If your blood pressure is 130-140/80-90, then lifestyle modification should be your initial attempt to lower it. National Institute of Health guidelines include:
- Weight reduction if you’re overweight, i.e., if your body mass index (BMI) is >25.
- Adopt the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which is rich in potassium and calcium and low in salt.
- Physical activity, such as 30-45 minutes of walking and taking 10,000 steps per day.
- Limit alcohol consumption. For women, this is one drink or less perday.
- Avoid smoking, which can worsen blood pressure and overall heart health.
- Manage stress with strategies such as mindfulness practices or seeing a therapist.
- Get high-quality sleep, which means aiming for about seven to eight hours per night.
There are additional ways to lower your blood pressure naturally. These include getting into nature at least once a week and considering yoga, tai chi or other meditation and body-mind-spirit exercises. It also doesn’t hurt to start a gratitude practice in which you try to find at least one thing every day that makes you feel happy or grateful.
If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90, or if the above natural measures don't work well enough after three to six months, then you’ll likely need to go on a medication.
Be sure to measure your blood pressure with an upper arm digital device at different times of the day and night, log it and show it to your doctor. People who show wide variations will need special considerations.