Treatment of High Blood Pressure
Changing your lifestyle can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure.
- Lose weight if you are overweight – a reduction of 5% can make a big difference. For most people that is less than 20 pounds.
- Increase the amount of physical activity you get on a daily basis. Aim for 30 minutes per day, but health benefits are gained from as little as 60 minutes of activity per week.
- Improve your diet to include: more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lower in sodium lower in fat and dietary cholesterol.
- Quit smoking.
- Learn techniques to manage stress.
Sometimes, though, lifestyle changes aren’t enough. In addition to some of the measures listed above, your doctor may recommend medication to lower your blood pressure. Which category of medication your doctor prescribes depends on your stage of high blood pressure and whether you have other medical problems, such as diabetes.
Medications to treat high blood pressure
Thiazide diuretics. Sometimes called “water pills”, are medications that act on your kidneys to help your body eliminate sodium and water. Diuretics are often the first, but not the only, choice in high blood pressure medications.
Beta blockers. These medications reduce the workload on your heart and open your blood vessels, causing your heart to beat slower and with less force.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These medications help relax blood vessels by blocking the formation of a natural chemical, (Angiotensin) that narrows blood vessels.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers. These medications help relax blood vessels by blocking the action, not the formation, of a natural chemical, Angiotensin, that narrows blood vessels.
Calcium channel blockers. These medications help relax the muscles of your blood vessels. Some slow your heart rate. Grapefruit juice, for example, interacts negatively with some calcium channel blockers, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re concerned about interactions.
Renin inhibitors. Slows down the production of renin, an enzyme produced by your kidneys that starts a chain of chemical steps that increases blood pressure.
If you’re being treated for HBP and have repeat readings in the normal range, your blood pressure is under control. However, you still have the condition. You should continue to see your doctor and follow your treatment plan to keep your blood pressure under control.