Hypertension Prevention & Treatment

Published: April 19, 2010

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How to Prevent Against This

Some people can effectively prevent hypertension through lifestyle modifications and behavioral changes. By reducing stress, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol use, and following a well balanced diet, you may be able to effectively lower your blood pressure and keep it stable at a normal level.

If you are overweight, you may be able to lower your blood pressure by reducing your body weight. Many people notice a dramatic change in their blood pressure when they lose weight. By staying within a healthy weight range, you also limit possibilities of developing additional complications such as heart disease and strokes.

Maintaining a regular aerobic exercise routine can also have positive effects on blood pressure. Exercise does not necessarily need to be high intensity. Even walking can improve blood flow enough to control high blood pressure. Exercise will help you control stress, stay in shape, and feel good, overall. You will also limit the potential for developing additional complications such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes - all conditions that are exacerbated by hypertension.

Relaxation techniques can help reduce stress. Common practices include mindbody relaxation and controlled breathing. Lowering the lights and quieting loud sounds can help facilitate relaxation in order to reduce stress.

In general, it is important to maintain records of your blood pressure. If you catch hypertension early, you can take efforts to prevent future complications. For many people, hypertension creates no symptoms until the condition becomes severe. However, most people are unaware that they have hypertension until they start noticing symptoms. By catching symptoms early, you can start treating the condition before it becomes a problem.

Diet Tips

If you have a family or personal history of hypertension, a doctor might decide to put you on a high blood pressure diet as part of a preventative effort or treatment plan. A high blood pressure diet should be customized for the needs of the specific individual since patients may have a variety of health conditions. Here are some tips to help plan your high blood pressure diet:

  • Reduce sugar intake. You do not want to develop high blood sugar or diabetes in conjunction with your hypertension. The resulting problems could be very dangerous.
  • Reduce sodium intake as much as possible. You can even consider using a substitute for salt. When using a salt substitute, you should make sure that there are no safety warnings or manufacturer recalls. Many of these products are available at your local drugstore or grocery store.
  • A diet that is low in saturated fat can help treat hypertension.
  • Lower tobacco consumption by quitting smoking. Smoking does not necessarily cause hypertension, but when coupled with hypertension, smoking can cause additional complications such as heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • Limit alcohol intake. When you do drink, make sure that you drink plenty or water to stay hydrated. Dehydrated can cause your hypertension symptoms to become worse.
  • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has found that the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) can help lower blood pressure. This diet includes fruits, vegetables, and foods that are low in fat or fat-free.
  • Eat foods that are low in cholesterol. By keeping your cholesterol numbers normal, you eliminate another risk factor for heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.

If diet and lifestyle changes do not effectively control your high blood pressure, then you may need to take a daily medication to keep your blood pressure under control.

Treatment & Relief Methods

In general, doctors will encourage hypertension patients to adopt lifestyle changes before taking prescription medications. Patients might benefit from adopting the DASH diet or by increasing exercise. Generally, these relief methods are most effective when blood pressure is slightly high.

Some patients will need to start medications. Some doctors advocate prescribing medications based on thresholds or guidelines.

Doctors may choose to monitor the effects of lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments using biofeedback devices. These biofeedback devices can help doctors develop ideal and customized dosage levels.

Medications that are used to control hypertension include ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics.

A doctor may choose to prescribe one drug or a combination of drugs. A doctor will closely monitor patients who use prescription medicines.

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