Blood Pressure: how to control it


"I have been taking blood-pressure tablets of one kind or another for more than 20 years. Over the past year, I've lost nearly a stone, and have been able to stop one of my two daily tablets. I am now only taking ramipril. I would like to stop the tablets altogether, and control my blood pressure with diet and exercise. Is this an unrealistic hope? What should I be eating? And what exercise should I do? I am 49, female, and my BMI is now just below 25. I don't smoke, but probably drink a bit more than recommended, some weeks at least. My favourite exercise is walking."

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

The Dash study in America Dash stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension showed that it is possible to lower blood pressure by changing your diet. The key factors in the Dash diet were low salt, low fat and high calcium, potassium and magnesium. People who stuck to the Dash principles had lower blood pressure than those on high-salt, high-fat diets. Regular exercise that raises your pulse rate and makes you slightly out of breath will also bring your BP down. Walking is fine, but you have to walk fast enough, far enough and frequently enough to leave your comfort zone.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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