1. Lose weight if you are overweight and maintain a healthy weight. Limit portion sizes, especially of high caloriefoods, and try to eat only as many calories as you burn each day—or less if you want to lose weight.
2. Eat heart healthfully. Follow an eating plan that emphasize fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products and is moderat in total fat and low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
3. Reduce salt and sodium intake. Read food labels to choose canned, processed, and convenience foods that are lower in sodium. Limit sodium intake to no more than 2,400 mg, or about 1 teaspoon’s worth, of salt each day. Avoid fast foods that are high in salt and sodium.
4. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. For men, that means a maximum of 2 drinks a day, for women a maximum of 1.
5. Become more physically active. Work up to at least 30 minutes of a moderate-level activity, such as brisk walking or bicycling, each day. If you don’t have 30 minutes, try to find two 15-minute periods or even three 10-minute periods for physical activity.
6. Quit smoking. Smoking increases your chances of developing a stroke, heart disease, Peripheral arterial disease, and several forms of cancer.
7. Talk with your health care professional. Ask what your blood pressure numbers are and ask what they mean.
8. Take medication as prescribed. If you need medication, make sure you understand what it’s for and how and when to take it, then take it as your doctor recommends.
National High Blood Pressure Education Program
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute