Hypertension Self-Care: Your Ultimate Plan For Lowering Blood Pressure at Home

To properly manage high blood pressure you can’t rely on medication alone. YOU have a role to play in the management of your health as well. And having a hypertension self-care plan is the best way to accomplish this.

In this article, I’ll describe the proven ways you can provide self-care in managing your high blood pressure easily from home. You can and will get your blood pressure under control by practicing these techniques consistently.

As the late, great, fitness and nutrition coach Jack LaLanne once said…

“Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out.”

And he was absolutely correct. Let’s dive into your hypertension self-care routine. FYI, don’t forget to download the free checklist and monthly blood pressure log sheet!

Interested in food items that may or may not affect blood pressure? Check out Common Blood Pressure Questions and Answers (Nutrition Edition)

blood pressure being taken using home blood pressure monitor

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is what happens when the pressure in your blood vessels is too high. Basically, it is high blood pressure. It’s also what many healthcare providers call “the silent killer”. This is because high blood pressure does not always have obvious or noticeable symptoms.

Hypertension affects millions of people worldwide and can significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The scary thing about blood pressure is that it tends to increase with age. This is related to structural changes in our arteries as we get older.

If you do not take hypertension self-care seriously, it could lead to damage to blood vessels and heart, vision loss, kidney failure, sexual dysfunction, and death.

How High Is Too High?

Knowing the severity of your health problem may give you more motivation to stay consistent. Although, if you have a close family member or loved one who suffers from high blood pressure, you may already know.

The following chart shows different ranges of blood pressure along with the severity. These are based on recommendations from the American Heart Association. Other health organizations have different blood pressure threshold goals, which you can access here.

Note: If your blood pressure ever falls into the hypertensive crisis category below, please consult your doctor or go directly to the nearest hospital to seek treatment. DO NOT TRY HOME TECHNIQUES TO BRING IT DOWN.

Blood Pressure
mm Hg
(upper number)
mm Hg
(lower number)
NormalLess than 120andLess than 80
Elevated120-129andLess than 80
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
140 or higheror90 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(consult your doctor
Higher than 180and/orHigher than 120

How Effective Are Hypertension Self-Care Interventions?

Research shows that behavioral techniques for managing high blood pressure at home are essential and effective at lowering blood pressure.

These recommendations include multiple factors in reducing blood pressure, including medication and healthy daily lifestyle habits. These recommendations are healthy and beneficial practices for individuals not currently taking blood pressure medication as well. This is because following such techniques can help prevent, delay, or reduce the amount of medication you need.

The easiest part of all these interventions is that you can do them from home. If it helps, think of it as a lifestyle, not an intervention.

For some people, improvements in blood pressure are never seen. The reasoning behind this is a lack of knowledge or lack of motivation and desire to make the necessary behavior changes.

Home-based management of high blood pressure relies primarily on YOU. Your doctor or nurse cannot come home with you. And many of us don’t have personal chefs, physical therapists, or personal trainers at our fingertips to help motivate us and remind us what we need to do each day.

At the end of the day, the effectiveness of any or all of these techniques boils down to your willingness to seek answers, educate yourself, and practice regular self-care.

Self-Care Behaviors for Hypertension

The self-care behaviors I am about to discuss are ones that you may already know. But perhaps you don’t practice them in your daily life?

If that is you, and you’ve also been diagnosed with hypertension, read the next sections carefully and download the free checklist as a reminder!

Medication Compliance

If your doctor has prescribed you medication to help lower your blood pressure, this does not mean that your blood pressure problems are solved. You still have to make sure you take your medication consistently AND take into account all of the other self-care behaviors below to best manage your blood pressure.

Whether you’re prescribed a diuretic, beta blocker, ACE inhibitor, or something else, take it according to your doctor’s instructions.

Medication is recommended for good reason and can help reduce not only blood pressure but also reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack, and death from cardiac events.

