Which lifestyle modifications are recommended to lower blood pressure (BP) and decrease cardiovascular disease risk in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure)?

Updated: Feb 22, 2019
  • Author: Matthew R Alexander, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Answer

JNC 7 recommendations to lower BP and decrease cardiovascular disease risk include the following, with greater results achieved when 2 or more lifestyle modifications are combined [5] :

  • Weight loss (range of approximate systolic BP reduction [SBP], 5-20 mm Hg per 10 kg)

  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 oz (30 mL) of ethanol per day for men or 0.5 oz (15 mL) of ethanol per day for women and people of lighter weight (range of approximate SBP reduction, 2-4 mm Hg)

  • Reduce sodium intake to no more than 100 mmol/day (2.4 g sodium or 6 g sodium chloride; range of approximate SBP reduction, 2-8 mm Hg) [8]

  • Maintain adequate intake of dietary potassium (approximately 90 mmol/day)

  • Maintain adequate intake of dietary calcium and magnesium for general health

  • Stop smoking and reduce intake of dietary saturated fat and cholesterol for overall cardiovascular health

  • Engage in aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes daily for most days (range of approximate SBP reduction, 4-9 mm Hg)


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