Checklist for preventing and reversing high blood pressure

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Maintain a healthy weight

• Check with your health care provider to see if you need to lose weight.
• If you do, lose weight slowly using a healthy eating plan and engaging in physical activity.

Be physically active

• Engage in physical activity for a total of 30 minutes on most days of the week.
• Combine everyday chores with moderate-level sporting activities, such as walking, to achieve your physical activity goals.

Follow a healthy eating plan

• Set up a healthy eating plan with foods low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy foods such as the DASH eating plan.
• Write down everything that you eat and drink in a food diary. Note areas that are successful or need improvement.
• If you are trying to lose weight, choose an eating plan that is lower in calories.

Reduce sodium in your diet

• Choose foods that are low in salt and other forms of sodium.
• Use spices, garlic, and onions to add flavor to your meals without adding more sodium.

Drink alcohol only in moderation

• In addition to raising blood pressure, too much alcohol can add unneeded calories to your diet.
• If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount—one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men.

Take prescribed drugs as directed

• If you need drugs to help lower your blood pressure, you still must follow the lifestyle changes mentioned above.
• Use notes and other reminders to help you remember to take your drugs. Ask your family to help you with reminder phone calls and messages.

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