Episode #162 Lower Your Pressure

The most important prerequisite to becoming fully alive is to be… alive. This week, Dr. Michael Brown opens up about his physical health, and Dr. Justin Brown offers his tips for living as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Show Notes

If there are choices that I can make at 27, if there are choices I can make tomorrow, if there are choices I can make over the next 10 years to help me achieve these goals of living longer and living healthier for longer… then I want to do those things.
Dr. Justin Brown

Nine Problems

  • Even if we live a healthy lifestyle, we can still develop high blood pressure due to age or genetics.
  • High blood pressure is the leading cause of doctor appointments, daily medications, heart attacks, heart failure, brain bleeds, strokes, and kidney disease.
  • If we don’t check our blood pressure, we may never know that it is too high.
  • About 50% of Americans have uncontrolled blood pressure, and this disproportionately affects rural communities and people of color.
  • The effect of blood pressure is cumulative, so a year of high blood pressure in our 40s can be just as detrimental as a year of high blood pressure in our 70s.
  • With each passing moment, we are closer to the time of our death.
  • Poverty, systemic racism, smoking, and drinking alcohol all have negative effects on blood pressure.
  • There is no quick-fix vitamin or supplement that reduces blood pressure as effectively as a healthy lifestyle.
  • White coat syndrome (blood pressure that is high only in a doctor’s office) is not benign, but it is actually associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Nine Principles

  • The choices we make today have a substantial impact on our life decades down the line.
  • The more steps we take to reduce our blood pressure, the more benefit we will see.
  • As a rule of thumb, the lower the blood pressure we can tolerate and maintain through healthy choices, the better.
  • An awareness of our age-related blood pressure changes is a healthy reminder of the brevity of life.
  • Eating a low-sodium diet, participating in regular aerobic exercise, and reducing body weight by 10 pounds can each reduce blood pressure by an average of 5 points.
  • Pausing to breathe, relaxing our muscles, and lowering our emotional temperature have positive impacts on our overall wellness – even if they do not affect our blood pressure.
  • Regular caffeine intake doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on blood pressure.
  • It is better to take one medication to control our blood pressure now than to take several medications to manage its consequences later.
  • No matter how uncomfortable it may be, reality is our friend.

Nine Practices

  • Ask your doctor, “What blood pressure goal do you recommend for me?”
  • Add only half the amount of salt that your recipes call for, and keep only the pepper grinder at your dinner table.
  • Watch out for hidden salt in canned or processed foods, TV dinners, and even milk.
  • Select items at the grocery store that are labeled “No Sodium” or “Low Sodium.”
  • Invest in a reliable blood pressure monitor that you can use at home.
  • For an accurate blood pressure reading, use an upper arm cuff on bare skin held at the level of your heart with your feet on the ground and an empty bladder.
  • Take 3 blood pressure readings in both the morning and evening, write down the averages over the course of a week, and bring this list to your next doctor appointment.
  • Accept the reality that you may benefit from a daily medication at some point in your life – and maybe even in the near future.
  • Demonstrate proactivity by scheduling a wellness visit with a medical provider today.