High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. Your blood pressure measurement takes into account how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping.
Several lifestyle modifications or non-pharmacological approaches are widely recommended in worldwide guidelines for the management and prevention of hypertension.
A broad range of factors have been identified that contribute to poor BP control
Excess body fat is the dominant factor predisposing to blood pressure elevation. The effect is apparent from infancy and childhood through to the elderly, with a continuum of effect throughout the entire distribution of body fat. Body fat excess, particularly central obesity, is associated with the so-called metabolic syndrome of impairment of insulin sensitivity, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia, which compounds with the effects of blood pressure elevation to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The role of dietary salt in increasing blood pressure levels and the rise in blood pressure with age is now well established. However, there is still some dissension over the magnitude of the blood pressure fall with salt restriction.
The biggest problem is maintaining this degree of reduction in sodium intake in the long term and in populations, particularly given the high salt content of prepared foods.
Physical activity and fitness
Population studies show an inverse relation between physical fitness and blood pressure levels independent of all other risk factors for hypertension. Similar relationships are seen between physical fitness or activity and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Cycling, brisk walking for 40 min three times a week, jogging, and swimming have all been reported to lead to sustained blood pressure reduction in hypertensive people.
The relation between regular alcohol consumption and blood pressure has now been established in populations drinking a variety of alcoholic beverages throughout the world. In some studies alcohol ranked close to obesity for its effect on blood pressure. The effect is seen in both genders, appears to increase with age, is additive to that of obesity, and may be aggravated by cigarette smoking.