The following strategies may help to prevent high blood pressure and organ damage it may cause.
Decrease salt (sodium) intake: Read food labels so you know the salt content before you buy a product in the grocery store.
Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, canned soups, broths and salad dressings, which are high in sodium.
Eat more vegetables that are fresh, frozen without sauce or canned with no salt. Salt substitutes may work for you, but check with your health care professional, as they can be harmful if you have certain medical problems.
Increase dietary potassium: an analysis of several studies indicates that potassium can reduce blood pressure. Bananas are naturally high in potassium and the mineral can also be purchased in supplement form. For people with blood pressure values above optimal levels, NHBPEP recommends increasing your dietary potassium intake to more than 3,500 mg per day – especially important if you have a high sodium intake.
If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. If you have no more than 2 drinks a day, your risk of high blood pressure is low.
Other things too may help prevent hypertension, like calcium, potassium, fish oils, magnesium and stress management.
Set aside some time every day to relax. Stress can cause blood pressure to rise in the short-term, at least.
Lose weight: Losing just 10 pounds can help lower your blood pressure. Some obese people also have sleep apnea, in which they stop breathing dozens or hundreds of time a night, snore loudly and suffer from daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea is linked with high blood pressure.
Reduce alcohol consumption: Most men with high blood pressure shouldn’t drink more than two drinks per day, and women shouldn’t have more than one alcoholic drink per day. A drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or one and a half ounces of 80 proof liquor,
Talk to your doctor. You and your doctor can determine your target weight and the best way to achieve it.
Avoid questionable products. Don’t be lured by promises of easy fixes with over-the-counter diet products or supplements that can actually harm you, such as those containing ephedra.
Don’t use any tobacco. That includes pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and other forms of tobacco, not just cigarettes. The combination of high blood pressure and tobacco use increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Once you stop smoking, your blood pressure may drop by a few points. Although that might not seem like much, you’ll also reap the other health benefits of stopping, such as reducing your risk of lung cancer.
Reduce your stressors. Once you know what’s causing you stress, see which stressors you can eliminate or reduce. For instance, if you typically say yes to each favor asked of you, start saying no to some requests. If you get stuck putting in overtime every day, talk to your supervisor about a more balanced workload.