Since May is Blood Pressure Awareness Month, we’re sharing some tips on how to control and lower your blood pressure. Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure, so making changes now may help you avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Here are five lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and help keep it down.
Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight can also cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure.
Reduce sodium in your diet
Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 points if you have high blood pressure. In general, limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is ideal for most adults.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
By drinking alcohol only in moderation — generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men — you can potentially lower your blood pressure.
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for several minutes after you finish it.
Reduce your stress
Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure. Occasional stress can also contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking.