How Can I Prevent High Blood Pressure?

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High blood pressure – known as the “silent killer” – often shows no signs or symptoms. In fact, nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults with high blood pressure do not know they have the disease.

The cause of most cases of high blood pressure is unknown. But there are factors that can place you at greater risk of developing the condition. That’s why it is important to know what your risks are and to learn which factors you can and cannot control.

The good news is that the small steps you take to be healthy now can lead to big improvements down the road.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Focus on feeling healthier now. Feeling healthy doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. Make small changes to reach and stay at a healthy weight by adding activity to your day, and eating vegetables and other healthy foods to help your body stay well. These changes can have a tremendous impact on your overall health now and in the future so you can spend more time with your loved ones.
  • Protecting your heart should be your main goal. People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week to achieve great benefits for your heart.
  • Change the habits that may cause more harm than good. Having more than two drinks a day can raise your blood pressure. Limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Smoking or chewing tobacco can raise your blood pressure right away. Quit smoking—or don't start. If you smoke, ask your doctor about programs or medications that can help you kick the habit, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for specific help in your state.

Related Resources 

Our campaign partner, American Heart Association®, has a free high blood pressure health risk calculator to help you find out your risk.

AHA High Blood Pressure Health Risk Calculator

Risk Factors You Can’t Control

Risk Factors You Can Control