High blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced.
You can do this by:
- eating healthily
- maintaining a healthy weight
- taking regular exercise
- drinking alcohol in moderation
- not smoking
Cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Salt raises your blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. Aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day (about a teaspoon).
Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.
Aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Limit your alcohol intake
Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time.
Staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. You should spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.
Alcohol is also high in calories. It will make you gain weight and can further increase your blood pressure.
Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body. This can raise your blood pressure.
Losing a few pounds will make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.
Regular exercise can also help you lose weight. This will also help lower your blood pressure.
Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. This could be cycling or fast walking.
Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.
Cut down on caffeine
Drinking more than 4 cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure.
Consider cutting down on coffee, tea or other caffeine-rich drinks, such as cola and some energy drinks.
It's fine to drink tea and coffee as part of a balanced diet. But it's important that these drinks are not your main or only source of fluid.
Smoking does not directly cause high blood pressure. But it puts you at much higher risk of a heart attack and stroke.
Smoking causes your arteries to narrow.
If you smoke and have high blood pressure, your arteries will narrow much more quickly. Your risk of heart or lung disease in the future is dramatically increased.
Get a good night's sleep
Long-term sleep deprivation is associated with a rise in blood pressure and an increased risk of hypertension.
It's a good idea to try to get at least 6 hours of sleep a night.