Election Section

Make changes, lose the medicine

The Associated Press
Friday August 17, 2001

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Make a few changes in your life, and you could reduce or even eliminate the need for blood pressure medicine, advises the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. 

The newsletter echoes the advice you may hear from your doctor: 

• Lose it if you’re overweight. Even 7 to 10 pounds can help. 

• Exercise. Try to be physically active for 30 to 40 minutes each day. 

• Eat right. Choose foods with less fat, including low-fat dairy products. Eat more grains, fruits and vegetables. This will ensure adequate intakes of potassium and calcium, which may lower blood pressure. Using olive oil in cooking also may help. 

• Reduce sodium. Limit your intake of sodium to 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams a day. Sodium in salt causes fluid retention, which in turn can raise blood pressure. 

• Stop smoking. Nicotine can raise your blood pressure. 

• Limit alcohol. No more than 1 ounce of alcohol daily for men, half that amount for women. An ounce translates to 2 ounces of 100-proof liquor, 24 ounces of beer, or 10 ounces of wine. 

• Limit caffeine. Caffeine can raise blood pressure in some people. 

• Manage stress. Meditation, rhythmic exercises such as tai chi, or having a pet are good ways to help reduce stress.