My Blood Pressure Without Medications

What I Did to Lower My Blood Pressure Without Medications | The Survival Doctorby James Hubbard, MD, MPH

I used to have quite the problem with high blood pressure. Even as a teen, it was always a little high during my sports physicals. In my twenties it jumped up high enough that I started on medicine. But now, it’s no longer a problem. I don’t take medication, and every time I check, it’s actually below 120/80.

Now, let me tell you my secret on what to do to lower blood pressure to a very healthy level. For me, it was one simple dietary change.

I cut down on my sodium intake. I, ladies and gentlemen, used to be a saltaholic. I wouldn’t even taste my food before pouring on the salt. But now I can curb my addiction by using salt substitute.

I like the NoSalt brand, which substitutes potassium chloride for the sodium. I think the extra potassium helps lower my blood pressure also. There are other brands you may like better. Some, like the Mrs. Dash seasonings, contain a blend of spices you can sprinkle on instead of the potassium.

Below 120/80? Is That OK?

Contrary to popular belief, 120/80 is no magic number. Having a blood pressure lower than that is actually good for you—as long as you feel OK and the lower number isn’t from some other medical problem, like anemia, blood loss, a bad heart, etc.

Other than that, I cut back on high-sodium foods like processed meats. I buy low-salt soups and just add some NoSalt. It works for me. It may or may not work for you. And let me tell you why.

How to Tell Whether You’re Salt Sensitive

Among people with a tendency for high blood pressure, there’s a subgroup who are very sensitive to sodium. Too much of it makes our blood pressure shoot for the stars. For other groups, sodium has much less of an effect. The only way you’ll know whether you’re salt sensitive is to cut back on the sodium and monitor your blood pressure.

The general rule is to keep your sodium intake around 1,500 mg to 2,300 mg per day. For me, I don’t measure. I just try to cut out as much as I can. You need a little sodium, but I don’t worry about that because I know I’m getting some in just about every food and drink I ingest.

Getting Used to the Taste of Potassium Salt

I had no trouble getting used to the taste, but many people do. So don’t be surprised if you dislike it at first. Give it some time and it very likely will grow on you.

There is another reason the potassium-chloride substitute may help. I alluded to it above. We know from multiple studies that most anyone’s blood pressure can benefit from increasing your daily potassium intake. Of course, foods are the best source, and I eat plenty of potassium-rich foods.

However, before increasing your dietary potassium in any way, make certain your kidneys are functioning normally. They keep your potassium blood levels normal. A high buildup of blood potassium can be lethal. So check with your doctor.

Other Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Without Medication
So Should You Avoid Medication?

No, I’m not advising you not to take prescription medication. Often, it’s a lifesaver. And these days, there are plenty of more affordable generic brands with minimal to no side effects.

Other tips on what to do to lower blood pressure include:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Keep your weight normal.
  • Exercise 30 minutes or more most every day.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Keep your caffeine to two or fewer caffeinated drinks a day.
  • Avoid too much stress. Try relaxation techniques.
  • Avoid medicines and supplements that could raise your blood pressure. These include over-the-counter cold medicines that contain a decongestant, diet pills, and even NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen. Be sure you know the side effects and risks of any supplements before taking them, including whether they might elevate your blood pressure.

Garlic is one supplement that may lower your blood pressure a bit. Read more on the side effects, interactions, precautions, and dosage here.

Who Should Be Checked for High Blood Pressure

Remember, you can have dangerously high blood pressure and feel great. In fact, until you become used to a lower, safer blood pressure, you may feel tired and fatigued. Realize this and give it a few weeks to get to feeling back to normal.

Since high blood pressure is known as the silent killer, even with no symptoms, everyone should get their blood pressure checked every few years—more often if you’re getting past 40 or have a family history. Many clinics will check it for you for free.

If it’s trending a little high or someone in your family has high blood pressure (which puts you at higher risk), I suggest you buy an automatic cuff and check your blood pressure at various times during the day at home. That usually gives you a better idea of your true blood pressure number since many people have “white-coat hypertension.” Their blood pressure goes up a bit at the doctor’s office.

What’s been your experience? Do you or a loved one have high blood pressure? What have you done to get it down?

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Full disclosure: I have no relationship with the makers of NoSalt or any other salt substitute. I’m simply sharing personal experience.

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  • Lois Timms

    yes my two boys have high blood pressure ages 18 & 15 yrs old they both are active sometimes but me I don’t have high blood pressure mine is low & so is their dad my mom don’t have it & I don’t think that my dad had it either so I don’t really know how they got it well they both wt are over 200 lbs they both are big boys but they are growing they are young to have high blood pressure my 15 yr old sometimes when his panic attacks then his blood pressure goes up a little but he don’t have panic attacks his blood pressure is still high 141/86 yes he is on blood pressure med it may not be strong enough for him but it goes up and sometimes come down on its own but my xxx husband his blood pressure is a lot higher 161/111 yes he is taking meds for it but I don’t know what causes his to go that high to cause him to blackout any answers ?

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      You should ask your doctor. It’s rare but, sometimes, there are underlying medical diseases causing high blood pressure at that young age. Hopefully your doctor has already, or will, rule them out or refer him to someone that could.

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  • http://www.bpmonitordepot.com/ Chelsea Smith

    I haven’t experienced having a high BP and I don’t want to. Maybe because I eat healthy. I always eat cucumber.

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Chelsea, well it is good for you.

  • Dave, RN

    Cutting salt intake is a two edged sword. While some are salt sensitive and need the extra potassium and less sodium, iodized salt is where we get most all of our iodine. The USDA for iodine is too low in the US. In Japan they get an average of 12.5mg a day, mostly due to the seaweed in their diet. I might suggest that for those cutting salt, (and even if you are not) supplement with some kelp.
    Bread used to have iodine, up to 100mcg a slice. Then the iodone in bread was replaced with another halide, bromine, about 40 years ago. Add to this the other halides competing for those receptor sites (like the fluoride and chlorine in our water) and you have a recipe for iodine defeciancy.
    As to why the iodine in bread was replaced with bromine… It was because it interfered with radiological diagnostic studies! I thought it crazy at first until I found the original studies that proved it. Ironic.

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Great points, Dave. thanks.