High Blood Pressure - Living With High Blood Pressure

Heart-healthy lifestyle changes are important to help control high blood pressure. These changes can help lower your risk for coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke.

A heart-healthy lifestyle is always important, even if you take medicines too. Some people can even take less medicine after making these changes.

What changes do you need to make?

Make these lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure and lower your risk for heart attack and stroke:


How do you make lifestyle changes?

Making any kind of change in the way you live your daily life is like being on a path. The path leads to success. Here are the first steps on that path:

  1. Have your own reason for making a change. If you do it because someone else wants you to, you're less likely to have success. When you have high blood pressure, the reason for making lifestyle changes is clear: to lower your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack and stroke. If you don't feel ready now, learn more about high blood pressure and the damage it can do. When you truly want to make changes, you're ready for the next step.
  2. Set goals. Include long-term goals as well as short-term goals that you can measure easily. Your doctor can help you figure out what your long-term goals should be for your blood pressure. Short-term goals are the small steps you take, week by week, to improve your health.
  3. Measure improvements to your health. Before you make lifestyle changes, ask your doctor to check your blood pressure. Then, as you start to make changes, have your blood pressure checked often, and keep track of the numbers. You can buy a home blood pressure monitor that is easy to use.
  4. Think about what might get in your way, and prepare for slip-ups. By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen. Use a personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to write down your barriers and backup plans.
  5. Get support from your family, your doctor, and your friends. Tell them about your long-term and short-term goals and how they can help.

For help making lifestyle changes, see the topic Change a Habit by Setting Goals.

One Woman's Story:

Izzy, 60

"A big lesson I learned is that everything we do routinely is a habit. And habits can be changed. I'm living proof."-Izzy

Read more about Izzy and how she changed her eating habits.

One Man's Story:

Arturo, 58

"As soon as I mentioned [to my wife] that I needed help, she got out a pen and some paper and started writing out a walking schedule."-Arturo

Read more about Arturo and how he got support for his lifestyle changes.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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