Managing High Blood Pressure


High blood pressure affects 1 in 3 Americans, and 24% meet the criteria for hypertension, or blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90. The exact cause of high blood pressure is unknown. Some people are at risk for high blood pressure due to race or genetic factors. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

What you can do to help lower your blood pressure:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Lose weight. Even 10 lbs can make a big difference.
  • Exercise more, at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • Make time to relax.
  • Eat less salty foods. You should have less than 1.5 grams of salt per day.
  • Limit alcohol. No more than 2 drinks a day for men, or 1 a day for women
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat less processed foods.
  • Don’t eat as much meat. Limit meat, poultry, and fish to two 3-ounce servings per day.
  • Drink fat-free or low-fat milk, instead of whole milk.

Prescription medication is another way to treat high blood pressure. If you’re taking a prescription for your blood pressure, remember to visit your doctor regularly. He or she will help you monitor your medication, check for side-effects, and adjust your medication as needed.

For more information about managing high blood pressure, contact your health care provider or visit the American Heart Association’s website.