Hypertension or high blood pressure is a lifestyle disease affecting nearly half of the adult population in the United States. In most cases, people with high blood pressure exhibit no symptoms even if the readings are incredibly high. However, others may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, headaches, and nosebleeding. The cause for hypertension in most adults is not established. But in other cases, this condition may be caused by an underlying problem such as kidney disease and obstructive sleep apnea. Fortunately, your doctor at Prime Heart and Vascular may easily detect hypertension during a routine check-up.
What is the treatment for high blood pressure?
Treatment methods for hypertension or high blood pressure vary from lifestyle changes to medication. Your blood pressure measurements and general well-being determine the type of medication that your doctor may recommend. In most cases, trial and error is part of finding which medicine works best for you.
Some of the medications your specialist may recommend to treat hypertension include:
- Diuretics. Diuretics or water pills are medications used to treat kidney disease and are the first medications your doctor may recommend for high blood pressure. They are available in different classes, including loop, thiazide, and potassium-sparing. These drugs work by eliminating water and salt from your body. Your doctor’s prescription is based on your blood pressure readings and other health condition. Patients under this type of medication have reported a common side effect – increased urination.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE). These drugs inhibit the formation of a natural chemical that narrows your blood vessels. Examples of ACE inhibitors include captopril, benazepril, and lisinopril.
- Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine and diltiazem. This type of medication is effective for older people and those of African heritage and compares to ACE inhibitors. However, your doctor may advise that you avoid grapefruit products as they may increase blood levels of calcium channel blockers.
Below are examples of healthy practices that will help you manage your blood pressure.
Eat a healthy diet
If you have high blood pressure, with the help of a dietician, your doctor may advise that you aim to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, skinless fish and poultry, low-fat dairy products, and non-tropical vegetable oils. On the other hand, you may need to limit your intake of red meat, sodium, saturated fats, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Adopting a habit of reading labels while shopping may also help you in purchasing healthy products.
Not only does exercise help you control high blood pressure, but it also helps you manage weight, lower stress levels, and strengthen your heart. Your therapist may help you create a schedule for exercise, where activities are spread evenly throughout the week to facilitate consistency. Examples of physical exercise you may engage in include brisk walking, cycling, and jogging. Inactivity puts you at risk for developing other medical conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
Limit alcohol usage
If your doctor diagnoses you with hypertension, you may need to reduce your alcohol consumption to one drink a day if you are a woman and two for men.
The process of checking your blood pressure is fast, painless, and helps you begin early treatment if needed. To learn more about how to manage blood pressure, visit your doctor at Prime Heart and Vascular.