What should I do if I have high blood pressure?

  • If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should discuss your target blood pressure with your healthcare provider.
  • Check your own blood pressure at home as recommended.
  • Eat healthy foods that are low in salt and fat.
  • Achieve and maintain your ideal body weight.
  • Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks each day. One drink is defined as 1 oz. of alcohol, 5 oz. of wine, or 12 oz. of beer.
  • Be more physically active.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Work on controlling anger and managing stress.
  • Take high blood pressure medicine if your healthcare provider prescribes it, and follow the healthcare provider's directions carefully.
  • Have regular blood pressure checks by your healthcare provider.

What should I know about blood pressure medicine?

There are many different medicines to treat high blood pressure, and you might need to take medicine from now on. If your healthcare provider tells you to take high blood pressure medicine, be sure to follow the exact directions.

Also, ask what side effects can happen with your medicine, and talk to your healthcare provider about any problems or side effects you might have with your medicine. Lastly, do not stop taking the medicine on your own.

What can happen if high blood pressure is not treated?

  • Stroke.
  • Enlarged heart.
  • Heart failure.
  • Peripheral vascular disease.
  • Heart attack.
  • Kidney disease/failure.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy