Living With High Blood Pressure
Lifestyle changes are important to help control
high blood pressure, especially if you have other risk
Even if your doctor has
prescribed medicine for you, you can still take many steps at home to lower
your blood pressure and reduce your risk. Some people can even take less
medicine after making these changes.
What changes do you need to make?
lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure:
- Lose extra weight.
If you are overweight, losing as little as 10 lb (4.5 kg) may lower your blood
pressure. It may also allow you to take less blood pressure medicine. Losing
weight may also lower your cholesterol. For
- Healthy Eating: Starting a Plan for Change.
- Weight Management: Using Positive Thinking.
- Eat healthy foods. Getting enough of the nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy
products helps lower blood pressure. Use the DASH eating plan as a guide. See the topic Nutrition for High Blood Pressure. For more information, see:
- High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet.
- Get active. Regular
physical activity can lower blood pressure in those who have high blood
- Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life.
- Don't smoke. Nicotine
temporarily increases blood pressure and heart rate with each use. Smoking also
causes the arteries to tighten (constrict), which also increases blood
pressure. For more information, see the topic
Quitting Smoking. And for more help, see:
- Quitting Smoking: Getting Support.
- Quitting Smoking: Coping With Cravings and Withdrawal.
- Drink less alcohol. Alcohol increases blood pressure. Drink it in moderation, if at all.
That means no more than 2
a day for men or 1 drink a day for women. See Quick Tips: Cutting Back on Drinking.
- Cut back on salt.
Eating less salt can help prevent and control high blood pressure. Learn how to:
- Manage stress. Your
blood pressure increases when you are under stress. Relaxation techniques,
including progressive muscle relaxation and meditation, may help lower mild
high blood pressure. For more information, see the topic
Stress Management. And to learn some techniques, see:
- Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
- Stress Management: Doing Meditation.
- Check your own blood pressure. A
home blood pressure monitor makes it easy to keep
track of your blood pressure. Seeing those small improvements can motivate
you to keep going with your lifestyle changes. To learn more, see:
- High Blood Pressure: Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home.