High blood pressure can be a frightening diagnosis. Most of us do not understand how it works but we do know that it can lead to serious medical problems. Here are some tools to help understand and lower the readings.

Reading : Read books and articles on this topic. Some of the best sites include Medscape , MEDLINE and PubMed . All of these are run by experts in the various medical topics being researched.

Do not stop there. Read the nutrition and ingredients labels of every prepackaged product you purchase. Do not go by percentages. They are designed for a 2000 calorie diet and most of us do not need that many calories. Go by the amount of each item. If the sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol (in that order) are too high, look for a healthier solution.

Monitoring : The only way to know if the readings are too high is if you know what they are. Blood pressure kits are not that expensive and they are fairly easy to use. Mine cost $ 15 and it can be done by one person. Keep a record, taking the readings two or three times per day at about the same time of day. This will help the doctor determine whether there is a problem and what to do about it.

Managing : In order to manage hypertension you'll need to talk to your doctor and a nutritionist. They can let you know what limits you need to set for sodium and fat, and how to incorporate that into your lifestyle.

Action : None of the above will work without you take action. It's easy to ignore the small details such as nutrition labels but that can lead to big problems. Set a goal for yourself and use the tools available to reach them.