10 Surprising Tips for Optimizing Your Blood Pressure
Imagine for a moment the water pressure in a garden hose. If the pressure is too low, the hose is limp and won’t spray. If the pressure is too high, the hose can burst. Your arteries and veins — the vessels that carry blood throughout your body — work pretty much like that garden hose.
If your blood pressure is too low, your organs don’t get the blood they need to function properly (particularly your brain). This can make you feel dizzy and light-headed when you stand up; fatigued throughout the day; and “crash” after exercise.
If your pressure is elevated, the strong rush of blood can damage blood vessels, leading to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other diseases.
The best blood pressure is optimal blood pressure — not too low, not too high, but “just right.”
If your blood pressure is too low it’s likely you’ll have one or more of the symptoms I just described. But how can you tell if your blood pressure is too high? Just go to the nearest supermarket or drugstore and use the free sphygmomanometer — a fancy medical name for a machine that reads blood pressure. (It’s usually near the pharmacy.)
In my opinion, blood pressure shouldn’t be elevated above 140/85. I know that many experts say a much lower level is optimal. But in my practice, I’ve found that lowering blood pressure below 140/80 is, especially in people with fatigue, more likely to cause side effects, and offers diminishing returns. So at that point, optimizing blood pressure with lifestyle and natural changes is the approach I prefer.