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Lowering My Blood Pressure

Posted Jun 19 2009 10:13pm

Today I went to see my doctor. Today was also the 30-day anniversary of my time on a new medication to lower blood pressure, Lisinopril.

The assistant who first took my bp (and my temperature and weight) found a reading of 116/65. I was sure it was a mistake. Then the doctor took it again half an hour later: 116 over 68. Unbelievable. It was the lowest blood pressure reading I’ve had in my adult life.

Finally, after over 15 years of high blood pressure, we seem to have found a combination of things that work for me: Three medications plus behaviors on my part which include weight loss, eating a healthier diet, and exercise.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. High blood pressure increases our risk for developing heart disease or having a stroke. And once you contract high bp, you’ll most likely have it for a lifetime. Of course, I wish I had known about that some 20 years ago.

The government website for the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute (NHBLI) makes a pitch for prevention and tips for all of us:

“You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. These steps include maintaining a healthy weight; being physically active; following a healthy eating plan, that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods; choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium; and, if you drink alcoholic beverages, drinking in moderation.”

The NHBLI also suggests adding more potassium to your diet with these foods to control blood pressure:

Food, followed by Serving size and Potassium amount (in milligrams)
Apricots, dried 10 halves 407
Avocados, raw 1 ounce 180
Bananas, raw 1 cup 594
Beets, cooked 1 cup 519
Brussel sprouts, cooked 1 cup 504
Cantaloupe 1 cup 494
Dates, dry 5 dates 271
Figs, dry 2 figs 271
Kiwi fruit, raw 1 medium 252
Lima beans 1 cup 955
Melons, honeydew 1 cup 461
Milk, fat free or skim 1 cup 407
Nectarines 1 nectarine 288
Orange juice 1 cup 496
Oranges 1 orange 237
Pears (fresh) 1 pear 208
Peanuts dry roasted,
without salt 1 ounce 187
Potatoes, baked,
flesh and skin 1 potato 1081
Prune juice 1 cup 707
Prunes, dried 1 cup 828
Raisins 1 cup 1089
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 839
Tomato products,
canned, sauce 1 cup 909
Winter squash 1 cup 896

Take a look at the NHBLI website to see other issues concerning blood pressure.
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