Relax Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings are like the Dow Jones average; they go up and down, even in a five-minute interval. Remember, your heart is a pulsating, dynamic organ, so your blood pressure will vary, sometimes as much as 20 to 30 mm/Hg in successive readings. How can you make sure your numbers are going down instead of up? The key is to relax.
When taking a resting blood pressure reading, I don’t let people talk. Talking will drive your numbers up. (Air traffic controllers as a group have higher-than-normal blood pressure. They’re under enormous pressure, and they talk all the time.) I also avoid taking BP if the patient rushed to my office, especially if he or she was caught in traffic, if the outside temperature is very cold, or if some emotional stress issues are ongoing. Even a cup of coffee just prior to the test can change the data.
What do your blood pressure readings tell you? Readings where the top number (systolic pressure) is 130–139 or the bottom number (diastolic pressure) is 85–89 should be monitored carefully. Readings consistently above 150/90 are a risk factor for heart attacks.
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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