Recommendations to Help Prevent High Blood Pressure
Defining High Blood Pressure
- Prehypertension—SBP120-139 mm Hg or DPB 80-89 mm Hg
- Stage 1 hypertension—SBP 140-159 mm Hg or DPB 90-99 mm Hg
- Stage 2 hypertension—SBP more than 160 mm Hg or DBP more than 100 mm Hg
Common Risk Factors
- Age: middle-aged or elderly—onset generally happens at 20-50 years, but likelihood increases with age
- Race: African American
- Gender: Male
- Metabolic syndrome—A condition marked by elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and body weight. Excess weight centered around the midsection is of particular concern.
- A family history of high blood pressure
- Being physically inactive
- Taking birth control pills
- Having diet high in red meat, salt, and saturated and trans fats
- High alcohol intake
Lifestyle Guidelines to Prevent or Reduce High Blood Pressure
- Losing weight if you are overweight
- Increasing levels of physical activity—Aim for 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.
- Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products
- Eating a diet that is low in saturated and total fat
- Limiting consumption of sodium (salt) to less than 2,300 milligrams per day
- Drinking alcohol only in moderation—This means 1 drink or less per day for women and 2 drinks per day or less for men.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com
How can high blood pressure be prevented? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/prevention.html. Updated August 2, 2012. Accessed November 5, 2014.
How to prevent high blood pressure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/what%5Fyou%5Fcan%5Fdo.htm. Updated July 7, 2014. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Hypertension. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 3, 2014. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Hypertension treatment in patients with diabetes. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 28, 2014. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Seventh report of the Joint National Committee on prevention, detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure. Hypertension. 2003;42(6):1206-1252.
Understanding your risk for high blood pressure. American Heart Association website. Available at: . Updated September 4, 2014. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Whelton PK, He J, Appel LJ, et al. Clinical and public health advisory from the National High Blood Pressure Education Program. JAMA. 2002;288:1882-1888.
Wilson, B. Hypertension: A growing, but often hidden problem. National Public Radio website. Available at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125217662. Published March 29, 2010. Accessed November 4, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2014 -
- Update Date: 11/05/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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