Our Pharmacist Anshu Bhimbat answers your healthcare questions.
I’ve just been diagnosed with high blood pressure and have been given medication to manage it. I’ve been told by friends that I could reduce it without medication, is this true?
Whilst there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your blood pressure, it is a serious condition that needs to be managed, so if your GP has prescribed medication it is important that you take it as prescribed to avoid further complications.
There are things you can do alongside taking your medication that can help, such as;
Cutting back on salt: most people eat about 10g each day (equivalent to 2tsp) compared to the maximum recommended amount of 6g (equivalent to 1.2tsp). You can cut back by not adding salt to food during cooking or at the table and using fresh unprocessed food.
Cutting back on fat: there are three main types of dietary fat. Saturated fats are the most damaging to your health as most of the bad cholesterol in your body is made from the saturated fat in your food. These are usually found in animal products such as meat, butter, milk and cheese, so choosing lean cuts of meat and switching to low fat dairy products will help to reduce the amount in your diet. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are referred to as ‘healthier’ types of fat. They are a better choice of fat as they can help to lower your blood cholesterol levels and reduce the tendency for blood to clot. They are usually found in oils and fish.
Regular exercise: improves the condition of the heart muscle and can lower blood pressure. 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, e.g. brisk walking is recommended.