I can always appreciate when anyone can give me directions in an easy, simple to understand way. Doctors can spout off all kinds of medical jargon when talking to you about your health, but the problem with that is you have to be in the medical field to understand what they just said. So when Dr David Cartwright, DC of Falls Clinic of Chiropractic started to focus on Blood Pressure, I asked him to come up with 10 easy tips for us to follow and take our lives back. Dr Cartwright is a big proponent of giving his patients back control of their lives and health. He takes not only a caring approach but one of teaching. Though he likes to see his patients, he would rather it be outside of his office where he can witness them enjoying life once again without the pains or problems that led them to his office. So here we go,,,

  • 10

    Know what blood pressure is.

    Blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of a person's arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. This measure is read by taking a systolic and diastolic reading. The systolic number is the top number in a blood pressure reading and the diastolic is the bottom number. A normal reading for an average adult is 120/80. Monitoring your BP is a great way to keep tabs on your cardiovascular health.

  • 9

    Arrive to your appointments early.

    "White coat hypertension" is the term used to describe a very common condition which can occur in up to 20% of patients. This happens when a person's blood pressure is abnormally elevated when it is measured in the doctor's office, but is within the normal range the rest of the time. White coat hypertension is usually attributed to the anxiety which one can experience when in a doctor's office. Best thing to do for this is to allow yourself enough time for your appointment so you don’t feel rushed. Also remember your doctor is there to help so there is no need to worry.

  • 8

    When checking your blood pressure, do it correctly.

    When having your BP measured it is important to have the arm at the correct height. Resting your arm on a table or chair at chest or heart level will ensure that you get the most accurate BP reading. When having your blood pressure measured, it is usually done on the left arm. This is done because the way our blood vessels or “plumbing” is designed provides a more direct route on our left side. The left arm is also chosen as a way to standardize the method of taking blood pressure. So next time you get your blood pressure taken you can be ready with your left sleeve rolled up. A few things to avoid 30 min before having your blood pressure take are: Caffeine, Exercise, Smoking, Eating a big meal, and being out in the cold. Also, having to go to the bathroom, stress, and certain medications can affect readings. Minimizing these factors can help insure you get a more accurate reading.

  • 7

    Evaluate your lifestyle with your doctor.

    BP can fluctuate greatly due to many things: Exercise, smoking, eating, lack of sleep, time of day, stress, body position, time of day, and diet can all affect BP readings. Some of these changes are normal adaptations by our bodies to our environment, while others can be linked to poor cardiovascular health. It is important for you and your healthcare provider to know what things can be affecting your blood pressure to properly assess your health. The good news is that the majority of these factors are lifestyle related! That means that you can make a positive change in your health by addressing these and improve your BP measurements.

  • 6

    Know when to take your blood pressure.

    Your BP readings can vary greatly depending of the time of day or the time of year that you have it measured. According to a study done by the American Society of Hypertension; Lowest BP levels occur in the morning and mid-day and also during summer months, while highest levels occur in the evening hours and winter months. This goes to show how much our normal blood pressure can fluctuate and why it is important to take the average of a few measurements to obtain and accurate BP reading.

  • 5

    Check your blood pressure with 3 consecutive readings.

    Like we have previously mentioned, your blood pressure can give a read falsely high due to such things as diet, time of day, and stress to name a few. That is why it is best to not base your results on only one reading but on 3 consecutive readings over time and on different occasions to ensure that you get an accurate measurement of your BP.

  • 4

    Improve your diet.

    Many foods and dietary factors affect blood pressure. Studies show a high-sodium diet increases blood pressure in some people. The majority of processed and “fast” foods are high in sodium. A good way to reduce salt intake is to increase your eating of whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Not only are these types of foods low in sodium, but they are also high in potassium and magnesium, which are very important for your heart’s health.

  • 3

    Know your medications.

    There are a number of medications out there currently used to treat high BP. Some have been around longer than others and have a more proven safety for patients. The more common side effects of these medications are: Constipation; dehydration; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; frequent urination at night; headaches; increased sensitivity to cold and sunlight; tender, swollen gums; and upset stomach. It is very important to check with your pharmacist and doctor to make sure your medications are not having interactions with another one.

  • 2

    Add supplements.

    The foods you eat are so very important for your overall health. It is always best to get your nutrients from your food. Sometimes it might not be enough. Continuing our tips on BP; a few supplements that can help with your cardiovascular health are Fish Oil, Co-enzyme Q10, and Calcium. Whenever using supplementation it is very important to review what supplements are needed for you with your holistic health care provider. This will ensure that you are getting quality supplements and the right ones for your particular need.

  • 1

    Get an adjustment.

    Many causes of high BP are not known or well understood. However new studies are showing that there is a link between bones of your neck and the nerves and high BP. A recent study presented in the Journal of Human Hypertension supported that a specific adjustment to the vertebrae in the upper neck reduced high BP in patients better than two medications! And the best part is that there are no side effects! ___________________________________________________________________________________________