High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a medical condition that can lead to grave consequences. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to conditions such as:
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Enlarged heart
- Heart failure
- Kidney Failure
- Vision impairment
- Sexual dysfunction
Once hypertension has been diagnosed, it is important to follow your doctor’s advice on how to manage it. This may include diet and exercise, medication, lifestyle adjustments, or a combination of all of these. As hypertension is often associated with obesity, it is often a comorbidity seen when patients come in for bariatric surgery. The good news is that hypertension can often be managed, and it is especially helpful if the patient is willing to make changes, which is commonly the case in those seeking gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to help lower your blood pressure. Following your doctor’s orders should be done first, but these natural ways can help in addition.
1. Walk and Exercise Regularly
150 minutes per week (that’s only 30 minutes 5 times per week) has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health. Walking and exercising also help to promote weight loss, so it’s a win-win.
2. Consume Less Sodium
Sodium, or salt, has been linked to raising blood pressure. While refraining from adding salt to your foods during and after cooking can help, you should also take a look at the foods themselves. Processed foods (such as those from fast food restaurants, or foods such as canned soups, frozen meals, deli meats, and chips and pretzels) tend to be high in sodium, so it helps to eliminate or reduce them from your diet. This also helps reduce calories, which can help bariatric patients lose weight as well.
3. Eat More Potassium
Foods high in potassium should be included in your diet to help reduce blood pressure. Bananas, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, salmon, beets, dairy, beans, and nuts are all good sources of potassium. Coincidentally, these foods can easily be incorporated into a post bariatric surgery weight loss diet.
4. Lose Weight
Losing as little as 5% of your body weight can show improvements in blood pressure. For a 200 pound person, that equates to a 10 pound weight loss. For gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients, following your bariatric diet should produce a weight loss large enough to make a difference for your blood pressure as well.
5. Reduce Your Stress
Stress can be a huge contributor to hypertension. If a source of stress can be eliminated, that can be a good place to start. If you can not remove the source of stress, try to combat it by listening to soothing music, taking deep breaths, or meditating. If it is a source of stress that you can not resolve or reduce, try asking for help.
High blood pressure should be taken seriously. Always follow the medical advice of your doctor. These 5 natural ways to lower blood pressure can be tried in addition to your doctor’s advice.
For assistance with weight loss, call Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA. Dr. Shillingford is a board certified surgeon who proudly performs gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery at Northwest Medical Center’s Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery. His surgical weight loss patients come from all over Florida, including Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville.