Five Tips for Managing High Blood Pressure

Five Tips for Managing High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, commonly known as “high blood pressure,” afflicts about 30% of the population and is also becoming increasingly prevalent among children, adolescents, and young adults, affecting 10% of them (ISS data).

The good news is that there are effective solutions to treat hypertension with proper medical support and the creation of a personalized treatment plan aimed at managing blood pressure, often through simple lifestyle modifications.

Lifestyle Tips for Dealing with High Blood Pressure

1. Eat a heart-healthy diet

Choose fresh, whole foods and limit processed and packaged foods in your diet. Eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meat, poultry, and fish, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.

2. Get active

Regular activity — 30 minutes each day — can help control your weight and lower your stress levels, which can help control your blood pressure. The key to sticking with an activity plan is to choose something you like, such as walking, biking, dancing, or swimming. Be sure to talk with your doctor about what’s safe before you start any new exercise plan.

3. Limit your sodium and alcohol intake

Sodium and alcohol can both contribute to higher blood pressure. Packaged and processed foods are often high in sodium, therefore, it is important to check food nutrition labels carefully and, if necessary, consult a nutritionist to manage sodium intake. As for alcohol, it is advisable to limit its consumption: guidelines recommend no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two for men to keep blood pressure under control.

4. Don’t smoke

Smoking harms your heart and blood vessels in many ways. It temporarily raises blood pressure, makes it more likely for blood to form dangerous clots, and lowers your ability to exercise. It’s also a good idea to avoid secondhand smoke.

5. Follow your doctor’s advice

Your doctor will be able to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs, which may include the use of medications along with lifestyle modifications. It is essential to follow the specialists' instructions carefully, even if your blood pressure levels improve. Never stop taking medication for hypertension without first consulting your doctor, even if you feel better. It is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction, to ensure that blood pressure is kept under control.

Learn more about UPMC's cardiology services and make an appointment with one of our specialists.