High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. The only way to know if you have it is to measure your blood pressure. Then you can take steps to control it if it is too high.
Blood pressure can be checked at home with a digital blood pressure monitor or in a hospital with a manual sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope.
6 Top Ways to Never Get High Blood Pressure (Prevention)
Healthy lifestyle habits and regular medical care can prevent high blood pressure or its complications.
Preventing High Blood Pressure From Onset
Healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent high blood pressure from developing. It is important to check your blood pressure regularly (that is to know your numbers). Children should have their blood pressure checked starting at 3 years of age. If prehypertension is detected, it should be taken seriously to avoid progressing to high blood pressure.
Know your numbers (monitor your blood pressure)
The best way to know if your blood pressure is in a healthy or unhealthy range is to get it checked. If high blood pressure is diagnosed, regular monitoring can help confirm if you have high blood pressure, detect patterns and alert you any changes. It will also show you if the changes you’ve made are working.
mm Hg (upper #)
mm Hg (lower #)
|Normal||less than 120||and||less than 80|
|Prehypertensionmiddle||120 – 139||or||80 – 89|
|High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1middle
|140 – 159||or||90 – 99|
|High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
|160 or higher||or||100 or higher|
(Emergency care needed)
|Higher than 180||or||Higher than 110|
Managing blood pressure is a lifelong commitment
Listen to and partner with your doctor, read sound information on your condition, learn how to monitor your blood pressure at home and act on this information to live a heart-healthy life.
Preventing the Rise of High Blood Pressure or Complications
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is important to obtain regular medical care and to follow your prescribed treatment plan, which will include healthy lifestyle habit recommendations and possibly medicines. Not only can healthy lifestyle habits prevent high blood pressure from occurring, but they can reverse prehypertension and help control existing high blood pressure or prevent complications and long-term problems associated with this condition, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, or kidney disease.
6 Top Ways to Never Get High Blood Pressure (Prevention)
With constant monitoring of your blood pressure (that is knowing your number) as stated above, you can prevent high blood pressure by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can make you two to six times more likely to develop high blood pressure than if you are at your desirable weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can make a big difference in helping to prevent and treat high blood pressure.
- Exercising regularly: A great way to improve your BMI and prevent or decrease high blood pressure is to get regular exercise. People who are physically active have a lower risk of getting high blood pressure — 20% to 50% lower — than people who are not active.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says that simple aerobic activity, such as walking or doing chores around the house, can lower blood pressure. ACSM recommends a half hour minimum of moderate physical activity five days a week.
By incorporating cardiovascular exercise into your routine, you will improve circulation, increase your lung capacity, and improve your heart efficiency. The combination of these benefits will reduce your blood pressure. It’s even better if you’re able to exercise outside. The exposure to vitamin D in sunshine has been proven to increase happiness and reduce stress — just make sure to wear sunscreen!
If you’re not ready for cardiovascular exercise, start with a simple routine of stretching your muscles. Gentle yoga or Pilates programs are a good place to start. By stretching your muscles regularly, you will improve your circulation, alleviate pain in your muscles, improve your posture, and ultimately be able to take steps toward reducing hypertension.
- Reducing your intake of salt: For many people, eating a low-sodium diet can help keep blood pressure normal. “The higher the sodium intake, the higher the blood pressure,” says Ogedegbe. You can cut back on your total salt intake by avoiding high-sodium packaged and processed foods and not adding extra salt to your meals. “I tell people to stay away from salt shakers”.
- Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all: Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg.
But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for women and for men older than age 65, or more than two a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
- Reduce stress: Stress can make blood pressure go up, and over time may contribute to the cause of high blood pressure. There are many steps you can take to reduce your stress. The article on easing stress will get you started.
- Eating foods rich in:
.Potassium. Eating foods rich in potassium will help protect some people from developing high blood pressure. Increasing your potassium intake can also offset the effects of sodium. You can get more of this mineral by incorporating foods such as apricots, greens, and mushrooms into your diet. Potassium-rich foods such as tuna are an important part of the DASH diet, too. You’re well on your way to improving your potassium levels if you adopt it.
The AHA recommends that you limit your potassium intake to no more than 4,700 mg a day.
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- Calcium. Populations with low calcium intakes have high rates of high blood pressure. However, it has not been proven that taking calcium tablets will prevent high blood pressure. But it is important to be sure to get at least the recommended amount of calcium — 1,000 milligrams per day for adults 19 to 50 years old and 1,200 mg for those over 50 (pregnant and breastfeeding women also need more) — from the foods you eat. Dairy foods like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of calcium. Low-fat and nonfat dairy products have even more calcium than the high-fat types.
- Garlic. There has been some evidence to suggest garlic’s effect in lowering blood pressure, in addition to improving cholesterol and reducing some cancers. Further research is being conducted to fully assess garlic’s potential health benefits.
- Magnesium. A diet low in magnesium may make your blood pressure rise. But doctors don’t recommend taking extra magnesium to help prevent high blood pressure — the amount you get in a healthy diet is enough. Magnesium is found in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dry peas and beans.
- Fish oils. A type of fat called “omega-3 fatty acids” is found in fatty fish like mackerel and salmon. Large amounts of fish oils may help reduce high blood pressure, but their role in prevention is unclear. Taking fish oil pills is not recommended, because high doses can cause unpleasant side effects. Most fish, if not fried or made with added fat, is low in saturated fat and calories and can be eaten often.
Maintaining a diet that is low in sodium, engaging in cardiovascular exercise for over half an hour three or four times per week, regularly monitoring your blood pressure and being proactive about your stress levels are the most significant ways you can prevent hypertension.
Looking into your family history to find out if heart disease and hypertension are part of your genetic makeup is a way to find out if you’re at high risk for developing high blood pressure. It’s also good information for you and your doctor to have.
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