High blood pressure - how long for low salt results to show up??

davefr

Doc says my BP is too high. I'm determined to try and get it down naturally by going low salt along with other things such as more excersise, other diet changes, etc. I don't want medicine if I can avoid it!!

I admit that my diet has been very high in salt. Does anyone know how long it takes for BP to start coming down once you reduce salt intake. (days, weeks, months??)

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agnespuffin

BP changes on a daily basis. Sometimes up and sometimes down. You will see a gradual general decline, but nothing sudden. but it may take months for it to be a permanent change. Other things like stress can also influence the BP.

In other words, a low salt diet may be doing wonders, but if it's hot weather or you just had a bad auto accident and your mother died.....your stress level could boost your BP up until everything in your life returned to normal. Things like that can affect you for weeks and months. So it's hard to say.

From a personal stand point. I can do just fine, then I have a piece of bacon for breakfast, fast food something for lunch and my BP will zoom up. It will take several days before it is back down to acceptable levels.

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swanoir

In general, hypertension is a complex and significant illness. While I applaud your decision to address lifestyle and dietary parameters that may be contributing to your illness, this area is generally too complicated for a layperson to easily treat without assistance. One of the first principles of integrative or CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) is the principle of biochemical individuality. No two people respond exactly the same to any given intervention, whether it is a drug or a dietary measure. The same is true here. What works for your neighbor will not necessarily work for you.

You should also consider that there are potentially negative consequences to restricting sodium in the diet. There are cases where sodium restriction has actually increased blood pressures in some cases. In addition, the current research indicates that only a small number of hypertensives respond well to sodium restriction.

What may be a better option for you is to consult with a naturopathic physician or other knowledgeable alternative medicine provider. As the other poster noted, there are many components that effect blood pressure. Having a customized hypertension protocol created just for you will allow you to meet your goal of natural health care in the most effective fashion.

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catherinet

I've noticed that if I cut my salt down, I see it within several days. The first thing you might notice is increased urination.
Maybe its the salt in foods, but my BP comes down, when I reduce my food intake too.....even if its not real salty stuff. In the past, I've actually had a bad spike in my BP during the holidays, when I eat too much and too much salty stuff.
Some of us are very sensitive to salt and we have a big response to it, blood pressure-wise, when we decrease it. Hopefully, you'll be that way.

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devorah

My blood pressure does not appear to have changed on account of my adoption of a low salt diet, but my kidney function improved from 49% to 60% in 3 months.

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seattlemike

As others have pointed out, HBP has many root causes that vary widely from person to person, and it's virtually impossible to guesstimate how long it would take for a reduced salt regimen to have an effect on you. Almost all of us would benefit some by reducing our sodium intake.

Since you appear to be averse to medications, I would recommend you purchase a good automatic blood pressure monitor and learn how to use it properly so that you can see for yourself if your new dietary and lifestyle changes are making any difference.

As you may know, HBP is an insidious disease that can lead to all sorts of bad outcomes. One way or another, I would want to get it down. I have a family history of very HBP. Several years ago my doctor suggested I start taking Lipitor. I resisted, so he gave me the full lecture: low salt diet, exercise, etc., etc. At my following year's checkup, my bp had come down a bit, but only very slightly and nowhere near my goal. I then started medication, and my bp plummeted to normal in less than a month. In hindsight, I should have started the medication sooner, given my family history and my own high readings.

Has your doctor explained to you what risks YOU face, given your bp readings?

You, of course, are your own health manager. Your doctor is your advisor. (Mine dispensed advice with the charm of a pit bull.) Whatever you decide to do, I wish you all the best!

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seattlemike

Oops. I misspoke. Lipitor was for my high cholesterol. There are many bp medications; mine is Lisiniprol.

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davefr

Thanks for the responses. I've taken 12 readings/wk over 4 wks. Here are the weekly averages:

Week 1: 148/87
Week 2: 141/85
Week 3: 137/84
Week 4: 135/85

During week 1 I started the following:
- Went low salt
- Fish 2X/wk or fish oil supplement on non fish days
- Improved diet. (less red meat, more fruits, vegatables)
- Exercise (brisk walking 8X/wk at 20-30 minutes ea)
- Garlicon, Q10 supplements

Doc wants me to try to get to 120/80 but I think the rate of improvement is slowing down. I'm going to stay the course for now but not sure if 120/80 is obtainable.

