When we implemented our Salt Initiative earlier this year we asked people to know their blood pressure and consider reducing their sodium intake by shopping more carefully and preparing recipes that are lower in sodium. One of the main messages was to encourage people to know their own blood pressure. Then it occurred to me- I don’t know my own blood pressure. So I went to the drug store and bought a blood pressure machine and used it at work. Low and behold- I was consistently at 140/90 mmHg– which is too high. I went downstairs and had our prevention staff check me and it was 140/90. The next week, I had a checkup, and my pressure in the office was 140/90.
She told me I needed to take these little pills every day, which I did for 3 days. Then I took my own advice. We cut down on sodium at home and I started doing the treadmill every day (instead of just 2-3 times a week). Guess what. It worked. Not right away- but within a few weeks I was down in the 130/85 range- and by late summer it was down to about 120/78 mmHg– which is fine. In the end I was able to do it with just diet and exercise. It might not work the same for you, but it might- and it’s worth the try- because remember elevated blood pressure puts you at much higher risk for heart disease and stroke. So give it a try.