High Blood Pressure
Frequently Asked Questions
9. Is there any way I can prevent high blood pressure?
You can take steps to help prevent high blood pressure by adopting these healthy lifestyle habits.
- Follow a healthy eating plan like DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, and whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts, and choose and prepare foods with less sodium (salt). See how the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can help with blood pressure control.
- Be physically active for at least 2 and one-half hours a week. Check out Exercises to Try for older adults, or visit Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging. (Watch the video to learn how exercise helps maintain healthy aging. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)
- Maintain a healthy weight and lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference are measures used to determine if someone is overweight or obese. See the BMI calculator to determine your body mass index.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation: no more than one drink a day for women, no more than two drinks a day for men.
- Quit smoking, or don't start smoking. To get help quitting, call 1 (800) QUIT-NOW or check out Quitting Smoking for Older Adults.
- Learn to manage stress. Learn about relaxation techniques that may relieve tension.