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Living With High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, the best thing to do is to talk with your health care provider and take steps to control your blood pressure by making healthy lifestyle changes and taking medications, if any have been prescribed for you.

For a healthy future, follow your treatment plan closely and work with your health care team.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

You can help control your blood pressure by making these healthy lifestyle changes:

  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcohol intake.

Other lifestyle changes can improve your overall health, such as:

  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Drink more water.


Take all blood pressure medicines that your health care provider prescribes. Know the names and doses of your medicines and how to take them. If you have questions about your medicines, talk with your health care provider or pharmacist. Make sure you refill your medicines before they run out. Take your medicines exactly as your health care provider directs, and never skip days or cut pills in half.

Ongoing Care

Keeping track of your blood pressure is important. Check your blood pressure and have regular medical checkups or tests as your health care provider advises. You may want to learn how to check your blood pressure at home. Your health care provider can help you learn how to do this. Each time you check your own blood pressure, you should write down your numbers and the date. Take the log of your blood pressure readings with you to appointments with your health care provider.

During checkups, talk to your health care provider about:

  • Blood pressure readings
  • Your overall health
  • Your treatment plan

Your health care provider may need to change or add medicines to your treatment plan over time. NHLBI’s My Blood Pressure Wallet Card can help you track your blood pressure.

Pregnancy Planning

High blood pressure can cause problems for mother and baby. High blood pressure can harm the mother’s kidneys and other organs and can cause early birth and low birth weight. If you’re thinking about having a baby and have high blood pressure, talk with your health care team so you can take steps to control your blood pressure before and during the pregnancy.

Some women develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. When this happens, your health care provider will closely monitor you and your baby and provide special care to lower the chance of complications. With such care, most women and babies have good outcomes.

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Updated: September 10, 2015