5 Simple Steps to Control Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can be fatal, so it's important to know your blood pressure reading and what you can do to keep things under control. The good news is, we have an easy new way to help. Just follow these 5 simple steps recommended by blood pressure experts from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  1. Know Your Numbers. Most people diagnosed with high blood pressure want to stay below 140/90, but your healthcare provider can tell you your personal target blood pressure.
  2. Make a Plan. Work with your healthcare provider to make a plan to lower your blood pressure.
  3. Make a Few Lifestyle Changes. In many cases this will be your doctor's first recommendation, likely in one of these areas:

    - Lose weight. Strive for a body mass index between 18 and 25.

    - Eat healthier. Eat fruit, veggies, low-fat dairy and lean protein, but lower your saturated and total fat.      

    - Reduce sodium. Stay under 1,500 mg a day, which is associated with the greatest reduction in blood pressure. 

    - Get active. Shoot for 40 minutes, 3-4 times a week.

    - Limit alcohol. Drink no more than 1-2 drinks a day. (1 for most women, 2 for most men).

  4. Keep Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home. Whether you're at home, at a store or anywhere else where you can check your blood pressure, make a habit of checking it regularly, tracking your readings and sharing them with your healthcare provider.
  5. Take Medication as Prescribed. Take medications exactly the way your healthcare provider prescribes them.
Filed Under: Health