Ask the doctor: Will lifestyle changes help with systolic hypertension?

Q. My top blood pressure number is high, and my bottom number is normal. Can a healthier lifestyle lower my blood pressure?

A. Healthy diet and exercise habits are the cornerstone of blood pressure management. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure has estimated how much each of five simple lifestyle changes can reduce systolic blood pressure (SBP)—the top number in a blood pressure reading—in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

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