High blood pressure silently damages blood vessels and leads to serious health problems, including stroke. In fact, it’s the major risk factor for stroke. Reducing high blood pressure can help prevent stroke, a major cause of death and disability.
First, discuss your blood pressure with your health care provider. If it’s too high, or borderline high, work with your health care provider to lower it.
Taking prescribed medication, if needed, is important. But there’s much you can do to help:
Research has shown the heart-healthy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan, rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains and low in salt, can lower high blood pressure.
Regular physical activity can lower blood pressure. (Get your provider’s okay if you are new to exercise.)
Control stress. Research shows techniques such as yoga and meditation can effectively soothe stress, lowering blood pressure in many people.
Get serious about weight control. Even losing just 3% to 5% of excess weight can improve blood pressure readings.
If you smoke, get help quitting. Call the National Cancer Institute’s free
Smoking Quitline at 1-877-448-7848.