How Long Does It Take to Lower Blood Pressure?

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Each of us is different. So how long it takes to lower your blood pressure will depend on how high you are, what medications you are taking to lower your blood pressure, and how carefully you are following the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. . Read more about how to lower your blood pressure safely in this review.

Verywell / Mayya Agapova

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure (hypertension) develops when your heart has to pump blood through narrowed or blocked arteries with more force. As blood is pumped with more force, pressure on the artery walls increases, which can lead to severe damage throughout the body.

Systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — is the amount of blood pressure exerted on the walls of your arteries with each heartbeat. Diastolic pressure – the bottom number – is the amount of pressure your blood puts on your arteries between beats when the heart is at rest.

While many muscles work better the harder they work, the heart isn’t really one of them. Overworking the heart can lead to hypertrophy, overgrowth of the muscles, and possibly heart failure.

What is normal?

Ideal blood pressure measurements may vary slightly from person to person. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure and see if you are within normal limits or if your blood pressure is elevated. Measurements include:

  • Normal blood pressure: 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or less
  • Risk/Pre-hypertension: 120–139 / 80–89 mmHg
  • High blood pressure/hypertension: 140/90 mmHg or more


Blood pressure is a measurement of the amount of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Too much force raises your blood pressure, causing hypertension. This can make your heart work harder, weakening over time.

How long does it take to lower blood pressure?

If you have severe symptoms due to high blood pressure, your doctor will likely put you in a hospital where you can receive medication that can lower your blood pressure almost immediately, but this is not really a strategy. good in the long run.

Most of the medications you will be given to treat your blood pressure will work gradually over time. Some change the levels of various essential minerals or electrolytes – like sodium or potassium – in your body. Others, like beta blockers, can lower your heart rate and reduce the amount of work placed on your heart. Over time, this can also lead to a drop in your blood pressure. Ace inhibitors are another type of blood pressure medication, and these work by dilating narrowed arteries so blood can flow through them more easily.

There are lifestyle factors that can raise your blood pressure — including obesity, a diet high in salt, and smoking. Correcting risk factors for high blood pressure is another strategy often used along with medication to lower blood pressure and prevent further cardiovascular disease.


Medicines can lower your blood pressure quickly, but it takes time — weeks or even months — to lower your blood pressure with lifestyle changes.

Lower your levels without medication

While many people use medication to lower their blood pressure, lifestyle changes are also often recommended. Eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly are all good ways to prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, but they can also help treat these problems. While lifestyle changes alone can’t cure high blood pressure, they can improve how well your medications work and help you avoid other complications.


Lifestyle changes can help prevent high blood pressure from developing, but once you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, your treatment may require a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.


Changing your diet can have a big impact on your blood pressure. There are several types of diets that can help lower your blood pressure, including a low-carbohydrate diet or a Mediterranean diet. One of the most effective steps you can take to lower your blood pressure with your diet is to start a low-sodium, heart-healthy diet.

Dietary approaches to stopping hypertension, also known as the DASH diet, are recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This diet is very flexible to allow you the freedom to choose your foods as long as you adhere to certain guidelines, which are:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Include fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils in your diet.
  • Limit foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils like coconut and palm oils.
  • Avoid or limit sugary drinks and sweets.

According to one study, the DASH diet, combined with reduced sodium intake, can reduce systolic blood pressure readings by up to 10 mmHg for as little as one month.

Do exercise

You don’t have to be too strong to lower your blood pressure with exercise. In fact, even just getting your heart rate up with moderate exercise a few times a week can help.

One study found that older adults who were previously sedentary had a nearly 5% drop in blood pressure with aerobic exercise. How quickly you achieve these results will greatly depend on the type of exercise you do and how often you do it. Just 150 minutes a week — or about 20 minutes a day — of aerobic activity can lower your blood pressure by 5–8 mmHg.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol is known to raise blood pressure, and you might be surprised at the recommended limit for daily alcohol intake. Recommendations are usually based on body size, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

The time frame for improvement will vary based on your blood pressure range and how much you drink daily. People who already have high blood pressure and drink more than the recommended daily amount can lower your blood pressure by a few points just by falling back to the recommended level.

Quitting smoking

Smoking is associated with many negative health effects, and the formation of atherosclerosis – which narrows the arteries – is a big cause.

