You don't always need prescription medications to lower your blood pressure. By making these 10 lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
By Mayo Clinic staff
If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure (a systolic pressure — the top number — of 140 or above or a diastolic pressure — the bottom number — of 90 or above), you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down.
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.
1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. In general, the more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure. Losing weight also makes any blood pressure medications you're taking more effective. You and your doctor can determine your target weight and the best way to achieve it.
Besides shedding pounds, you should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure. In general:
- Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters, or cm).
- Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88 cm).
- Asian men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 36 inches (90 cm).
- Asian women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 32 inches (80 cm).