How to Cut Down on Medications
Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days. That means a grand total of 150 minutes or more per week.
Becoming more active and working on your diet help you lose extra weight. Losing even a small amount of weight can help, says cardiologist James Beckerman.
4. Cut back on alcohol.
Yes, moderate drinking may be good for your heart. But drinking too much can raise your blood pressure.
You don’t have to eliminate alcohol completely to make a difference. Stick to a max of about one glass per day if you’re a woman or two per day if you’re a man.
5. Sit. Breathe. Repeat.
Take time to relax every day. Sit quietly and breathe deeply for 15-20 minutes.
Learn how to manage your time. It’s OK to say “no” if you don’t have time or energy for something.
Identify your stress triggers, or things that upset you, and avoid them when possible. If you can’t avoid them, find ways to unwind.
“Simple, effective relaxation techniques can help you focus, relax, and lower your blood pressure,” says John Kennedy, MD, author of The 15 Minute Heart Cure.
6. Go smoke-free.
Avoid cigarettes and all other tobacco products. If you smoke, quitting can improve your blood pressure and risk of heart attack and stroke.
Even if you don’t smoke, stay away from secondhand smoke.
7. Ask for feedback.
Let your doctors know that you're working on these habits. They can support you and let you know if you're ready to cut back on any medications as you make progress over time. Don't make any medication changes on your own.
Your doctor may also refer you to other experts, like a dietitian or trainer, who can help you.
Reap the Benefits
Making these changes is powerful. Over time, you should see your blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol improve. You'll probably feel and sleep better, too.
How long it takes to see these changes varies depending on the number of changes you make and how your body responds to them. Typically, you’ll start seeing results within about 3 to 6 months, Higgins says.