If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, you can begin to get your blood pressure under control with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. If your blood pressure is more difficult to control, there are new procedures and medications under investigation as additional treatment options.
If you have hypertension, your doctor will recommend several lifestyle modifications that can help control your blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet – A heart-healthy diet is rich in lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and is limited in salt and solid fats. Your doctor may suggest developing a meal plan with a dietician or nutritionist.
- Exercise regularly – Getting regular exercise is one of the keys to heart health and can help lower your blood pressure. Most doctors recommend 150 minutes of dedicated exercise per week, in addition to incorporating more movement into daily life, such as taking the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting on any new exercise plan.
- Quit smoking – Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of preventable heart health problems and increases your blood pressure. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, now’s the time to quit. Your doctor is a great resource you can use to help you succeed.
- Manage your stress – Whether you realize it or not, your mind and body are closely connected. Anxiety and other emotions are driven by thoughts but felt by the body. When you’re stressed or scared, your heart may beat faster, making breathing harder. It makes your heart work harder, which will raise your blood pressure. Taking a positive approach to life, setting realistic expectations, and discovering healthy ways to relax and manage stress can help you reduce your blood pressure.
Fortunately, many medications are available to help you control your blood pressure. These medications work on different body parts to help lower blood pressure. As a result, controlling your blood pressure may require that you take more than one type of medication.