Atherosclerosis is a major cause of high blood pressure, and quitting smoking is just one of the ways you can help prevent it and lower your blood pressure.

Reduce sodium

Sodium raises blood pressure by prompting your body to make more fluid to reduce salt intake. Reducing sodium intake by just 25% can reduce blood pressure readings by 2 to 3 points. Cutting back on sodium can even help lower your blood pressure within a week. Experts say that people with high blood pressure who keep their sodium intake below 1,500 milligrams per day can reduce their blood pressure by 5-6 mmHg.

Increase Potassium

Adding potassium or increasing the amount of potassium in your diet is one way to tackle high blood pressure.

Potassium supplements can be considered a medicine, but you can also get more potassium from foods like bananas, spinach, and broccoli. The DASH diet is known for increasing your overall potassium intake.

Experts recommend consuming 3,000–3,500 milligrams of potassium per day, but be careful when taking this supplement. Other conditions, like kidney disease, may not respond well to too much potassium. Talk to your doctor about taking a supplement or increasing your potassium intake. If you already have high blood pressure, Increasing your potassium intake can lower your blood pressure by 4-5 mmHg over several weeks.

Reduce stress

Getting enough sleep and managing stress can also have a positive effect on your blood pressure. Experts are just beginning to understand the importance of sleep and stress reduction in preventing hypertension and heart disease.

Sleep deprivation caused a significant increase in systolic blood pressure in participants in one study, prompting researchers to emphasize the importance of focusing on sleep and managing stress when planning sleep. treatment of hypertensive patients.

Weight loss

Being overweight is a risk factor for all heart problems, including high blood pressure. Losing weight is often one of the first things a doctor will suggest when lowering blood pressure because it’s effective. Experts recommend that you can reduce your blood pressure by 1 mmHg for every 2.2 pounds of weight you lose.

Weight loss efforts in people with hypertension should focus on reducing calorie intake while increasing physical activity. These changes take time, but weight loss has a dose-response relationship with blood pressure. This means that the amount of weight lost has an almost direct and immediate effect on your blood pressure measurements.


Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise can take longer to work than medication to lower blood pressure.

When to seek professional treatment

You should see your doctor regularly for checkups as part of a good preventive care program. If you are doing this, your healthcare provider can see how trends develop according to your blood pressure and other health factors and give you advice on how to deal with problems. serious issue.

If you don’t see your doctor regularly and only have one episode of high blood pressure, you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to monitor it — especially if you’re experiencing symptoms like chest pain or dizzy.


Making a plan with your doctor is the best way to prevent and treat high blood pressure.

Ways to manage your blood pressure

If your blood pressure is steadily rising but isn’t classified as high blood pressure, lifestyle changes can help prevent it and protect your heart health.

If you already have high blood pressure, you should see your healthcare provider. Your doctor will likely prescribe you medication to lower your blood pressure right away, then create a plan to help you achieve longer-term improvements. Treatment plans for high blood pressure often focus on improving your overall health. These plans should include efforts such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Change your diet
  • Do exercise
  • Reduce stress
  • Quitting smoking
  • Reduce alcohol

These changes won’t lower your blood pressure immediately like medication does, but over time your doctor may be able to reduce or even stop your medication if you can successfully lower your blood pressure with lifestyle changes. .


There are natural solutions to weight loss, but you may need to start by managing your condition with medication.


Both prescription medications and lifestyle changes can help lower your blood pressure, but both can take weeks or months to work. There is no quick fix for high blood pressure, especially if you have other heart problems. Talk to your doctor early on about your risks and make sure to get regular checkups.

A very good word

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an especially true saying when it comes to your blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy, and exercising can all help prevent high blood pressure. These strategies are also used to treat this condition.

If you already have high blood pressure, there’s no quick fix. It will take a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and patience to see changes. In most cases, you’ll need a multi-pronged approach to managing your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment strategy for you.

frequently asked Questions

  • Can potassium help lower blood pressure?

    Yes, increasing the amount of potassium you consume in your diet can help lower your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor before taking a potassium supplement.

  • How long does it take to lower blood pressure with lifestyle changes?

    Some changes can happen in a few days, while others — like weight loss — can take weeks or months.

  • How long does it take for blood pressure medication to affect your blood pressure levels?

    Many medications have an almost immediate effect on your blood pressure. These medications will usually be prescribed to you as you begin lifestyle changes that can have a longer-lasting impact on your blood pressure and overall health.

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