Hypertension: Lifestyle Management

Reviewed by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Hypertension usually requires lifelong management.

Thankfully, these healthy habits can help you control your high blood pressure. Healthy habits include:

  • Maintain a healthy diet. Try to limit the amount of salt that you eat and look for low-sodium options. Avoid foods high in fat and cholesterol, which can raise blood pressure.

  • Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can increase your blood pressure and fat levels in the blood. Alcohol also adds extra calories, which may lead to weight gain.

  • Exercise. Routine physical activity can lower cholesterol, decrease high blood pressure, and remove excess weight. Your doctor can help you develop a personal routine that suits your individual needs and interests.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help alleviate unnecessary stress on the heart. Excess weight makes the heart work harder than it needs to and is often associated with other heart conditions often associated with hypertension.

  • Stop smoking. Cigarettes damage and constrict blood vessels. Avoid any secondhand smoke.

  • Reduce stress. The most common trigger for a heart attack is a strong emotional reaction to a stressful event, such as anger. Learning to remain calm and relax can help keep your heart healthy.

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