Heart Health

6 natural ways to lower blood pressure

Lifestyle changes can be as effective as medication.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

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Taking medication to lower high blood pressure is a proven way to reduce your risk for heart disease. But adopting lifestyle changes may let you maintain healthy readings and perhaps even avoid drug therapy. "Unless a person's blood pressure is very high, medication most often does not start immediately," says Dr. Howard LeWine, editor in chief of Harvard Men's Health Watch. "For people with elevated blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension, the first order of business is to get serious about modifying their lifestyle."

By the numbers

Normal blood pressure is defined as a reading of less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Elevated pressure means systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading) is 120 to 129 mm Hg with a diastolic pressure (the second number) of less than 80 mm Hg. People who have consistent readings of 130 to 139 for systolic pressure or 80 to 89 for diastolic pressure are said to have high blood pressure (stage 1 hypertension).

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About the Author

photo of Matthew Solan

Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Matthew Solan is the executive editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. He previously served as executive editor for UCLA Health’s Healthy Years and as a contributor to Duke Medicine’s Health News and Weill Cornell Medical College’s … See Full Bio
View all posts by Matthew Solan

About the Reviewer

photo of Howard E. LeWine, MD

Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Howard LeWine is a practicing internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Chief Medical Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, and editor in chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. See Full Bio
View all posts by Howard E. LeWine, MD

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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