Prevention of Hypertension


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Prevention list: Methods of prevention of Hypertension mentioned in various sources includes those listed below. This prevention information is gathered from various sources, and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Hypertension.

Prevention of Hypertension: NHLBI has found that five lifestyle changes can help control blood pressure:

  • Maintain your weight at a level close to normal. Choose fruits, vegetables, grains, and low-fat dairy foods.

  • Limit your daily sodium (salt) intake to 2,000 milligrams or lower if you already have high blood pressure. Read nutrition labels on packaged foods to learn how much sodium is in one serving. Keep a sodium diary.

  • Get plenty of exercise, which means at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as walking, most days of the week.

  • Avoid consuming too much alcohol. Men should limit consumption to two drinks (two 12-ounce servings of beer or two 5-ounce servings of wine or two 1.5-ounce servings of "hard" liquor) a day. Women should have no more than a single serving on a given day because metabolic differences make women more susceptible to alcoholic liver disease.

  • Limit caffeine intake.
1

Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity also reduces body fatness, which is associated with high blood pressure. 2

Limit Your Alcohol Use. If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink per day. That means no more than 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 1/2 ounces of hard liquor.3

Use Less Salt. Try seasoning foods instead with herbs, spices, and lemon juice. Keep in mind that sodium, an ingredient in salt, is "hidden" in many packaged and processed foods. Check product labels for the amount of sodium in each serving. Many experts advise a total daily salt intake of no more than 6 grams, which equals about 2,400 milligrams of sodium--this includes whatever is added during cooking and at the table. If you would like to try a salt substitute, talk with your doctor first, because they are not safe for everyone.3

Be Physically Active. Even low- to modeate-intensity activity, if done regularly, can help control and prevent high blood pressure. Examples of such exercise are walking for pleasure, gardening, yardwork, moderate-to-heavy housework, dancing, and home exercise. Try to do one or more of these activities every day.3

Lose Weight If You Are Overweight. Taking off excess pounds will help to control and prevent high blood pressure, and will lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease in several other ways. Weight loss will help to prevent and control diabetes, and it can also lower blood cholesterol levels. Finally, since being overweight raises the chances of developing heart disease, losing weight can lower your risk.3

There is now good evidence that HBP can be prevented in many people. The keys to prevention are:

  • Keeping your weight moderate;
  • Cutting down on salt;
  • Exercising regularly; and
  • If you drink, having no more than two drinks a day.
4

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease: NIDDK
2. excerpt from Physical Activity and Weight Control: NIDDK
3. excerpt from Heart Disease & Women Preventing & Controlling High Blood Pressure: NHLBI
4. excerpt from High Blood Pressure - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

Last revision: Nov 13, 2003

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