Treatments for Hypertension, or high blood pressure
Dr. Sunil Dwivedi
Vasanth nagar, Bengaluru Jun 23, 2017
Any patient with BP readings greater than 120/80 should be encouraged to enroll for treatment planning. This includes lifestyle modifications, such as eating a healthier diet, quitting smoking, and getting more exercise. Treatment with medication is recommended to lower blood pressure to less than 140/90. For patients who have diabetes or chronic kidney disease the recommended blood pressure is less than 130/80.
Treating high blood pressure involves lifestyle changes and possibly drug therapy.
- If your weight is more than normal, try losing weight, 2-4 kgs in a month. Do not use fad or rigid diets as they are detrimental to your health. To lower blood pressure and to correct other risk factors for heart disease like diabetes and abnormal amounts of cholesterol in the blood the single most non drug method is losing weight.
- Decrease your intake of salt. This can be done effectively by avoiding processed foods, canned soups, tomato juice and sauces, and obviously salty foods such as pickles, flavoring agents etc. Read the food labels to look for their salt content and avoid them.
- Try to formulate a regular exercise regimen. It could be a simple as walking for 30–45 minutes 3–4 times a week or climbing extra stairs. Taking part in sports that you enjoy will help to reduce your heart attack risk and may lower blood pressure.
- Limit your intake of alcohol. Enjoying an occasional glass of wine, beer or a cocktail is fine provided you don't have alcohol sensitivity. Daily intake should be limited to 1–2 drinks a day.
- Quit smoking if you still smoke. Smoking cessation will lower your blood pressure and will eliminate one of the most important heart attack risk factors.
- Discuss the use of medication with your doctor if your blood pressure remains above 140/90 mm Hg despite weight reduction, a lower salt diet, and an exercise program. Scientific research has shown that lowering even a slightly elevated blood pressure will reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure. Some medication will be required by most people with hypertension to lower blood pressure to normal levels. There are many safe and effective medications available.
- Take the medication as prescribed and regularly. Skipping you medication on your own won't do you any good.
- Rush to your doctor in case of a reaction to a medication. Do not stop taking the medication just after listening to dramatic stories by other patients or news. Check everything with the doctor who is treating you, not with a TV anchorperson. Most blood pressure-lowering drugs do not cause significant side effects.
- Controlling BP adequately with lifestyle measures and medication is possible in more than 80–85% of patients. The complications rate in hypertensive patients was high in the past but have been reduced these days as more and more people are being treated for this disease. Do remember that aim is not to just take the medication or improve lifestyle. The ultimate goal is to ensure that your blood pressure reduces to below 140/90 and even lower if you have diabetes or heart disease.