Lifestyle changes can help you control and prevent high blood pressure, even if you’re taking blood pressure medication. Here’s what you can do:

Eat Healthy Foods

Eat a healthy diet. Try the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. Get plenty of potassium, which can help prevent and control high blood pressure. Eat less saturated fat and trans fat.

Decrease The Salt In Your Diet

A lower sodium level – 1,500mg a day – is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and individuals of any age who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Otherwise healthy people can aim for 2,300mg a day or less. While you can reduce the amount of salt you eat by putting down the saltshaker, you generally should also pay attention to the amount of salt that’s in the processed foods you eat, such as canned soups or frozen dinners.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Keeping a healthy weight, or losing weight if you’re overweight or obese, can help you control your high blood pressure and lower your risk of related health problems. If you’re overweight, losing even 2.3kg can lower your blood pressure.

Increase Physical Activity

Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, manage stress, reduce your risk of several health problems and keep your weight under control. For most healthy adults, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination or moderate and vigorous activity. Aim to do muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week.

Limit Alcohol

Even if you’re healthy, alcohol can raise your blood pressure. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces (355ml) of beer, 5 ounces (148ml) of wine or 1.5 ounces (44ml) of 80-proof liquor.

Don’t Smoke

Tobacco injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit.

Manage Stress

Reduce stress as much as possible. Practise healthy coping techniques, such as muscle relaxation, deep breathing or meditation. Getting regular physical activity and plenty of sleep can help, too.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure At Home

Home blood pressure monitoring can help you keep closer tabs on your blood pressure, show if medication is working, and even alert you and your doctor to potential complications. Home blood pressure monitoring isn’t a substitute for visits to your doctor, and home blood pressure monitors may have some limitations. Even if you get normal readings, don’t stop or change your medications or alter your diet without talking to your doctor first. If your blood pressure is under control, you may be able to make fewer visits to your doctor if you monitor your blood pressure at home.

Practise Relaxation Or Slow, Deep Breathing

Practise taking deep, slow breaths to help relax. There are some devices available that promote slow, deep breathing. However, it’s questionable whether these devices have a significant effect on lowering your blood pressure.

Control Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

If you’re a woman with high blood pressure, discuss with your doctor how to control your blood pressure during pregnancy. – Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service