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5 Lifestyle Tips to Lower High Blood Pressure

Want to know exactly how much certain lifestyle changes can affect your blood pressure? Here, a look at the numbers.

The Change: Lose weight.

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Understanding High Blood Pressure -- Symptoms

In the vast majority of cases, there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and eye problems if untreated. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for, including: ...

Read the Understanding High Blood Pressure -- Symptoms article > >

The Payoff: You’ll lower your systolic blood pressure (the first number in your blood pressure results) by 5 to 20 points for every 20 pounds you lose. In fact, if you're overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can help lower blood pressure. The weight loss goal is to get your body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.

The Change: Follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.

The Payoff: This eating plan is high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Stick to it and watch your systolic blood pressure drop 8 to 14 points.

The Change: Cut back on sodium.

The Payoff: Limiting sodium to 2,400 milligrams per day can lower your number 2 to 8 points.

The Change: Exercise.

The Payoff: Do 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week and cut your blood pressure by 4 to 9 points.

The Change: Drink less alcohol.

The Payoff: Bring down your systolic blood pressure 2 to 4 points when you limit yourself to one alcoholic drink a day (for women) or two drinks (for men).

One drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC on May 05, 2012

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