High Blood Pressure

Living With High Blood Pressure

Have Ongoing Care

If you have high blood pressure, the best thing to do is to talk with your health care provider and take steps to control your blood pressure by making healthy lifestyle changes and taking medications, if any have been prescribed for you. Your health care provider may need to change or add medicines to your treatment plan over time. For a healthy future, follow your treatment plan closely and work with your health care team.

During checkups, talk to your health care provider about

  • blood pressure readings
  • your overall health
  • your treatment plan.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

You can help control your blood pressure by making these healthy lifestyle changes.

  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcohol intake.

Other lifestyle changes can improve your overall health.

  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Drink enough water.

Medicines

Take all blood pressure medicines that your health care provider prescribes. Know the names and doses of your medicines and how to take them. If you have questions about your medicines, talk with your health care provider or pharmacist. Make sure you refill your medicines before they run out. Take your medicines exactly as your health care provider directs, and never skip days or cut pills in half.

Keep Track of Your Blood Pressure

Keeping track of your blood pressure is important. Have regular medical checkups or tests and check your blood pressure as your health care provider advises.

You can check your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure measurement device or monitor. It is important that the blood pressure cuff fits you properly and that you understand how to use the monitor. A cuff that is too small, for example, can give you a reading that is higher than your actual blood pressure. Your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can help you check the cuff size and teach you how to use it correctly. You may also ask for their help in choosing the right blood pressure monitor for you. Blood pressure monitors can be bought at discount chain stores and drug stores.

When you are taking your blood pressure at home, sit with your back supported and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arm on a table at the level of your heart.

Write Down Your Readings

When you have your blood pressure checked, ask the doctor or nurse to tell you your blood pressure reading in numbers and to explain what the numbers mean. Write down your numbers or ask the doctor or nurse to write them down for you.

Also, each time you check your own blood pressure, you should write down your numbers and the date. Take the log of your blood pressure readings with you to appointments with your health care provider. My Blood Pressure Wallet Card from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at NIH can help you track your blood pressure.