Published on July 17, 2018

Do you know your blood pressure numbers?

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms.

Sonela SkenderiSo it’s important to get regular blood pressure checks from your primary care doctor.

In addition, it’s a good idea to monitor your blood pressure yourself with an inexpensive home blood pressure cuff or at a pharmacy, Dr. Skenderi says. Talk to your doctor about your results.

And if your doctor says your blood pressure is too high? It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need medications, though you might if you have other risk factors for heart attack or stroke, Dr. Skenderi says. “Lifestyle changes will be emphasized a lot more, even if your blood pressure is in the elevated range,” she says.

The good news? Modest lifestyle changes, like these, can help get your blood pressure under control:

  1. Eat well. Enjoy fruits and vegetables every day. Make whole grains and low-fat dairy products a regular part of your diet. Cut back on sodium and salt. Ask your doctor about a diet called DASH, which has been proven to help lower blood pressure.
  2. Get some exercise. Work your way up to at least 150 minutes a week. “It doesn’t have to be strenuous,” Dr. Skenderi says. It just needs to be at a moderate pace, such as brisk walking or dancing, she says.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what’s a good weight for you. Being active and adopting a healthy diet can help you lose any excess pounds.