My Dr. also agrees that BP medicine should be avoided if at all possible.

I'm glad I made it from hypertension to borderline but I'd like to get within striking distance of normal. I've only seen two individual readings

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blueheron

I would also like to get my BP down by natural means, since I seem to have side effects to all the medicines prescribed. (I wouldn't worry about a reading of 120 at all. My dr is satisfied when mine averages out to 130.)

I had to call him today because the medication caused swelling of the ankles and general fluid retention. I also developed a skin rash, not sure if that's from the medication or the diuretic. Sigh... He suggested I cut the meds in half and increase the diuretic. I'm not thrilled about that because the diuretic also has side effects. :(

I am trying to reduce my salt intake, I exercise and eat a healthy diet. The only thing left is to lose 10 lbs. I have a passion for salty snacks. Bad for me because of the salt and of all the other additives, so I will need to cut them out of my diet. :(

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davefr

blueheron,
All I can say is to try going low salt and see if you're one of the people that responds well to a low sodium diet. (some do, some don't).

Mr. Dr. says that BP medicine should be a niche and avoided only when all other natural and lifestyle means fail.

When my Dr. told me my BP was approaching 160 I started reading sodium labels and I was absolutely shocked how much sodium I was taking in on a daily basis. Cerial is loaded with salt, lunch meats are loaded with salt. I like cheese and crackers as an afternoon snack and that was nearly 3000 grams, (ie 2X normal days worth), in a 5 minute snack. I also like Sushi. Well just look at a Soy Sauce label!! I also like pizza but between the crust and the pepperoni that's almost a weeks worth of sodium.

The supermarkets are full of low trans fats and organic foods but good luck finding the low sodium section because it doesn't exist. Yet 1/3 to 1/4 of Americans are believed to have high BP problems and many can be mitigated via low sodium diets.

It takes a huge effort to seek out low sodium foods but give it a try. You can also try and eat potassium rich foods on days that you consume high sodium. They balance each other out.

I'm really pissed the food industry is killing us with mega doses of sodium and no-one seems to care.

However my wife craves sodium and her BP is perfectly normal.

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seattlemike

Way to go! I'd say that's pretty darned good results you attained over that one month. Congratulations and keep it up!

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blueheron

Davefr, Yesterday, I was reading Dr Weil's site about HBP. Here are his recommendations:

Limit caffeine and alcohol intake. (No problem.)
Avoid processes foods. (I cook from scratch.)
Maintain optimal weight. (I will lose 10 lbs.)
Relax. (I have no problem relaxing.)
Don't smoke. (I quit smoking 13 yrs ago.)
Exercise. (DH and I exercise 4x per week.)

I know what you mean about all the salt that is in foods at the supermarket. It's in so many processed foods. I do mostly cook foods from scratch for that reason and because they're healthier. Somebody on TV said, don't buy anything with more than 5 ingredients.

Hopefully, my new regimen will show results.

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fandlil

I am 73 years old. Some 30 years ago, my BP started going up, and I was advised to reduce salt. I did it and monitored my BP every day, and watched it go down gradually but steadily. and it stayed down for a few years. Then it started climbing again, and I started taking anti-hypertensive medications. I now take two different such medications to keep my BP within normal range, and I watch my diet.

Eliminating salt from your diet is very difficult because so many things contain salt. It's not just avoiding the salt shaker and avoiding salt in the food you cook. Most people do not know it, but milk, bread and most cold cuts and cheeses contain salt. Meats and fishes also contain some salt. The only things that contain no salt are potatoes, fruit and veggies, rice, grains, beans and unsalted nuts. You can accustom your taste buds to "like" unsalted food and, after a few weeks, you will find even lightly salted things too salty and wonder how you ever ate them. Depending on your personal situation, you might make life very complicated for the people you live with.

If you decide to embark on this low sodium effort, make sure your BP elevation is not so high as to pose a serious risk, because you could do yourself harm if you do not get your BP under control promptly.

Another thing to consider is that some people with high BP have a form of the disease that is particularly salt-sensitive. They respond especially well to reduced sodium intake. If your illness is not of that type, then you will probably eventually find that sodium restriction does not afford you the degree of BP control that you need, and you will have to start taking medication. Of you can try calcium supplements, but they can be constipating.

