Health Advice



Optimal ways to lower and control your blood pressure

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Lionel Hollins, 69, retired assistant coach for the Houston Rockets and former All-Star point guard with 10 years in the NBA was diagnosed with high blood pressure at age 27. He managed to control it so it didn't interfere with his career or health. That's not something that comes easily to many of the 116 million adults in the U.S. with the condition -- defined as having a top number (systolic pressure) above 130 and a lower number (diastolic pressure) above 80, or having lowered it by taking medication. Unfortunately, only about 24% of those folks have their blood pressure under control.

Now, a study in JAMA offers a clear picture of the best ways to control high blood pressure.

-- Optimal non-medication steps, which should be taken first, include: Weight loss achieved through calorie restriction and exercise; increased potassium in the diet (best choice) and through supplementation; adopting the DASH or Mediterranean diet; aerobics and strength training 40 to 60 minutes at least three times a week; and minimal or no alcohol intake.

-- Medications are the second line of defense and can lower blood pressure by 10, 20 or 30mmHg, reducing cardiovascular events by 29%, 52% and 54% respectively. The first choice for meds: Thiazide diuretics, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers -- and sometimes two-drug combinations.

Not to put pressure on you, but if your blood pressure isn't controlled, are you ready to take these lifestyle steps and talk to your doc about treatment choices? It's advice worth taking to heart.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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