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15 quick tips to lower your blood pressure

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.
  • Liquorice.
  • Immunosuppressive medications and steroids.
  • Some cancer treatments that stop tumours from growing their own blood vessels.
  • Anabolic steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Read more: The innovative new ways scientists are tackling high blood pressure | The heart researchers aiming to reduce inequities for Māori and Pacific people

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.