Lower Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

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Millions of people are diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol each year. Anyone can develop these conditions. You are strongly encouraged to have regular check ups with your primary care physician to catch and manage these conditions early if you develop them.

Let’s dig into what these two conditions are and follow up with a plan to help you live a more healthy lifestyle. Remember to always seek advice from a doctor when making dietary lifestyle changes.


High blood pressure also known as hypertension occurs when the blood pushes against the artery walls with a high amount of force. Your blood pressure is measured by two numbers, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure occurs as blood pumps out of the heart into the arteries. Diastolic pressure is created as the heart rest between beats. The two forces combined creates your blood pressure.

Any race is can develop high blood pressure but it is more prone in African Americans. Some researchers believe African Americans may be more sensitive to salt leading to high blood pressure. Others say a variety of elements such as socioeconomic status, stress, current environment and family history can lead to the condition.

Over time if blood pressure is not controlled it can cause damage to blood vessels, arteries, the heart, kidneys and other organs. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits can improve your blood pressure. Some doctors may also provide prescription drugs to help maintain a normal blood pressure.


High cholesterol refers to elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is produced by the liver and also found in certain foods. It plays a vital role in the body, including the production of hormones, digestion of fats, and the formation of cell membranes.

Cholesterol is moved through the bloodstream in the form of lipoproteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins involved in cholesterol transport:

  1. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol,” LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells in the body. If there is an excess of LDL or the cholesterol cannot be effectively used by the cells, it can build up in the arteries, forming plaques and potentially leading to the thickening of the arteries resulting in heart disease.
  2. High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Known as “good cholesterol,” HDL helps remove excess cholesterol from the blood by carrying it back to the liver for processing and elimination. HDL protects against heart disease.

When the levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood become too high or the levels of HDL cholesterol become too low, it can lead to an imbalance and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

High cholesterol does not produce symptoms, so many people may be unaware that their cholesterol is high. It is usually diagnosed through a blood test called a lipid profile, which measures the levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Lifestyle factors, such as an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, obesity, and certain medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypothyroidism) can contribute to high cholesterol. Also, genetics can also play a role.

The management of high cholesterol typically involves lifestyle changes, including adopting a heart-healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats, regular exercise, weight management, and quitting smoking. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for managing high cholesterol based on individual risk factors and overall health.

Below are some general tips that may help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.

To lower your blood pressure:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight: Losing excess weight, especially around the waist, can help reduce blood pressure.
  2. Follow a balanced diet: Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Avoids foods with high amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars.
  3. Reduce sodium intake: Limiting sodium (salt) in your diet can help lower blood pressure. Eliminate processed foods, canned soups, and fast food, as they contain high amounts of sodium.
  4. Increase potassium intake: Foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, oranges, avocados, spinach, and sweet potatoes, can help lower blood pressure.
  5. Limit alcohol consumption: Consuming large amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure. Eliminate alcohol or drink only in moderation.
  6. Exercise routine: Find time to exercise each day. Walking, swimming, or riding a bike for 30 minutes each day, can help improve your blood pressure.
  7. Manage stress: Find better ways to deal with stress. Take time to relax and engage in hobbies, or seek support from loved ones or contact a mental health professional.

To lower your cholesterol:

  1. Adopt a heart-healthy diet: Choose foods low in saturated and trans fats. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Incorporate sources of healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
  2. Increase fiber intake: Consuming soluble fiber found in oats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes can help lower cholesterol levels.
  3. Limit dietary cholesterol: Reduce your intake of foods high in cholesterol, such as organ meats, shellfish, and high-fat dairy products.
  4. Choose lean proteins: Opt for lean cuts of meat, skinless poultry, fish, and plant-based proteins like beans and lentils.
  5. Exercise regularly: Engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercises for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  6. Quit smoking: Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol and damages blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease. Seek support to quit smoking if you’re a smoker.
  7. Limit alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can raise cholesterol levels. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

It’s important to note that these lifestyle changes may take time to show significant effects. Additionally, your doctor may recommend medication if necessary to manage your blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance based on your specific health situation.