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
- 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