If you have high blood pressure, try these lifestyle changes:
- Restrict salt intake to less than 5g a day.
- Restrict alcohol to less than 14 units a week (men) and less than 8 units a week (women).
- Eat more vegetables, fresh fruit, fish, nuts and unsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil.
- Reduce weight to avoid obesity.
- Exercise regularly – 30 minutes of moderate exercise five to seven days a week is recommended.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid binge drinking.
Substances that may increase blood pressure:
- Oral contraceptive pills, especially those with oestrogen, can cause mild hypertension, but it can be severe in 5% of women.
- Diet pills.
- Nasal decongestants.
- Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy. These usually cause acute, rather than chronic, hypertension.
- Immunosuppressive medications and steroids.
- Some cancer treatments that stop tumours from growing their own blood vessels.
- Anabolic steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Source: European Society of Cardiology/European Society of Hypertension
This article was first published in the September 14, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.