High blood pressure is a common health problem. People can lower blood pressure in several ways, including diet, exercise, and blood pressure medications. The time it takes for your blood pressure to drop depends on a variety of factors, including:
The person’s initial blood pressure level
Methods to reduce it
Other individual health factors.
While blood pressure medications work relatively quickly, people usually need to make changes to their diet and lifestyle to maintain their blood pressure for the long-term. This article looks at how long it takes to lower blood pressure in different ways.
How much time would it take ?
Regular exercise can help lower a person’s blood pressure. A doctor who diagnoses high blood pressure may prescribe one or more medications to help control it and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. These drugs can be diuretics, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, alone or in combination. The medicines lower blood pressure quickly, usually within days. However, it is not necessarily the best long-term treatment due to its side effects.
Medications can help control high blood pressure while a person makes basic lifestyle changes that may be causing high blood pressure. Changes in diet can quickly lower blood pressure in many cases.
A study published in the journal Hypertension reports that people who followed the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet lowered their blood pressure by 1 to 4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in one week. The same study noted that reducing sodium intake gradually lowered blood pressure over 4 weeks. Making consistent, long-term changes in diet and lifestyle can help keep your blood pressure within a healthy range.
The following sections look at how to lower blood pressure using different methods.
A healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and help lower blood pressure. Conversely, some diets can increase blood pressure by causing fluid retention or weight gain. Diets that are high in the following ingredients may increase blood pressure:
Salt or sodium
– Saturated fat
– trans fats
A healthy diet includes plenty of heart-healthy foods, including:
– All grains
Other foods rich in fiber
– unsaturated fats
Many doctors include diet plans in treating high blood pressure. For example, the DASH diet plan includes heart-healthy eating while reducing foods that raise blood pressure. Taking steps to eat a heart-healthy diet is a good way to lower your blood pressure. People who find it difficult to change their diet can seek advice from a dietitian.
Exercise is an important factor in lowering a person’s blood pressure. Regular exercise helps prevent and reduce high blood pressure. A study, published in the journal Blood Pressure, found that regular exercise caused a 3.9% decrease in systolic blood pressure and 4.5% in diastolic blood pressure in older adults.
In addition, exercise has many health benefits and helps control other risk factors for high blood pressure, including overweight and obesity, and exercise is not a magic bullet for high blood pressure, but rather a lifestyle change. Regular physical exercise is a step towards lowering blood pressure and is best when people combine it with other factors, such as eating a healthy diet.
A person’s weight has a direct effect on the heart and circulatory system. Being overweight and obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and puts extra stress on your heart. For most people, changes in diet and exercise are effective ways to control weight and reduce these risks. Losing weight the healthy way takes time but has many benefits. To find out more, click here.
Diets high in sodium increase the risk of heart disease, such as high blood pressure. Reducing your sodium intake can reduce this risk. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who reduced their sodium intake lowered their blood pressure by 3 to 9 mm Hg.
Smoking is a risk factor for a number of heart diseases, as well as other effects on the body. It can also affect blood pressure directly and indirectly. Smoking itself increases blood pressure. Blood pressure increases temporarily each time a person smokes, in addition, smoking increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of other problems, such as heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure accelerates the hardening of the arteries.
Quitting smoking can help reduce this risk.
Reduce alcohol consumption
Alcohol is another risk factor for high blood pressure. A person does not need to eliminate alcohol from their diet to benefit from it. However, reducing alcohol consumption can significantly reduce blood pressure. A 2017 study reported that reducing alcohol consumption in people who drank more than two drinks per day lowered systolic blood pressure by 5.5 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 4 mm Hg.
Drinking more than two drinks can raise blood pressure.
Stress is another important overall health factor that can contribute to high blood pressure. A person’s reaction to stress can also affect heart health. For example, some people may turn to alcohol, tobacco, or convenience foods. These factors can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.
Finding ways to reduce or eliminate stress can help reduce these factors. Stress reduction techniques include:
Movement activities, such as tai chi or qi gong
Yoga or gentle stretching
Other treatments such as acupuncture or massage
Eliminate personal stressors.
Other tips for good heart health can also help reduce stress, such as exercising regularly. Reducing stress in and of itself is part of an overall heart health change.
Other blood pressure factors
A number of other factors also increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, including:
A family history of high blood pressure
– old age
Chronic kidney failure
– Sedentary lifestyle
– Sleep Apnea
– high fat
Age and gender also play a role. Men under the age of 64 are more likely to develop high blood pressure. After the age of 65, women are more likely to develop high blood pressure.
High blood pressure increases the risk of other serious heart problems, such as atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Direct changes in diet and lifestyle can bring about a relatively rapid drop in blood pressure. In some cases, doctors may recommend medications to help keep blood pressure at an acceptable level while a person changes their diet and lifestyle. While some changes can lead to quick results, it is important to continue with these trends. Going back to old habits can simply reverse these changes and bring back a person’s blood pressure. Rather than a quick fix, consistent changes are the best way to lower blood pressure in the long term.
Huang, C, et al. (2013). Controlled aerobic exercise reduces resting blood pressure in sedentary elderly [Abstract].
Jurashek, SP, et al. (2017). Effects of sodium reduction and the DASH diet in relation to baseline blood pressure.
Jurashek, SP, et al. (2017). Time course of blood pressure change from the lowering sodium and DASH diet.
Roerecke, M., et al. (2017). The effect of lowering alcohol consumption on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.
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