High Blood Pressure

Along with reaching for the appropriate pharmaceutical treatment for elevated blood pressure, there are lifestyle modifications that are also effective in managing hypertension. In the long run, with lifestyle modifications, some patients may be able to avoid 1-2 drugs to manage their hypertension.

A landmark study completed in the 1990's determined that a diet low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol that emphasized fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods and included whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, lowered systolic blood pressure. The study was called DASH — Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. If sodium was limited to 2400 mg per day, systolic blood pressure was reduced even further.

Below are some evidence-based lifestyle modifications that manage hypertension.

ModificationRecommendationApproximate Systolic BP reduction (range)
Weight reductionMaintain normal body weight5-20 mmHg per 10 kg weight loss
Adopt DASH eating planConsume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products with a reduced content of saturated and total fat8-14 mmHg
Dietary sodium restrictionNo more than 2400 mg per day2-8 mmHg
Physical activityRegular aerobic activity such as brisk walking of at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week4-9 mmHg
Moderation of alcohol consumptionLimit to not more than 2 drinks a day for men, 1 for women2-4 mmHg

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