When it comes to our health, few things are as important as maintaining healthy blood pressure. Yet, it’s usually not something we think about until it becomes a problem.

So, what does it really mean to our health and what can we do about it?

When I was much younger, my blood pressure was always low, sometimes to the point of making me feel sluggish. But I thought that I wouldn’t have to worry about high blood pressure in the future. Wrong!

My blood pressure has crept up and up over the years. My doctor has pushed me to take blood pressure medication, which she has been increasing as my blood pressure increased. Yikes! I hate that!

I’ve been forced to learn more about blood pressure and what I can do about mine. This blog post examines some what we need to know about blood pressure.

Understanding Blood Pressure

Basically, blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. It's typically measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is expressed as two numbers, such as 120/80 mmHg. The first number, known as systolic pressure, represents the force when your heart beats, while the second number, diastolic pressure, indicates the pressure when your heart is at rest between beats.

It's important to maintain a healthy blood pressure because high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney issues. On the other hand, low blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting. Striking the right balance is key.

As my blood pressure has increased, so has my anxiety about it. My father and grandfather had a heart attack. My grandmother had mini-strokes and dementia. You see why I’m concerned, right?

Know Your Numbers

The first step in managing your blood pressure is knowing your baseline. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are crucial for this. If your blood pressure is consistently above 120/80 mmHg, it's essential to take action to bring it down to a healthier range.

It’s also important to take your blood pressure regularly if you have reason to be concerned. Newer methods of taking blood pressure have made it easier to do that.

The OMRON Platinum Blood Pressure Monitor was the highest rated by Consumer Reports, which is my go-to source for unbiased product reviews. It is available from Amazon for $84.00.

The second highest-rated monitor was OMRON Silver Blood Pressure Monitor at only 1 point below the platinum-rated one and it’s only $53.00.

I use the Withings BPM Connect – Digital Wireless Blood Pressure Cuff & Heart Rate Monitor. I was surprised to find that Consumer Reports rated it much lower than the above two monitors. The main con was that it didn’t have an irregular heartbeat detector. But I’m happy with mine because it is easy to use, and I can save readings on my health app.

Keeping a log of your readings can help you and your doctor make informed decisions about your treatment plan. (See an easy way to do this at the end of this post.)

Lifestyle Matters

One of the most effective ways to manage your blood pressure is by making lifestyle changes. Here’s where the rubber meets the road! Yes, if I want to lower my blood pressure, I must make some lifestyle changes. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Eat Healthy

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products can help lower blood pressure. Reducing your sodium intake is also essential, as excess salt can contribute to hypertension.

This one really hurts, because I love salty foods!

Get Active

Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. But any movement that is more than you usually do is a good place to start.

I don’t think I’ll be doing much vigorous-intensity exercise no matter how I build up my activity.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you're overweight, losing even a few pounds can make a significant difference in your blood pressure. Talk to your healthcare provider about a healthy weight loss plan that's right for you.

Yikes!! Here we go again. This one is a biggie for me (pun intended)!

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine

Excessive alcohol and caffeine intake can lead to high blood pressure. Moderation is the key here.

Whew! I don’t have to worry about this one. I was never one to drink a lot of alcohol but after I was diagnosed with a liver condition, I didn’t drink at all. And since I switched to drinking only water (no sweet tea, Coke, or Pepsi), caffeine is not an issue. Hold the chocolate!

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help to manage stress effectively.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your blood pressure and overall health. But here’s something else to think about: I’ve read that “sitting is the new smoking”! So back to the exercise routine!


Lifestyle changes alone may not be sufficient to control blood pressure. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure. It's crucial to take your medication as prescribed and follow up with your doctor regularly to monitor your progress.


Managing your blood pressure is a journey, not a destination. By understanding your numbers, making healthy lifestyle choices, and working closely with your healthcare provider, you can take control of your blood pressure and reduce your risk of serious health problems.

Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements in your overall well-being, so start today on the path to a healthier life. It’s become a priority for me. I’d like to be around long enough to see my last grandchild grow up!

Because my blood pressure has increasingly become a source of concern for me, I have created a Blood Pressure Tracker to help me keep abreast of my blood pressure daily.

blood pressure tracker mockup

It’s a simple spreadsheet in Google Sheets, which is free. Click HERE to take a look at it and see if it might help you track your blood pressure.

The cost is minimal, but your health is priceless.