How to lower it

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There are a number of ways in which you can lower your blood pressure. Below we list the five main lifestyle changes you can make. Some will lower your blood pressure in a matter of weeks; others will take a little longer. They are listed in order of speed of effect:

Cut down on salt. This means eating more natural foods and fewer processed ones and not adding any extra salt to foods or in anything you cook. Salt naturally raises your blood pressure, eating less will reduce this effect. More on salt

Increase your fresh fruit and vegetables. Aim to eat at least five, or better still, seven to nine different portions a day. Fruit and vegetables contain potassium that counters the effect of salt and helps to lower blood pressure. Top tips about fruit and vegetables

Drink alcohol in moderation. No more than 2-3 units per day for men and women, or 14 units a week. Drinking more than the recommended limits over a long period will slowly raise your blood pressure. More about alcohol

Increase your level of activity. Build in 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five times per week. Being active not only gives your heart a good work out, but it also helps your arteries to stay flexible and better able to cope with the demands of daily life. Find out how you can improve your fitness

Lose weight if you need to. Your doctor or nurse will be able to tell you your ideal weight. Excess weight puts extra strain on your heart and your arteries. Tips to help you manage your weight

The good news is that these changes really do work and will help to lower your blood pressure for life.

If you have high blood pressure, another key way to lower it is to take medication prescribed by your doctor. Treatment for high blood pressure is now very successful and there is a wide range of medicines to choose from. Taking your tablets as prescribed, especially in combination with the lifestyle tips above, will help you to live a longer and healthier life.

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