Physical Therapy Can Help Your High Blood Pressure
Are You One of the Millions with High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure affects 75 million Americans.
Hypertension, defined as chronically elevated blood pressure, is present when your numbers are 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) or higher. If left untreated, hypertension can dramatically increase your risk for heart attacks, strokes, and circulatory disease.
Exercise not only improves the workings of the cardiovascular system, but it can lower blood pressure as well.
Here are the facts:
- Three out of four people over age 60 have high blood pressure
- Men and women sometimes don’t realize they have high blood pressure because it has few symptoms
- High blood pressure can be controlled and even prevented
- Death rates from heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. have increased by 40-60 percent over the last 30 years
Your risk of hypertension increases with age, but that doesn’t mean you absolutely have to develop it.
In fact, getting some exercise can make a big difference. If your blood pressure is already high, exercise can help you get it under control. And when I say ‘exercise’, don’t think you’ve got to run a marathon or join a gym.
Instead, start slow and work more physical activity into your daily routine.
How Can Exercise Lower Your Blood Pressure?
How are high blood pressure and exercise connected?
Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger and your blood vessels more flexible. A strong heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less hard to pump blood throughout your body, the force on your arteries decreases, thereby lowering your blood pressure.
Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — by an average of 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). That improvement is as good as some blood pressure medications.
For many people, getting some exercise is enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication altogether. If your blood pressure is at a desirable level — 120/80 mm Hg or lower — exercise can help keep it from rising as you age.
Regular exercise also helps you to maintain a healthy weight, another important way to control blood pressure. But to keep your blood pressure low, you need to keep exercising. It takes about one to three months of regular exercise to have an impact on your blood pressure.
The benefits last only as long as you continue to exercise, so find something you enjoy and keep at it.
When is it Time to See a Doctor?
Markedly elevated blood pressure (the upper value above 180 or the lower value above 110) should be treated by a medical doctor immediately.
Once under control with medication or other measures, increased physical activity will likely decrease your blood pressure even further. Mild to moderate cases of elevated blood pressure can benefit from healthy lifestyle changes – including increased exercise, decreased processed food and fast food intake, improved overall diet, and weight loss.
Seek professional medical advice from the team at Root Cause Medical Clinic to ensure you properly and effectively treat your high blood pressure. We have great success in restoring patient’s healthy blood pressure levels while concurrently getting them off medication.
Exercise generally decreases the systolic and diastolic value by five to seven points, and the decrease can occur as early as three to four weeks after increasing your activity level. Physical activity also assists with weight control, improves cholesterol and glucose levels, so that the risk of heart attack and stroke is lower, even if your blood pressure is not completely reduced to normal levels.
Being active is also extremely important for people with pre-hypertension (systolic pressures of 120-139 and diastolic pressures of 80-89) and for anyone with normal blood pressure who has a family history of hypertension.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
The key to maximizing the benefits of exercise is to follow a well-designed program that you can stick to over the long term. The best way to get such a personalized program is through a trained doctor of physical therapy.
Do you need help with your health?
We have the tools to discover why you may be having trouble with a weakened immune system. It’s not difficult as long as you’re ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry. We will hold your hand through the changes and make each step of change an easy one.
Dr. Rupa Chakravarty DPT, OCS
Director of Physical Therapy at Root Cause Medical
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Orthopedic Certified Specialist
Dr. Chakravarty has numerous certifications for different techniques in Physical Therapy practice. She employs an extensive array of manual as well as exercise techniques to manage her patients’ symptoms during their course of therapy.