As your blood pressure increases, so does your risk of cardiovascular disease. That's why it's so important to control prehypertension. The key is a commitment to healthy lifestyle changes.
Oct. 10, 2012
- Eat healthy foods. Try the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Eat less saturated fat and total fat.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you're overweight, losing even 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) can lower your blood pressure.
- Use less salt. A lower sodium level — 1,500 milligrams (mg) a day — is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and individuals of any age who are African-American or who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Otherwise healthy people can aim for 2,300 mg a day or less. While you can reduce the amount of salt you eat by putting down the saltshaker, you should also pay attention to the amount of salt that's in the processed foods you eat, such as canned soups or frozen dinners.
- Increase physical activity. Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure and keep your weight under control. Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
- Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
- What are high blood pressure and prehypertension? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/hbp/whathbp.htm. Accessed Aug. 8, 2012.
- Chobanian AV, et al. The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Hypertension. 2003;42:1206.
- Hernandez J, et al. Prehypertension: A literature-documented public health problem. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 2012;24:3.
- Thompson AM, et al. Antihypertensive treatment and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease events among persons without hypertension. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011;305:913.
- Karanja N, et al. Acceptability of sodium-reduced research diets, including the dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet, among adults with prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2007;107:1530.
- Maruthur NM, et al. Lifestyle interventions reduce coronary heart disease risk: Results from the PREMIER trial. Circulation. 2009;119:2026.
- Pimenta E, et al. Prehypertension: Epidemiology, consequences and treatment. Nature Review Nephrology. 2010;6:21.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Aug.. 22, 2011.
- Rethinking drinking: Alcohol and your health. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/RethinkingDrinking/Rethinking_Drinking.pdf. Accessed Aug. 22, 2012.