What treatments are available for patients with high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Without treatment, you can have a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke, heart attack, enlarged heart, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease (such as poor circulation and pain in your legs), aneurysms, kidney disease, and broken blood vessels in your eyes. Treatment includes making changes recommended by your healthcare provider.
Diet and lifestyle changes:
- Reach and stay at your ideal body weight
- Get regular exercise
- Eat a well-balanced, heart healthy diet that is low in salt, fat and cholesterol, and contains lots of fresh fruits and vegetables*
- *Your diet is an important part of blood pressure control. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan and limiting sodium (salt) help control blood pressure. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian for a more personalized eating plan. More information is available from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at www.nhlbi.nih.gov or the American Heart Association at www.americanheart.org*
- Having no more than two alcoholic drinks per day (for most men) and no more than one drink per day for women and lighter-weight men. One drink is considered to be 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor
- Control stress and anger
- Avoid all tobacco and nicotine products
- Other lifestyle changes, such as controlling lipid levels (LDL, cholesterol, triglycerides) and managing other health conditions, such as diabetes
Medications and follow-up care:
- Take all medications as prescribed. Do not stop or start taking any medication without talking to your doctor. Blood pressure medication does not keep working after you stop taking it
- Some over-the-counter medications, such as decongestants, can change the way your blood pressure medication works
- Keep all follow-up appointments so your doctor can monitor your blood pressure, make any needed changes to your medications and help control your risk of cardiovascular disease
Your doctor may ask you to record your blood pressure at home. Follow your doctor’s instructions for recording your blood pressure.