Learn 21 tips to help you get off of high blood pressure medications.
One of the most frequent questions I hear as a nurse is, “What do I need to do to get off of my blood pressure medications?”
And it’s no surprise!
Taking medication can have uncomfortable side effects, is inconvenient, and can be expensive.
But, as a nurse, I can’t safely suggest that you stop taking your medication cold-turkey. You are at double the risk of developing heart disease or having a cardiac event than someone with normal blood pressure.
What I can suggest, however, is that you change your self-care to lower your blood pressure. Self-care or lifestyle changes can give you a strong chance of not needing your blood pressure medication.
I know, changing your self-care requires getting motivated. But I’ve got you covered!
There are several types of medications that lower blood pressure.
Each work in different ways, so some people must take more than one type of medication, depending on what is causing their blood pressure to be high.
And, as you would expect, each kind and type of medication have a different or a variety of side-effects.
Therefore, even if you can’t completely eliminate your need for blood pressure meds, reducing a dose or the number of kinds of meds you take can help with the cost, inconvenience, and side-effects that you experience.
21 Tips to Get Off of Blood Pressure Medications
First, Set Yourself Up For Success
- Follow your healthcare providers recommendations. Most importantly, don’t stop taking your blood pressure medications until your health provider tells you it is safe and appropriate to do it.
- Tell your healthcare provider your desire to get off of blood pressure medications. In other words, your provider will respond best if you talk to them straight. They can begin to reduce the doses of your medications sooner if they know your goals.
- Likewise, if you work with an herbalist, talk to your herbalist too. Be sure to tell them about your high blood pressure and what medications you are taking. Some herbs and natural supplements may interfere with medications.
- Above all, monitor your blood pressure outside of the clinic office. Many times the activity required to go to the doctor’s office, or just being AT the clinic, can increase your blood pressure. Many public grocery or drug stores or businesses have free blood pressure machines.
- Even easier – get your own blood pressure monitor. Blood pressure cuffs and monitors vary in price. My recommendation is to find one that is approved by the AHA or the FDA. Also, I would avoid the ones that slide onto your finger or wrist. There is more room for error with those models, and you don’t have time for that. You want a reliable monitor. If you need a recommendation, I like this Blood Pressure Monitor.
- Keep a record of your blood pressure. A daily record is a wonderful tool to share with your healthcare provider (which is why I provide one at the end of the post!).
Start Making Healthy Choices
- Make healthy food choices. Every day.
- Consider the popular high blood pressure eating plan. The College of Cardiology (COC) recommends the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or the more commonly called Dash Diet. The DASH Diet is a flexible lifelong approach to healthy eating. Many people can adjust to this lifestyle change, even if they hate eating vegetables.
- Eat proper portion sizes.
- Reduce sodium in your diet. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day for most adults. For people with high blood pressure, an ideal limit is no more than 1,500 mg per day. However, even cutting back 1,000 mg/day has been shown to improve blood pressure and heart health.
- Eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure. For example, foods with potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Don’t forget to print out your free list to help you.
Watch out for the ‘Salty 6’ – the top six common foods that add the most salt to your diet. Bread and rolls, pizza, soup, cold cuts and cured meats, poultry, and sandwiches.
- Certainly learning how to read food labels is helpful so you can use products or brands that contain the lowest sodium for the ‘Salty 6’ items.
- Get a vegetable-forward cookbook. I use and like this one because they use seasonal ingredients and you do not have to be a ‘chef’ to make the dishes. Joy’s Simple Food Remedies: Tasty Cures for Whatever’s Ailing You
- Likewise, I’d also get a DASH Diet Cookbook. There are many, many DASH Diet specific cookbooks available. I like this one because it provides guidance not only for recipes but also your spice cabinet and pantry. But, there are tons of other options if you think this one is too basic for you.
Start Changing Your Habits
- Above all stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, never start! Many workplaces, insurance companies, and state or local governments have smoking cessation programs (and coverage). Don’t let cost detour you – research coverage options or scholarships for smoking cessation programs. The programs with the most successful outcomes offer some kind of accountability coaching or ongoing support and encouragement.
- Be active. Further, regular exercise is a necessity. But, even walking at a normal pace counts as an exercise, and it works! Plan to do more of the activities you enjoy. Hate to exercise? Try this!
- After that, lose a few extra pounds and watch your waistline regularly. Did you know that losing just 10% of your current weight can have a positive impact on your blood pressure?
- Even further on that thought, cut back on the amount of caffeine you drink and eat. Caffeine is in food too.
- And in addition to the above, reduce your stress. Stress management will look different to all of us, but the point is that a reduction in your stress level can help lower your blood pressure level. Ongoing stress is harmful to your health. It can even lead to life-threatening diseases. This doesn’t exactly mean get a massage every other day. It means taking a critical look at your stressors and looking for possibilities to manage the impact, lessen, or even eliminating them as needed. Make choices that eliminate stressors in your life.
Making Lifestyle Changes Can Feel Exhausting And That’s Why I’ve Got One More Crucial Tip.
- Start meditating. Meditation has been shown in research to reduce anxiety and stress (and thus blood pressure).
If you are a person of faith, engaging in prayer is a form of meditation. Furthermore, worship and regular church attendance have also been found as a way to reduce anxiety and manage stress.
If your faith is important to you, I want to encourage you to utilize the truth of God, shared in the Bible. You can use scripture to help you find the courage to start taking better care of yourself, and the motivation to continue good self-care. Find more information here.
Finally, in closing, take the time to identify your personal needs so you can give yourself the proper care needed to get off of your blood pressure medications.
Follow your health provider’s medical advice and implement these 21 tips to lower your blood pressure.
Self-care with the specific intent to reduce your blood pressure can help you decrease your dose or possibly even the need for your medication (with your healthcare provider’s direction).
And, you never know, you might find you feel better and can be medication free!
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Hi, I’m Lisa! Thanks for visiting My Life Nurse, where we provide people who serve and take care of others with easy self-care plans and systems, wellness strategies, and scripture-based encouragement so you can stay happy, healthy and rejuvenated. I’ve found that many people struggle with caring for themselves while taking care of others, but they also feel called to serve others, so they keep working even when they’re stressed and exhausted. That’s why I combine my nursing expertise with Scripture-based teaching. Our readers love learning how to walk closer to the Lord to improve their self-care – so they can begin their journey to feel better – without feeling guilty. Be sure to grab your FREE Self-care StarTer Guide!