How is it treated?
You and your doctor will work together to find the best way to lower your blood pressure. Treatment usually begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. If these changes don't work, you may also need to take medicine.
Even if you need to take medicine, making some changes in your lifestyle can help reduce the amount of medicine you must take.
- Don't smoke cigarettes or use any tobacco products.
- Lose weight if you're overweight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and is low in fat.
- Limit your sodium, alcohol, and caffeine intake.
- Try relaxation techniques or biofeedback.
See "Lifestyle Changes to Help Lower Your Blood Pressure" for more information.
What about medicine?
Many different types of medicine can be used to treat high blood pressure (see "High Blood Pressure Medicines"). These are called antihypertensive medicines.
The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to normal levels with medicine that's easy to take and has few, if any, side effects. This goal can almost always be met.
If your blood pressure can only be controlled with medicine, you'll need to take the medicine for the rest of your life. It is common to need more than one medicine to help control your blood pressure. Don't stop taking the medicine without talking with your family doctor, or you may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
See a list of resources used in the development of this information.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff