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Six healthy behaviors can help reduce high blood pressure risk

Posted July 21, 2009

A new study shows that six healthy behaviors can significantly reduce a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure.

High blood pressure or hypertension is a major contributor to the leading causes of death for men and women.

“High blood pressure is a major cause of stroke and a major cause of heart disease or heart attack,” said Dr. John Forman, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Medical health Healthy behavior can affect hypertension

Forman and other researchers tracked the lifestyle habits of nearly 84,000 women with normal blood pressure. The goal was to see how much women could lower their risk of developing hypertension by adopting these six low-risk lifestyle factors:

  • Keeping a normal body weight
  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Moderate alcohol consumption
  • Avoiding over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Taking folic acid supplements

Over 14 years, participants lowered their risk of developing hypertension by about 80 percent.

“Following just one of the six healthy lifestyle factors does reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. However, adding on and combining multiple low risk factors leads to greater and greater reductions in the risk of developing high blood pressure,” Forman said.

The study found that the most critical lifestyle factor to follow is maintaining a healthy weight.

Researchers found that the lifestyle behaviors can have such a great impact that the risk of developing hypertension can be reduced even among women with a family history of the disease.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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  • johneve Jul 23, 2009

    My BP was running a little higher than what I thought it should, so I did some research...I was taking Advil twice a day and "research" shows that it causes high BP...so I have weaned off of it - can't really tell my BP is lower, but maybe it takes awhile(?)...I do however still take an 81mg aspirin daily

  • Sarge Jul 23, 2009

    I guessing most are made with some type of sodium base.

  • hollylama Jul 22, 2009

    I'm stuck on "avoid over the counter pain relievers"...particularly when its recommended that aspirin be taken daily to lower risk of heart attack.

  • Fordlady4win Jul 22, 2009

    "Avoiding over-the-counter pain relievers"

    What does that mean? Always? Sometimes? What kind of pain relievers--asprin? advil? tylenol? Why?

    What are you supposed to use instead??

  • scientistjo Jul 21, 2009

    "Avoiding over-the-counter pain relievers"

    What does that mean? Always? Sometimes? What kind of pain relievers--asprin? advil? tylenol? Why?