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For many, high blood pressure is fortunately both preventable and reversible. Lifestyle is the key. Managing diet and physical activity, for example, are good places to start, as is avoiding bad habits like smoking. Often, as a person ages, they will work with a healthcare provider to develop a prevention plan for hypertension.

FAQ

What is primary prevention of hypertension?

Primary prevention of hypertension is an overall program to determine what can be done to prevent a person, family, or public health group from developing this condition. Doing so is crucial for personal and public health, as high blood pressure can be a contributing factor in everything from dementia to stroke. 

The U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services, along with the National Institutes of Health and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, have a nationwide primary prevention plan in place for hypertension. The goal is to educate the public on what steps to take to stay healthy and keep their blood pressure within the normal range. 

Is high blood pressure preventable?

For many, the answer is yes; often, high blood pressure is a direct response to lifestyle. People who follow some simple rules can therefore often prevent it. For example, maintaining an ideal body weight with a BMI at or below 25 kg/sq. 

What foods cause hypertension?

Diet can be a contributing factor to the development of hypertension. That is true in both acute and chronic cases. For example, someone who doesn’t normally have high blood pressure may develop it temporarily after eating a very salty meal. 

Ideally, a person wants to avoid fast food, as it is typically high in both salt and trans fat. Red meat also has saturated and trans fats, so limiting intake can further help to prevent the condition. Another common staple of the average U.S. diet that can drive up blood pressure is sugar. Specifically, sugar can drive up blood pressure just as easily as salt because it leads to weight gain.

What foods can I eat to lower my blood pressure immediately?

Overall, a proper diet can help lower blood pressure, but some foods are said to drop it immediately due to nutrients in them. Skim milk, for example, contains calcium, a nutrient that can reduce blood pressure.

That isn’t the only one, either. There are multiple studies to indicate that garlic can lower blood pressure. It has other cardiovascular benefits, as well.

Vegetables can play a key role here, too. For example, researchers say the nitrates in beetroot juice can bring blood pressure down within 24 hours. Leafy greens like spinach or kale also contain nitrates that flush out sodium and relax the walls of the arteries to lower blood pressure. 

What should I avoid with hypertension?

People with hypertension will want to avoid foods high in sodium and table salt. That would usually include anything canned or processed. Even though some labels say “low sodium,” they may still have more than most people should consume. 

Some foods with the most sodium include:

  • deli meats,
  • pickles,
  • sauerkraut,
  • frozen pizzas,
  • canned soups,
  • soy sauce, and
  • canned or bottled tomato sauce.

Someone with hypertension should also avoid alcohol because it can drive BP up higher. 

Talk to a healthcare provider before taking over-the-counter medications, especially decongestants. Avoid over-the-counter pain relievers that contain ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and ketoprofen, as well. Acetaminophen is a safer choice. 

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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