Q: What are some ways I can lower my blood pressure without the use of prescription drugs?
A: I always try to help my patients make lifestyle changes in conjunction with medication. Patients have been able to reduce the amount of medication they need and in a few cases get off of medications completely. It’s not easy. You are committed to the task and diligent.
Here are the things you should focus on:
• Don’t smoke cigarettes or use any tobacco product.
• Lose weight if you’re overweight.
• Exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes EVERY day).
• Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and is low in fat.
• Limit your sodium, alcohol and caffeine intake.
• Try relaxation techniques or biofeedback.
If you need some help in structuring a diet, look to the DASH diet. It’s a well-researched approach to lowering your blood pressure. Find out the details of the diet from the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.