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09 May 2009

Lifestyle Treatment of Hypertension

Most of the risk factors for primary hypertension are preventable, and lifestyle modification may prevent as well as treat the condition. Secondary hypertension can be managed by treating the underlying cause. Individuals in the high normal and stage 1 hypertension categories should attempt to lower blood pressure through diet and lifestyle changes before going on a regimen of medications. Recommendations include:

  • Eliminate tobacco
  • Control stress
  • Maintain weight at 15 percent or less of desirable weight
  • Restrict alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women (one drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces 80-proof whiskey)
  • Restrict sodium intake to 1.5 to 2.5 grams per day (4 to 6 tsp salt)
  • Exercise five to seven days a week for sixty minutes per session
  • Increase intake of fruits and vegetables
  • Increase intake of low-fat dairy products

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