4 Prevention is better than cure

4.5 What can individuals do?

Whatever age they are, men, women and children can all do something to try to prevent future cardiovascular diseases in themselves or their families by eating a balanced diet (see Section 4.6), taking more exercise and modifying their lifestyles to reduce any other known risk factors. If cardiovascular diseases are pre-existing, there are still numerous areas in which improvements can be made.

In most people, hypertension is not associated with any symptoms, although a small proportion of patients will experience symptoms such as headaches, blurry vision, or shortness of breath. The only way to be sure that your blood pressure is within normal limits is to have it regularly measured by your doctor or nurse. In between visits to your health care provider, you can also monitor your blood pressure at home with a calibrated sphygmomanometer. At the same time, everyone can help to prevent themselves from developing hypertension by eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of physical activity or exercise.