One of the most important ways of controlling blood pressure is taking medication regularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Individuals who have difficulty remembering to take their medication should talk with their doctor about options. Other ways to control blood pressure include quitting smoking, watching the diet and regularly exercising.
Both smoking and chewing tobacco cause an immediate rise in blood pressure, according to Mayo Clinic. While the increase is only temporary, the chemicals in tobacco cause damage to the arteries and narrowing of the blood vessels, resulting in an increase in blood pressure. Exposure to secondhand smoke also increases blood pressure.
Food has both positive and negative impacts on blood pressure. Foods high in sodium cause blood pressure to increase, while potassium-rich foods lower it. WebMD recommends following the DASH diet, an eating plan designed to reduce salt and sugar. The DASH diet lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke in women who follow it for several years.
The CDC recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week for lower blood pressure. If a family member has high blood pressure, it is helpful to plan to exercise and cook meals together. Exercise helps to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce stress, which also lower blood pressure.