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Tips to change your lifestyle

Tips to change your lifestyle to lower blood pressure and your risk of stroke – tips to get you started

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. However, you don’t have to rely on medication alone to control your blood pressure. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help lower your blood pressure and risk of stroke.

Lifestyle changes not only lower blood pressure, they can also increase the effectiveness of blood pressure medication and reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and type 2 diabetes. It is important to:

‘Know your numbers’ and keep your blood pressure down. Remember, the lower your blood pressure, the lower your risk of stroke. The only way to know your blood pressure is to have it checked regularly and it is important that your doctor confirms your blood pressure measurement.

Shape up:  Keep your weight within a healthy range for your age and gender

  • Being overweight can increase your blood pressure. It may also raise your cholesterol and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Set small realistic goals for weight loss. There are no ‘quick fixes’. A sensible weight plan includes eating healthy foods and exercising regularly
  • Seek advice from your GP and/or Dietician

Eat foods that are good for you

  • Being overweight can increase your blood pressure. It may also raise your cholesterol and increase the risk of developing diabetes
  • Set small realistic goals for weight loss. There are no ‘quick fixes’. A sensible weight plan includes eating healthy foods and exercising regularly
  • Seek advice from your GP and/or Dietician

Get active

Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise* on most days of the week. Start changing your habits to be active every day in as many was as you can:

  • Leave the car at home for short trips and walk or ride a bike instead
  • Get off the bus or train stop early
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Wash the car yourself or get out in the garden
  • Play with the kids after school
  • Take up activities such as golf, tennis or cycling
  • Finding it hard to keep exercising? Choose an exercise you enjoy or try walking with a family member or friend
 

* Note: some types of exercises should be avoided by people with high blood pressure – please ask your doctor about what is best for you.


Be smoke-free, quit smoking

Tips and advice to help you to quit smoking


Limit your alcohol intake

Stay within recommended limits for drinking alcohol. These are two standard drinks per day if you’re male and one standard drink per day if you’re female.

The definitions of standard drinks are:

  • Low alcohol beer: 375ml (e.g., one ‘stubby’ bottle)
  • Regular beer: 285ml
  • Table wine: 100ml
  • Spirits: 30ml

Please note: these are general guidelines only. Don’t be discouraged if your blood pressure doesn’t drop straight away, it may take some time for lifestyle changes and/or medications to have an effect.