Avery’s only 21, but on a recent visit to his doctor his blood pressure was 180 over 95. High blood pressure runs in his family, and he’s afraid he’s inherited a potentially serious issue. What steps should he be taking to get his blood pressure down to a more normal level?
Avery, that’s a very high number. Ideally, we want to see 120 over 80. The diastolic, or lower number, is the important number to pay attention to here. You may need to take medicine to get the blood pressure down, but before you do that… lets see if we can’t get that pressure down simply by changing some of your everyday habits.
For people, like yourself, who are basically in good physical shape, the best and healthiest treatment for high blood pressure is hard exercise.
You’ve got to sweat as much as possible. Doctors will typically tell their patients to exercise lightly and walk a little to bring down the blood pressure. But that’s not what I say. I want you to do a heavy workout and sweat! Not only will this improve your whole cardiovascular system, it’ll lower the levels of sodium in your blood. Remember to drink a lot of water when you’re exercising, though…I don’t want you dehydrated!
You should also try to cut the amount of salt in your diet. You know why fast food tastes so good? Because there’s an enormous amount of salt in there! So, avoid these restaurants as much as you can and don’t add extra salt to your food at home.
Avery, it’s great you got your blood pressure checked because high blood pressure often has no symptoms. But if it’s not treated, your risk of all sorts of diseases goes way up. So start exercising, cut the salt, and get re-checked in a couple months to see if you’re moving in the right direction.
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