-- Question: What can I do, other than taking pills, to help control my high blood pressure?
Answer: Well there are a lot of issues on how to control blood pressure without taking medication. Some people can actually get away without medication. Some of the things to think about are a good nutritional diet -- and usually the word nutritional diet means first of all diet -- controlling body weight. As little as a 10 to 15 pound change in body weight is oftentimes sufficient to reduce blood pressure and sometimes rather significantly.
The constituent nature of the diet then becomes important. Restricting to sodium and almost of equal importance, increasing the potassium content of the diet can confer particular benefit for blood pressure reduction. So it's caloric control, it's sodium restriction, and it's augmenting the potassium intake, and the latter could be with fruits and vegetables or the like. Those don't tend to have a huge caloric component but they're very enriched in potassium.
Some other things that may be thought about are stress control and anxiety relief and having an adequate sleep wake cycle. So if you get your sleep architecture set up correctly, where you can get a solid six or seven hours of sleep per night, and you can somehow control the stress which is unfortunately present in our day to day existence, you can have a major effect on blood pressure in your particular case. Now in your particular case means every person's a little bit different and how much stress interplays with their blood pressure.
So it's diet, it's the components of the diet, it's stress reduction, it's restoring good sleep architecture, and finally a very important issue is just exercise and conditioning. If you can exercise and condition, it does have a several millimeter effect on blood pressure, even if you don't lose weight in the course of exercise. Exercise itself still is very important.