healthy food and healthy lifestyle selection

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all American adults have hypertension, which is the clinical term for high blood pressure. A combination of medication and hypertension self care can significantly reduce blood pressure, but despite this, only one in four adults have their condition under control. 

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure occurs when the force of the blood pushing against vessels remains consistently high. Blood pressure is measured as the combination of systolic pressure, which occurs when the blood travels out of the heart, and diastolic pressure, which occurs when the heart rests between each beat. Normal blood pressure is 120 over 80, with the systolic pressure shown over the diastolic pressure. Though some deviations from normal can occur, physicians diagnose patients with hypertension when their pressures are consistently higher than normal. 

The American Heart Association (AHA) refers to hypertension as the “silent killer” because there are no real symptoms. Many people are not even aware of it until they are informed of their hypertension at a doctor’s appointment. Despite the lack of symptoms, hypertension is a serious condition. Over time, the increased pressure damages the tissues of the delicate blood vessels, and LDL (bad) cholesterol can settle in the tiny tears. This leads to plaque buildup, which significantly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. 

Controlling Hypertension Without Medication

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that lifestyle changes alone can lower blood pressure. Some of the recommended forms of hypertension self care include dietary changes, exercise and stress reduction, among others. 

Lose Weight

The larger your body mass, the more your heart has to work to pump oxygen-rich nutrients throughout your body. Losing weight is one of the most effective forms of hypertension self care for this reason. Per the Mayo Clinic, losing weight often makes it possible to reduce the dosage of blood pressure medications, and some may be able to stop taking it altogether. 

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise strengthens the heart muscle and makes it more efficient. A 2016 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that a regular exercise program can lead to measurable decreases in blood pressure readings. 

Eat a Healthy Diet

A heart-healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and high in dietary fiber is an excellent way to manage blood pressure. These foods can reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body, which can slow the formation of arterial plaque. Avoiding or limiting the consumption of caffeine, a powerful stimulant, can also improve blood pressure. 

Lower Sodium Intake

Excess sodium makes the kidneys work harder to remove fluid from the body, and this excess fluid is directly linked to high blood pressure. According to the CDC, more than 90% of Americans consume more than the daily allowance of 2,000 milligrams of salt. Even small reductions in sodium intake can have a measurable impact on blood pressure per the AHA. 

Consume Less Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages have been shown to increase blood pressure in several ways according to the Mayo Clinic. The increases in blood pressure stem from many factors, including increased caloric intake and fluid retention. Furthermore, alcohol can negatively interact with many common blood pressure medications. 

Develop Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep habits

A 2021 study published in Hypertension, the AHA’s medical journal, found that sleep disorders and unhealthy sleep patterns led to increases in blood pressure among adults of all ages. It is believed that lack of quality sleep interferes with stress hormones and the nervous system. Hypertension self care should include seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. 

Reduce or Eliminate Stress


The AHA encourages adults with hypertension to actively manage their stress. Stress leads to an increase of certain hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which significantly increase blood pressure. Though stress management is easier said than done, many people have found relief through yoga, meditation, counseling, and other means. 

Monitor Blood Pressure 

Finally, good hypertension self care includes regularly monitoring blood pressure at home. Those who have been diagnosed with hypertension should measure their blood pressure at least twice each day. Many doctors encourage patients to keep a blood pressure journal that includes the date, time, and reading. Some even include what they ate that day, their stress level, and what they were doing prior to taking the measurement. This information can help doctors better treat their patients with hypertension. 

Try a Better Way to Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home

Hypertension self-care like monitoring your blood pressure is critical for your long-term health. CopilotIQ uses advanced technology and evidence-based methodology to promote good heart health. It serves as a journal with daily data collection and puts you in touch with a US-based nurse who can help you reach your heart health goals.

Join the 1000’s of CopilotIQ members reversing their diabetes and blood pressure.