How Long Does It Take to Lower Your Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is no joke. It affects one in three Americans, and it can lead to serious heart problems and other body complications. The first step to lowering your blood pressure is noticing it’s high — talk to your doctor or buy at an-home blood pressure monitor if you’re concerned you may have hypertension (although there aren’t typically any noticeable signs or symptoms). But how long does it take to actually get that blood pressure to a normal level? It depends on a few things.

A doctor checks a patient's blood pressure.

As you age, you should start monitoring your blood pressure. |

Lowering your blood pressure starts with lifestyle changes — and possibly medication

If you go to the doctor and find out you have high blood pressure, you’ll need to incorporate some lifestyle changes to lower that blood pressure. The two best ways to naturally lower blood pressure are through healthy eating and exercise. A change in your diet is necessary to keep your heart healthy. Start keeping track of the amount of sodium you’re taking in each day, since it’s a big contributor to hypertension. Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables to make sure you’re getting the heart-healthy vitamins and minerals your body needs. You can also take tips from the DASH diet, which is a diet designed specifically to lower blood pressure.

Exercise is also key to keeping your heart healthy. The American Heart Association says you should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, or 75 minutes of weekly rigorous activity, to keep your heart in the best shape possible.  If your hypertension is severe, your doctor will likely start you on blood pressure medication to help keep it under control. The type of medication depends on your specific situation, but it may be necessary.

It could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to lower your blood pressure

To get your blood pressure to a safe space, you’ll need to combine a healthier diet with exercise and possibly medication. If you’re taking medication and your blood pressure isn’t too high, it could be lowered in a matter of a few days. If you’re trying the natural route before taking medication, it may take a few weeks for the dietary changes and new exercise plan to run its course and make a difference. If your blood pressure is very high and you’re taking medication, it still may take a couple of weeks for those levels to drop to a good place. But if you take medication and incorporate those changes, it shouldn’t be more than three weeks before your blood pressure drops to a normal level.

Maintaining low blood pressure means sticking to your lifestyle changes

Dropping your blood pressure is one thing, but it keeping at a safe level is the biggest challenge. It’s important to take your medication consistently when you’re on it. And if you’re naturally lowering your blood pressure through diet and exercise, there isn’t much room for a slip up. Of course you can have a cheat meal now and then, and you may skip a day of exercise here and there and still be fine. But when you’re relying on natural methods, it’s solely up to you to keep yourself on track, which means it may take more dedication and some bigger adjustments to nix those bad eating and exercise habits.

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