Over a billion people around the world have hypertension, but fewer than 1 in 5 have it under control. Hypertension is normally relatively easy to manage through a combination of lifestyle interventions and cost-effective medications, yet levels of awareness, treatment and control remain low in all regions of the world.
Healthy eating is particularly important in managing high blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease. Enjoying a variety of foods from different food groups is the key to healthy living.
One way to avoid high blood pressure is to enjoy a healthy eating plan that contains less than 5g of salt (2g of sodium) a day. Increasing your potassium intake can help lower your blood pressure.
Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is an important step to reducing your risk of developing high blood pressure.
Limit your alcohol intake
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure, so you should limit your alcohol intake, ideally to zero.
Be active every day
Being physically active is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle and can help lower your blood pressure, on top of many other health benefits.
Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and other diseases. Once you quit, the risk is reduced quickly.
You may also need to take blood pressure-lowering medication to reduce their high blood pressure to safe, managed level. These “anti-hypertensive” medicines do not cure high blood pressure, but they do manage it. Once you start to take medicines to manage your blood pressure, you will probably have to take them for the rest of your life.
Progress in hypertension medication in the past five decades has been remarkable and there is now a wide portfolio of cost-effective and safe pharmacological options with which to treat people.