Each Hypertension Canada focuses on certain key messages in their recommendations. These updated messages are chosen based on areas that have new scientific evidence or areas that can have a large impact on the health of Canadians. The latest recommendations have a few key messages for people with high blood pressure.
Reach your targets
Hypertension Canada's guidelines emphasize how important it is to reach your blood pressure targets. For most people, this means reaching a blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg. For people with diabetes, the targets are lower: less than 130/80 mm Hg. Your blood pressure targets may also depend on your risk for heart disease, so ask your doctor if you're not sure what your targets are. To reach these targets, you may need a combination of medications and healthy lifestyle changes (see below). It's very important to follow your treatment plan and use your medication as recommended by your doctor. Reaching your targets can help you reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Measure your blood pressure at home as recommended by your doctor
Home blood pressure measurement can help you see how your treatment is going and motivate you to stick with your medication and healthy lifestyle changes. Ask your doctor which blood pressure monitor is best for you and how to use it properly. An average blood pressure of 135/85 or higher on home blood pressure measurements is considered high. If you have high readings, consult your doctor.
Live a healthy lifestyle
It is recommended that adults start making healthy lifestyle changes to reduce their blood pressure and their risk of heart disease. Healthy lifestyle changes include:
- exercising at a moderate intensity (e.g., walking, swimming, cycling) for 30 to 60 minutes 4 to 7 days a week
- eating a healthy diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, and low-fat dairy products; and low in salt and saturated fats
- being smoke free
- reducing alcohol consumption to not more than 2 drinks per day to a maximum of 10 drinks per week for women, and not more than 3 drinks per day to a maximum of 15 drinks per week for men
- losing weight (if needed) and maintaining a healthy weight
- managing stress
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