Weight Management

Excess body weight can contribute to hypertension. But focusing on maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your blood pressure. Consider the following tips:

  • Do Aerobic Exercises: Activities such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing for at least 150 minutes per week can have a positive impact on your blood pressure levels.
  • Strength Training: Incorporate strength-training exercises into your routine to build muscle mass. This can improve metabolism and overall cardiovascular, including blood pressure.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with healthcare professionals, like registered dietitians and certified fitness trainers to develop an eating and exercise plan tailored to your specific needs and limitations.

Physical Activity

Piggy-backing off of what was mentioned above, engaging in regular physical activity helps to lower blood pressure by utilizing other pathways as well. It strengthens your heart muscle, therefore making it easier to pump blood through your body and lowering blood pressure.

According to a study published in the journal Hypertension, just half an hour of walking in the morning could be as effective as medication at lowering blood pressure. Try some of the following tips to get and stay active:

  • Start an Exercise Habit: Keep walking shoes and workout clothes by your bed to motivate you to exercise every morning when you wake up.
  • Evening Walks: Make it a point to walk daily after dinner.
  • Track Your Steps: Get a cheap pedometer or use your iPhone to track your steps each day. Set goals and break them (for example-10,000 steps each day).
  • Buddy-Up: Enlist a partner to keep you accountable for your physical activity goals. This could be a friend, spouse, or family member.

Avoiding Smoking and Alcohol

Excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption can elevate blood pressure levels. Consider these guidelines:

  • Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Limit your alcohol intake to moderate levels, such as one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Watch Your Caffeine Intake: While moderate caffeine consumption is generally safe, excessive amounts can temporarily raise your blood pressure. Be mindful of your caffeine sources and consider switching to decaffeinated alternatives.

Related article: How Can Refraining From Smoking Benefit an Individual’s Health?

Managing Stress

While there is no evidence that stress causes hypertension, it does contribute to its development.

When we are under stress, our blood pressure and heart rate increase temporarily, then go back to normal once the stress response is over.

However, with chronic stress (including isolation, marital stress, job stress, etc.), we may have a more difficult time recovering from the resulting elevated blood pressure levels. If this is something you need help with, consider the following stress-management techniques:

  • Practice Relaxation Techniques: Engage in activities like deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
  • Engage in Hobbies: Find activities you enjoy, such as painting, gardening, or listening to music, to divert your attention from stress triggers.
  • Think About Counseling: Consider talking to a psychologist or psychiatrist that can help you develop proper coping responses, which may be useful when exposure to stress cannot be avoided or reduced.

Of the many relaxation techniques, one meta-analysis reports that transcendental meditation was the only method that had significant improvements in blood pressure.

Related article: Maintaining a Healthful Diet During Times of Stress

Adequate Sleep

Sleep is essential. We all need an adequate amount or we cannot function properly. Chronic lack of sleep plays a major role in developing chronic diseases.
Lack of sleep can also increase stress levels which negatively impacts blood pressure.

Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Consider these tips to get more sleep:

  • Routine, Routine, Routine: Establish a bedtime routine to ensure you get enough quality sleep.
  • Avoid Screens: Screen time close to bedtime can increase how long it takes to fall asleep and decrease the number of hours you sleep each night.

Related article: Why Sleeping Is Important for Health [And How To Get More!]

Following a Low Sodium Diet

A well-balanced diet is crucial for managing hypertension.

Lowering sodium can significantly improve blood pressure. And other nutrients, like including more foods high in potassium, is also good hypertension self-care. Consider incorporating the following dietary recommendations into your routine:

  • Reduce Sodium Intake: Limit your consumption of processed and packaged foods, which often contain high levels of sodium. Opt for fresh, whole foods and use herbs and spices to flavor your meals instead.
  • Increase Potassium-Rich Foods: Potassium helps counteract the effects of sodium. Include potassium-rich foods such as bananas, oranges, spinach, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes in your diet.
  • Embrace the DASH Diet: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. This diet has shown promising results in managing high blood pressure.

The Mediterranean diet is also effective at reducing cardiovascular disease and blood pressure. You can update yourself on the Mediterranean diet and get a free list of healthy foods to keep in your pantry in this blog post. Or get informed on the DASH diet by reading “The DASH Diet for Beginners (Everything You Need To Know)“.

