By making a few adjustments, you can help minimize negative effects of HBP, and bring your blood pressure down to a healthier level, or help prevent getting high blood pressure altogether.
- Lose weight if you are overweight. Excess weight adds to strain on the heart. In some cases, weight loss may be the only treatment needed.
- Exercise regularly. If possible, exercise for 30 minutes on most days if you are not overweight, and 60 minutes most days if you are. You can exercise in small increments – the combined total is what counts!
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products while reducing total and saturated fat intake. Avoid foods that are really high in sodium, such as frozen dinners and pizzas, chips, and the like. Any time you can cut out fast food, it’s a good idea to do so. Opt for foods that have not been processed, i.e. that don’t come in a box. If you do buy processed foods, look at food labels to understand what’s in the products you’ll be consuming.
- Avoid smoking. If you need help quitting smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, and a Quit Coach can talk with you personally to develop a plan to stop. Best of all, it’s free! Click to learn more about the Free & Clear smoking cessation program.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.
- Do not consume more than 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per day.
- Try to manage your stress.
Follow your health care provider's recommendations to modify, treat, or control possible causes of secondary hypertension.
The goal of treatment is to reduce blood pressure so that you have a lower risk of complications.
There are many different medicines that can be used to treat high blood pressure, including:
- Alpha blockers
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Calcium channel blockers
- Central alpha agonists
- Renin inhibitors, including aliskiren (Tekturna)
Your doctor may also tell you to exercise, lose weight, and follow a healthier diet. If you have pre-hypertension, your doctor may recommend the same lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down to a normal range.
Often, a single blood pressure drug may not be enough to control your blood pressure, and you may need to take two or more drugs. It is very important that you take the medications prescribed to you. If you have side effects, your health care provider can substitute a different medication.
As always, check with your doctor before starting a diet or exercise program.