The Better Blood Pressure Checklist
High blood pressure—or hypertension—is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
A blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 is considered high, while pre-hypertension ranges from 120/80 through 139/89. Systolic blood pressure—the number on top—is considered the most accurate for diagnosing hypertension.
Here’s what you can do to help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range:
- Get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Exercise can lower blood pressure, help with weight loss, raise heart-healthy HDL-cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity, all of which lower your risk for heart disease.
- Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Unprocessed foods are key to keeping your blood pressure in check.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking directly increases blood pressure and can lead to a host of other diseases including heart disease and many cancers.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing even a few pounds can help lower blood pressure by several points and decrease other risk factors for heart disease.