By keeping your BP below 120/80, you can avoid a number of diseases, such as heart disease, kidney failure and erectile dysfunction. When lifestyle changes fail to provide benefit, doctors can provide medication.

  • Limit sodium intake. DASH diet keeps sodium to 2,300 mg per day (about one teaspoon of salt). Cutting it down to 1,500 is even better. The DASH diet can decrease your systolic blood pressure by 10 points or more.
  • Monitor your blood pressure at home. This can give you an instant idea on the benefits of diet and exercise and yield a more accurate picture of your blood pressure levels. This is important, in the sense that some people experience white coat hypertension, wherein the blood pressure rises higher than normal when measured at the doctor’s office.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Men can take 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks per day, defined as 1.5 ounces (1 shot glass) of 80–proof spirits, a 5–ounce serving of wine, or a 12–ounce serving of beer. Women may take no more than one drink a day.
  • Take more meds if required—but take the right ones.

(Healthbeat)