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5 Simple Ways to Keep Blood Pressure Under Control

Protect your heart, your brain, and your health with these smart changes.  

Photo: Woman checking her blood pressure at home

Did you know that monitoring high blood pressure (or hypertension) is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health? Reduction in blood pressure can reduce your risk for stroke, heart disease and heart failure and other medical problems.

Protect your heart, your brain, and your health with these smart medication and lifestyle tips.

  1. Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
    Drugs that control your blood pressure work properly when you take them every day, according to the American Heart Association. If your doctor has prescribed two or more different blood pressure drugs, or you currently take another drug for something else, be sure to take everything exactly as directed. Let your doctor know all of the prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking. Some medications can be less useful or even dangerous when combined.

  2. Don't stop on your own.
    Just because your blood pressure levels stabilize doesn't mean you should stop taking your medicine. Studies show that when people with high blood pressure don't take their medications regularly, even after levels are healthy again, their risk for strokes and heart attacks increases. If you have concerns about a medication you are taking and want to stop, it's important to talk with your doctor right away.

  3. Make remembering your medication easy.
    Remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Consider using a pillbox that organizes your medications for each day of the week and each time of day. If possible, take them at the same time as other routine daily activities, such when you make your morning coffee, or when you feed a pet. Or set an alarm on your clock, phone, or computer. And don't forget to keep your medications together in one place, out of reach of children.

    Another pro-tip: Ask your pharmacy to automatically refill your prescriptions. The easier it is to get and manage your medications, the more likely you'll be to take them regularly.

  4. Keep up with blood pressure checks.
    Although you can check your blood pressure at home, it's important to see your doctor regularly to have your levels checked. If you haven't been in for an appointment in a while, now is the time to schedule.

  5. Follow a healthy lifestyle.
    As with most conditions, leading an active, healthy lifestyle will be one of your best medicines. Try to exercise regularly, cut out smoking, and fill up on plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Try to limit alcohol, too: Sticking to just one drink a day for women, and two for men, has been found to prevent high blood pressure.