How about a smoothie that lowers blood pressure? Check out Beet Smoothie for High Blood Pressure

Self-Care Plan for Hypertension (Free Checklist)

Here is a free checklist you can download. It includes all of the areas you need to regularly focus on to manage your high blood pressure. Make sure to take time for yourself. Build healthy habits every day. Even small steps are progress and will get you closer to your goals.

hypertension self-care checklist

Testing Blood Pressure At Home

While testing your blood pressure at home is not part of the hypertension self-care techniques, it is a wonderful self-monitoring technique.

Keeping track of your blood pressure at home can give you and your healthcare provider a better idea of how your blood pressure varies from day to day and whether or not medication is managing your hypertension.

You should always track your blood pressure by writing it down. As a handy tool, I’ve included a Blood Pressure Record Sheet below this section to help you keep track of your daily blood pressure readings. But for now, let’s talk about the best options for testing your blood pressure from home.

There are many at-home options for blood pressure monitors. Below are a few that are highly rated and affordable.

At-Home Blood Pressure Cuffs

One important bit of advice is that you need to choose a blood pressure monitor that is validated. All three of the options below are validated.

To see if your at-home blood pressure monitor is validated, visit: https://www.validatebp.org/

  1. iHealth Track Smart Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Wide Range Cuff

2. OMRON Silver Blood Pressure Monitor

3. Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor Kit for Home Use

After purchasing your blood pressure device, make sure to read the directions carefully before using.

It’s also a good idea to bring your at-home blood pressure monitor to your next office visit. This allows you to show your doctor that you know how to use properly and that it aligns with the readings you are getting in-office versus at-home.

Blood Pressure Record Sheet (Free PDF)

free blood pressure log download

Other Resources For Managing Hypertension

There is a lot of information online from reputable resources like the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. However, if you want more than just reading material, what are your options?

Below are three very helpful, hands-on approaches to hypertension self-care. If you participate in any classes or the web-based program, leave me a comment below to let me know!

Hypertension Self-Management Classes (In-Person)

Group classes and individual counseling can improve blood pressure levels by providing encouragement, skill-building, and education.

One study on hypertension self-management group classes shows that almost all individuals who attended more than one class had a reduction in their blood pressure. The average reduction was 19.1/14.8 mm Hg which is significant for lowering stroke risk.

To find classes near you, talk to your primary care physician. Some classes being offered may be based on insurance coverage however you may be able to find free or low-cost classes in your area through:

  • local libraries
  • churches
  • high schools, colleges, and universities
  • community education programs

Hypertension Self-Management Classes (Web-based)

Harvard Medical School offers an online course for hypertensive individuals. It provides strategies, medications, and simple lifestyle changes that can help improve your blood pressure.

This online course is not free but is a lower-cost option at $29.95 (at the time of this posting). This is especially convenient for those who work full-time, have children, or other time restraints. The course can be accessed anytime and is self-paced.

Low-cost hypertension online course through Harvard University

YouTube Videos on Hypertension

The International Society on Hypertension (ISH) has some informative and easy-to-understand videos on hypertension. This is a great place for beginners to educate themselves on the basics of hypertension and how to take blood pressure at home.

In addition, you can also find infographics, podcasts, and other hypertension resources on their site. They do mention an online hypertension course however it is geared toward healthcare professionals, not the general public.

introductory hypertension self-care videos on YouTube


Hypertension self-care is similar to other types of self-care. It involves taking time to educate yourself on your condition, what behaviors help your condition, and what behaviors you need to change.

Hypertension is a serious medical condition that, if left untreated, can lead to stroke, heart attack, other cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, and even death.

You can manage your blood pressure using the hypertension self-care recommendations listed. And even though lifestyle and dietary needs can be tricky to maintain, your healthcare team can give you the support you need.

Take advantage of community and online resources and take control of your high blood pressure today and every day.

For more on what you can do for heart health, check out 5 Things You Can Do to Support Heart Health NOW.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *