If You Have Normal Blood Pressure
If you don't have high blood pressure (HBP), you can take steps to prevent it. Healthy lifestyle habits can help you maintain normal blood pressure.
- Follow a healthy diet. Limit the amount of sodium (salt) and alcohol that you consume. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan promotes healthy eating.
- Be physically active. Routine physical activity can lower HBP and reduce your risk for other health problems.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Staying at a healthy weight can help you control HBP and reduce your risk for other health problems.
- Learn to manage and cope with stress. Learning how to manage stress, relax, and cope with problems can improve your emotional and physical health.
Many people who adopt these healthy lifestyle habits are able to prevent or delay HBP. The more lifestyle changes you make, the more likely you are to lower your blood pressure and avoid related health problems.
For more information about healthy lifestyle habits, go to "How Is High Blood Pressure Treated?"
If You Have High Blood Pressure
If you have HBP, you can still take steps to prevent the long-term problems it can cause. Healthy lifestyle habits (listed above) and medicines can help you live a longer, more active life.
Children and Teens
A healthy lifestyle also can help prevent HBP in children and teens. Key steps include having a child:
- Follow a healthy diet that focuses on plenty of fruits, vegetables, and, for children older than 4 years old, low-fat dairy products. A healthy diet also is low in salt.
- Be active for at least 1 to 2 hours per day. Limit screen time in front of the TV or computer to 2 hours per day at most.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If your child is overweight, ask his or her doctor about how your child can safely lose weight.
Make these healthy habits part of a family health plan to help your child adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Myth-busting blood pressure - a hypertension Google+ hangout in honor of World Hypertension Day04/18/2013
Moderated by American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown, this "Google+ Hangout on Air" features a panel of experts from the American Heart Association as well as nutritionist Janet M. de Jesus from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The panelists discuss common myths and misconceptions about hypertension (high blood pressure) and what you can do to prevent or treat the "silent killer." The chat was streamed live on April 5, 2013 in honor of World Health Day on Sunday, April 7.
The NHLBI "Grand Opportunity" Exome Sequencing Project05/16/2012
This video—presented by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health—discusses the NHLBI's Exome Sequencing Project. Made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, this project provided six awards at five academic institutions to identify genetic connections to heart, lung, and blood diseases. Individual studies will address critical health issues, such as heart attack, stroke, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, and others.
Managing High Blood Pressure With Lifestyle Changes05/18/2011
This video—presented by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health—shows how Kendra, the mother of a teenaged daughter, has learned to manage her high blood pressure. Before being diagnosed with high blood pressure, Kendra suffered from chronic headaches and tiredness. At a health fair sponsored by her company, Kendra learned that her blood pressure was high, which prompted her to see her doctor.
After being diagnosed with high blood pressure, Kendra made a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle. By following a healthy diet and being physically active, she lost almost 60 pounds. With the support of her girlfriend and daughter, Kendra has maintained her weight loss and continues to make lifestyle changes that allow her to live an active, happy life.
For more information about managing high blood pressure with lifestyle changes, go to the Health Topics High Blood Pressure article.