changes can help you control and prevent high blood pressure,
even if youíre taking blood pressure medication.
what you can do:
healthy foods. Eat a healthy diet. Try the Dietary Approaches
to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasizes fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy
foods. Get plenty of potassium, which can help prevent and
control high blood pressure. Eat less saturated fat and trans
the salt in your diet. A lower sodium level ó 1,500 mg a day
ó is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and
individuals of any age who are black or who have hypertension,
diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
healthy people can aim for 2,300 mg a day or less. While you
can reduce the amount of salt you eat by putting down the
saltshaker, you generally should also pay attention to the
amount of salt thatís in the processed foods you eat, such
as canned soups or frozen dinners.
a healthy weight. Keeping a healthy weight, or losing weight
if youíre overweight or obese, can help you control your
high blood pressure and lower your risk of related health
problems. If youíre overweight, losing even 5 pounds (2.3
kilograms) can lower your blood pressure.
physical activity. Regular physical activity can help lower
your blood pressure, manage stress, reduce your risk of
several health problems and keep your weight under control.
healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services
recommends that you get at least 150 minutes a week of
moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous
aerobic activity, or a combination or moderate and vigorous
activity. Aim to do muscle-strengthening exercises at least
two days a week.
alcohol. Even if youíre healthy, alcohol can raise your
blood pressure. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in
moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a
day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to
two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals
12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof
smoke. Tobacco injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the
process of hardening of the arteries. If you smoke, ask your
doctor to help you quit.
stress. Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy
coping techniques, such as muscle relaxation, deep breathing
or meditation. Getting regular physical activity and plenty of
sleep can help, too.
your blood pressure at home. Home blood pressure monitoring
can help you keep closer tabs on your blood pressure, show if
medication is working, and even alert you and your doctor to
potential complications. Home blood pressure monitoring isnít
a substitute for visits to your doctor, and home blood
pressure monitors may have some limitations. Even if you get
normal readings, donít stop or change your medications or
alter your diet without talking to your doctor first.
blood pressure is under control, you may be able to make fewer
visits to your doctor if you monitor your blood pressure at
relaxation or slow, deep breathing. Practice taking deep, slow
breaths to help relax. There are some devices available that
promote slow, deep breathing. However, itís questionable
whether these devices have a significant effect on lowering
your blood pressure.
blood pressure during pregnancy. If youíre a woman with high
blood pressure, discuss with your doctor how to control your
blood pressure during pregnancy.