How to lower blood pressure without meds. Personal story.
Updated: May 12
What is your probability of developing high blood pressure ?
I did not realize how easy one can become a part of the sad statistics below until I was diagnosed with hypertension in my mid forties. I did not smoke and consumed very little alcohol. I wasn’t overweight, did not eat junk food and played tennis twice per week. Yet I was diagnosed with Stage 1 high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major health issue affecting hundreds of millions around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.3 billion adults worldwide have hypertension. This number is expected to increase to 1.5 billion by 2025. Basically one in three adults globally has high blood pressure, making it one of the most common chronic health conditions worldwide.
Any good news? YES! As my personal example shows below, one can get rid completely of hypertension. In some cases it can be done without medications.
What are the health risks associated with high blood pressure ?
Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. It can damage the arteries, heart, and other organs and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events. High blood pressure can also lead to kidney damage, vision loss, and cognitive decline. Uncontrolled hypertension during pregnancy can pose a risk to both the mother and baby. Pretty scary, isn't it?
What is normal blood pressure ?
Normal blood pressure is the range of pressure at which blood flows through the arteries without putting too much strain on the heart or blood vessels. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and consists of two numbers - the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the higher number and measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats or contracts, while diastolic pressure is the lower number and measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats.
The normal range of blood pressure is generally considered to be 120/80 mmHg or lower, with systolic pressure below 120 mmHg and diastolic pressure below 80 mmHg.
How to read the blood pressure chart ?
The American Heart Association blood pressure chart, which is widely accepted by doctors across the world, includes four categories: normal blood pressure, elevated blood pressure, hypertension stage 1, and hypertension stage 2. The chart displays systolic pressure (top number) and diastolic pressure (bottom number) in mmHg.
To read a blood pressure chart, locate your systolic pressure and diastolic pressure on the chart and identify which category they fall under. This can help determine the level of risk for heart disease or stroke.
IMPORTANT: Blood pressure can fluctuate and that doctors recommend to take three blood pressure readings with several minutes between them and then average the numbers.
There are plenty of articles which describe how the following factors can affect blood pressure: age, weight, activity level, smoking, consumption of alcohol etc. In this post I will focus primarily on what I am personally very well aware of: uncontrolled stress.
What are the high blood pressure symptoms ?
In short: most people whose blood pressure is mildly outside of the normal range are unaware of their condition because it often does not cause noticeable symptoms.
In some cases, individuals with high blood pressure may experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, shortness of breath, and chest pain. These symptoms are often associated with severe hypertension and require urgent medical attention.
I learned about my hypertension when I went to talk to my doctor about increased irritation at home and work, bad night sleep and feeling tired for most of the day. The doctor measured my blood pressure, asked a few questions and quickly diagnosed Stage 1 hypertension. I had none of the above mentioned main risk factors for high blood pressure except one: work related stress.
The key lesson so far is simple: take your blood pressure readings REGULARLY and track them, even if you generally feel well. Talk to your doctor immediately if in doubt.
How to Lower Blood Pressure ?
Even if you are NOT diagnosed with hypertension follow the checklist below as a preventive measure. If you have been diagnosed - still follow these basics which are well covered in health articles from reliable sources, i.e. American Heart Association :
- If you are smoking - stop. Limit alcohol consumption.
- Start eating healthy. A super popular Mediterranean diet is a great starting point.
- Normalize your weight. Many on-line calculators will calculate recommended weight
- Start exercising. The site of the American Heart Association provides excellent guidance.
- Review risk factors with your doctor and follow her advice on how to minimize them.
How to lower blood pressure with calming exercises ?
The growing number of scientific research papers confirm the evidence that ancient contemplating practices like slow breathing, meditation  and even calm music  do help to relax blood vessels and lead to lower blood pressure.
The leading research organizations fine tune these ancient practices to achieve longer positive effects. For example, the team from the University of Colorado adjusted a IMST resistance breathing technique which allows those who practice it for just 5 minutes per day to keep blood pressure lower for about a month after stopping the daily practice .
My doctor advised me to start treating my stress and hypertension with these calming techniques and complement it with moderate exercise. I was lucky to be diagnosed while I was still at Stage 1 hypertension. This helped me to get rid of high blood pressure in less than a year and I even did it without medications.
This personal experience prompted me to develop a mobile app BreathNow which helps to lower blood pressure, pulse and stress. I know exactly what steps need to be followed by someone whose blood pressure is caused primarily by life stressors.
BreathNow is the only app on the market which performs 3 in 1 functions:
- It measures stress objectively with your phone’s camera or Apple Watch
- It is a blood pressure tracker. It helps to identify what actions lower it. Doctors love this!
- It guides users how to perform techniques to calm and lower blood pressure and pulse.
The list of scientifically proven techniques includes breathing to lower blood pressure, meditation, yoga, calming music and more. Most of the app functions are free. Thousands of users have given BreathNow a 4.7 (out of 5) ranking.
Talk to your doctor to see how BreathNow can be integrated into your overall treatment plan. Please give it a try and let me know how it worked for you.
- To avoid major health risks associated with hypertension, check your blood pressure regularly and track changes.
- Study the blood pressure chart and learn what is normal blood pressure. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any high blood pressure symptoms.
- How to lower blood pressure? Try different techniques for slow breathing to lower blood pressure. Use apps like blood pressure app BreathNow for this and track progress right in the app
Changes You Can Make to Manage High Blood Pressure, American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure
Effect of alternate nostril breathing exercise on blood pressure, heart rate, and rate pressure product among patients with hypertension, NCBI.NLM.NIH.GOV, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691618/
Meditation can lower blood pressure, Science News, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080314130430.htm#:~:text=The%20practice%20of%20transcendental%20meditation,3.2%20mm%20diastolic%20blood%20pressure
Relaxing music reduces blood pressure and heart rate among pre-hypertensive young adults: A randomized control trial, Onlinelibrary, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jch.14126
Time‐Efficient Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training Lowers Blood Pressure and Improves Endothelial Function, NO Bioavailability, and Oxidative Stress in Midlife/Older Adults With Above‐Normal Blood Pressure, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.121.020980