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Exercise

Keeping Pressure Under Control


While medications are one way to treat and manage high blood pressure, dietary and lifestyle changes also may help control the condition.

Some tips for managing high blood pressure, according to Dr. Arthur Small, vice president of Prudential HealthCare's Health Management Programs, are:

Know the risk factors. Risk factors include heredity, race, sex and age, as well as excessive weight, alcohol consumption, sodium intake, smoking, the use of oral contraceptives, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis. It's very important to monitor your blood pressure frequently, either by having it taken by your healthcare provider or taking it on your own. Home blood pressure monitoring equipment is readily available and easy to use.

Cut back on salt. Most Americans use far more salt (sodium) than their bodies need. The average person usually takes in between 4,000 and 10,000 milligrams of sodium a day, more than twice the recommended amount. People with hypertension should aim for a sodium intake of 2,000 milligrams or less.

Control your weight and stay physically active. Studies have shown that changes in body weight are related to changes in blood pressure levels. People who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure. An inactive lifestyle tends to contribute to obesity. Regular exercise helps control weight and lower blood pressure.


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