Below are some lifestyle changes that could help a person to manage or reduce their blood pressure.
The American Heart Association (AHA) state that people should take their blood pressure medications according to their doctor’s exact instructions. People should never quit or cut back on their medications unless their doctor has advised them to do so.
If a person has trouble remembering to take their blood pressure medications, they should set up daily reminders on their phone or other devices.
Having overweight or obesity increases strain on the heart muscle and can lead to a rise in blood pressure.
The AHA recommend that people keep their body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. If a person’s BMI is too high, they should take steps to reduce their weight.
According to the AHA, a loss of just 10 pounds (lb) in weight is enough to reduce blood pressure readings in people who have overweight.
The placement of body fat plays an important role in heart disease. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a person who has excess body fat around the waistline is at increased risk of developing heart disease compared to someone who has excess body fat on or below the hips.
Cardiovascular exercises and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are good options for helping to trim the waistline and other areas.
The AHA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services state that regular physical activity is important for managing blood pressure.
The AHA recommend that people perform between 90 and 150 minutes of physical activity each week. This should include a combination of cardiovascular exercises and resistance training.
A person should talk to their doctor before starting any new exercise program to ensure that they undertake a safe level of physical activity.
According to the AHA, smoking can cause a buildup of fatty deposits inside the arteries. The accumulation of fat constricts blood flow through the arteries, thereby increasing blood pressure.
People who smoke should quit smoking, and all people should avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
Stress hormones can constrict the blood vessels, causing temporary increases in blood pressure. As such, people who have high blood pressure should take steps to manage their stress levels.
Learn about natural ways to reduce stress here.
Although sleep may not directly lower a person’s blood pressure, it is vital for physical health and mental wellbeing. A lack of good quality sleep can increase the risk of chronic health conditions, some of which may increase a person’s blood pressure.
The exact amount of sleep a person needs will vary from person to person. However, adults should be aiming to get between 7–9 hours of good quality sleep each night.
Learn some tips for improving sleep quality here.
A person can use a blood pressure monitor to regularly check their blood pressure at home.
According to the AHA, people who have a diagnosis of high blood pressure should check that their blood pressure stays below 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). If someone has an elevated systolic or diastolic pressure reading, they should contact their doctor.
A 2013 study found that acupuncture helped lower blood pressure readings in people who were already taking medications to lower their blood pressure. The authors proposed that acupuncture could be a beneficial add-on treatment for people looking to regulate their blood pressure.