Managing high blood pressure can be a lifelong challenge. Attention must be paid to diet, exercise and, in some cases, medication. By controlling your lifestyle, you can control your blood pressure and live a longer, healthier life.
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to less than two drinks per day.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine.
- If you smoke, quit. People who have hypertension and smoke are at greater risk for strokes and heart disease.
- If you’re overweight, lose weight now. High blood pressure is a serious consideration if you are 20 percent or more overweight for your age and height.
- Get regular aerobic exercise at least three times a week. Exercise does much more than just help you lose weight. Regular exercise can lower blood pressure significantly. Inactive people are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure than active people. (Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.)
- If your doctor has described hypertension medication, take it. If you suffer side effects, contact your doctor about adjusting your dosage or changing your medication.