Five Simple Steps to Control Your Blood Pressure

Your high blood pressure deserves your attention

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can be fatal. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, these five steps can help you keep it under control:

Know your numbers

Maintaining blood pressure below 120/80 millimeters of mercury is considered normal. (Milligrams of mercury is how blood pressure is measured. You will see it sometimes written as mm Hg.) 

The goal is less than 130/80 mm Hg for most adults with high blood pressure and other conditions. Your health care professional can tell you your personal target blood pressure.

Work with your health care professional

Your health care professional will help you make a plan to lower your blood pressure.

Make a few lifestyle changes

Your health care professional might recommend that you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight will help reduce your blood pressure if you are overweight or obese.
  • Eat healthier. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Eat fewer saturated fats. Following the DASH diet(link opens in new window) is a balanced eating plan that can help reduce your blood pressure.
  • Reduce sodium. Aim for less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day. Even reducing your usual sodium intake by 1,000 milligrams per day can help.
  • Get active. Each week aim for one or both:
    • At least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise
    • Two sessions of resistance exercises such as pushups or lifting weights to strengthen your muscles
  • Limit alcohol. Drink no more than one to two drinks a day (one for most women, two for most men).
  • Avoid smoking or stop smoking.

Keep checking your blood pressure at home

Take ownership of your blood pressure by tracking your blood pressure at home.

Take your medication

If you have to take medication, take it exactly as your health care professional says.