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Published on October 06, 2022

Healthy Tips Video: Dr. Scott Black Shares Tips for Healthy Blood Pressure

Hi, this is Scott Black with this month's health tip. And today, we're going to talk about hypertension. So first, I'd like to start with the bad news. High blood pressure is one of the most common medical problems in the world. In fact, most of us are going to have some issues with our blood pressure as we get older. It's just that common. It's also increases our risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. So it's an important problem, and something we need to take seriously.

Know Your Numbers

Now, for the good news, there's a lot we can do about it. We each have a lot of control over our own health, and in particular, our blood pressure. So the first thing is to know your numbers, have it checked, have it measured. Get your medical provider to check your blood pressure and then check it at home. You can get a validated blood pressure monitor at a lot of different medical supply stores and pharmacies. You can order them online through Amazon.

And if you check, you'll find a list of blood pressure monitors that have been third-party checked and certified as accurate. So I'd recommend you get one of those. Check your blood pressure fairly regularly, if it's a little bit elevated. Write it down, take that with you to your next medical appointment, and have a discussion about the pros and cons of treating it.

DASH Eating Plan

There are lots of things you can do without medication to lower your blood pressure. First, work on your nutrition. The DASH diet has been around for 20 plus years. It's been clinically proven to be effective at lowering your blood pressure at pretty as much as a single blood pressure medicine. So it's something you can do that's as effective as a single blood pressure medicine to lower your blood pressure.

You can get more information about the DASH diet online just by simply doing a search for DASH diet. And then in particular, look at the information that comes up under the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It talks about the study, talks about the components of the DASH diet, and has a lot of information to help you incorporate that into your daily eating style.

Physical Activity

The second thing is physical activity. Exercise really and truly has two effects on your blood pressure. It has an immediate effect and has a long term effect. The immediate effect is for the next 20 hours or so after you've had an exercise session, your blood pressure actually goes down by about five points, and it will stay down throughout most of the rest of the day.

So just having one exercise session has an immediate and lasting impact on your blood pressure. But then the second thing is when you start stacking exercise session on top of exercise session, day after day, it has a longer lasting and more meaningful effect on your blood pressure. And again, you can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 10 points by exercising on a regular basis.

Moderation is Best

The third thing is, besides food, we put other things in our body. Think about caffeine, think about alcohol, and most importantly, think about nicotine. All of these can raise your blood pressure. When it comes to alcohol and when it comes to caffeine. Moderation is best; less is better. When it comes to nicotine, unfortunately, there is no safe amount of nicotine. Zero is best.

So whether you chew, dip, snort, smoke, or vape, quit, or at least, get started toward quitting. I know it's very difficult, but it's something that's extremely important to do and it will make a world of difference in dealing with your blood pressure. The fourth thing is sleep. If we're not sleeping well, our blood pressure likely will go up. Also, sleep apnea is a common cause of high blood pressure. So if you have any symptoms of sleep apnea, get that evaluated by your medical provider.

Dealing with Stress

And then finally stress, how we deal with stress can directly influence our blood pressure. We can't avoid stress. It's part of our lives. Every day there's something out there that may stress us, but how we respond to that directly affects our health, and part of our health is our blood pressure. Learning to deal with stress is a skill. And like any other skill, it's one that we can improve with practice. So I'd encourage you to learn a skill, learn a way to deal with stress, and practice that on a regular basis.

By combining all of those things, we can often take our blood pressure and lower it to the point that we really and truly don't need medication. And I'd encourage you to talk to your medical provider about that. So thanks, and that's today's health tip. 

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 350 providers at more than 30 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a weight management program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have more than 19,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 33,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 150 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 90,000 Emergency Department visits and more than 1.25 million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.