Though you might be upset that you’ve been told you have high blood pressure, you should be glad for one thing: America’s “silent killer”—so called because about a third of the people who suffer from it are unaware that they have it—has fortunately tripped your body’s alarm system. Left untreated, hypertension can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or kidney disease, but now that you know you have it, start eating better and exercising, quit bad habits such as smoking, and take these additional steps to improve your health.

  • Grill your doctor. Get as much info about high blood pressure from him or her as possible. The American Heart Association (AHA) has put together a list of question you should ask on its Website.

  • A few lifestyle changes might be enough to keep your blood pressure under control, but if your doctor prescribes medication, stick with it. Going off your prescription, even momentarily and unintentionally, can trigger a spike in your blood pressure.

  • Keep a salt diary. If you’re hypertensive, you should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, which amounts to about two-thirds of a teaspoon. In the diet of a typical American, that’s not a lot of salt and it can be easily exceeded before breakfast is done. But by keeping a written record of how much sodium you eat every day, you might be able to successfully reach that target.

  • Get transcendental. A study published in the March 2008 issue of American Journal of Hypertension found that Transcendental Meditation reduced the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of participants by at least 4.7 points and 3.2 points, respectively.1

  • Steer clear of the hard stuff. Just three to four ounces of alcohol above 80 proof can raise your blood pressure. Often below 20 proof, wine and beer are fine, but stick to the recommendation of one drink a day for women and two for men.

  • Monitor your blood pressure at home. By keeping a close eye on your blood pressure, you can provide your doctor with valuable information and see firsthand whether your battle against hypertension is showing signs of victory. The AHA offers a Blood Pressure Monitoring Center where you can record your daily measurements and then print them for, fax them to, or share them electronically with your doctor.



University of Kentucky (2008, March 15). Meditation Can Lower Blood Pressure. American Journal of Hypertension. James Anderson, M.D.