High Blood Pressure - Hypertension (HTN) Treatment
The goal of treatment is to keep blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg. The goal is lower, 125-130/80 mmHg, for people with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or a prior heart attack or stroke. You doctor can tell you what your specific goal should be. Treatment of secondary conditions can return blood pressure to normal. Treatment for high blood pressure usually consists of lifestyle changes, medications, or both.
Some people can lower their blood pressure with lifestyle changes including weight loss, exercise, and dietary changes. You should work towards achieving and maintaining your ideal weight. Even a small weight loss is beneficial. It is helpful to eat low fat, low calorie, low cholesterol, high fiber, and low salt foods. You should eliminate using table salt. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is a guide for people with high blood pressure. You should quit smoking and avoid alcohol. If making lifestyle changes are difficult for you, your doctor can refer you to resources for assistance and support.
Medications to treat high blood pressure may also be used along with lifestyle changes. There are many prescription medications that work in different ways to treat high blood pressure. Your medication or dose may need to be changed over time.
It is very important that you take your medications according to your doctor’s instructions. You should take your medication as directed, even if you feel better. It is also important to monitor your blood pressure per your doctor’s instructions. You should make and keep all of your doctor appointments.
The prognosis is usually good for high blood pressure that is controlled. You may need to take medication for the rest of your life, unless you can lower your blood pressure with significant lifestyle changes. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to life threatening medical complications.
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