The cheapest and for most people safest starting antihypertensive medication is hydochlorthiazide (HCZT), which is available as a generic and costs less than $20 per month. It's a very safe drug, and you will probably not experience any unpleasant side effects.

Blood pressure control is one of the few areas where the drug industry has succeeded very well. The available treatments are highly effective and extremely safe. You will hardly know you are taking any medication, and the "silent killer" can be kept safely at bay.

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agnespuffin

It's hard to cut out cooking habits, but it's one way to cut out a lot of salt.

don't add salt when you cook potatoes, rice, pasta, or even your breadfast eggs. You will be surprised at how quickly you get used to doing without. I found that adding extra pepper or garlic POWDER (not salt) added a little lift, but I soon got so I didn't need it.

And just don't buy those salty snacks!
Good Luck

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blueheron

I never add salt when I cook potatoes or pasta and I use Mrs Dash (salt free) to flavor foods.

As to HCTZ, I have side effects from that, too. Rash, headaches and dizziness. And I get the swollen ankles from amlodipine besolate. I just don't like meds, they all have side effects. I am hoping the new regimen will help.

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davefr

OK, it's been 2 months so far and I've gone from about 150/90 level down to about the 130/80 level.

I'm not sure I can get below 120 because the averages have leveled off.

I've gone low salt, low cholesteral, more exercise and take Garlicin, Q10 and Fish Oil pills.

What's left to try or is 130/80 even bad? They call it borderline.

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Marilyn Maya Mendoza

I will be 67 next week and this year got my bp under control without drugs. It went as high as 220/78 and by cutting most salt. I eat 1000 grams a day, cutting out most meat. I eat chicken once a week and fish and eggs a couple of days a week, My bp is now 115/60 I guess I was one of those salt sensitive people. Anxiety makes it go high once in a while and I start slow breathing and in five minutes it's down

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HU-816671424

Im 63 and been fighting with HBP for the last 10 years. Bouncing between 145 and 160. I cut out salt and only purchased food that had reduced salt labels. 2 weeks ago, Dr gave me a prescription to reduce HBP on acct that it was up to 160 in his office. I didn't like that and so I revisited the internet to find out about what other salt I could minimize. What an eyeopener. The organic Soups, Pizza, Sandwiches Ive been eating were killing me. I couldn't believe how much and many things have Sodium in it and at such high levels. I cut to less than the 1500 recommended sodium a day. I also began eating high potassium food like bananas, beets, berries, etc. . Went to the Dr. today to for follow up on my BP meds and check the BP. 135/82. Then, I was so happy to rub their nose in their meds and tell them that I didn't take them, I just changed my eating habbits. Thats only 1 weeks worth of this new diet. The food industry is killing us with all the sugar and salt in all the processed food. Wake up people, they only want us addicted to this poison for our money. They are no better than drug dealers. And the Drs... all they care about is treating symptoms with drug prescriptions, not the root cause. My BP goes down to 105 and more at night sometimes. Im continuing this new eating style. Can't wait to see what the weeks ahead bring. I feel like I just got a 2nd lease on life.

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maifleur01

People with HBP should be aware that some people have a type that is not related to sodium intake. I am of that type. It is all of the other stuff that could lower your blood pressure.

A test that my doctor did was simple. He took my blood pressure then had me swallow about a teaspoon of salt. He then took my blood pressure at intervals. It stayed within 5 points including having me walk around the building. He told me if my HBP was related to sodium my BP would have gone up drastically. Part of it is an apparent problem with my adrenals. With this problem I need additional salt intake at times. If you feel light headed and or tired all of the time you should ask your doctor for the proper tests. You too may need to increase your salt intake. If your spouse/partner does not have HBP a low salt diet could send them to the hospital with confusion and seizures like it did my dad when he was following my mothers diet.

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Joe Benifield

There is sodium in vitamins, aspirin, ibuprofen, thyroid meds, many disolveable pills. You need to count that as well. It may also be in your hypertension meds. Better check. Makes you wonder if anyone is interested in telling you the whole truth.

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Angla Gadapee

My aunt has a high blood pressure problem and didn't find enough salt in her cooked products. To get a healthy life, I would recommend you to eat less, especially food products with high sugar and salt. Secondly, we can't tell how long, it depend on how do you manage it.

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