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Disease & Conditions >>> Blood Pressure Articles & News
Treatment Options For High Blood PressureYou and your health care provider have options for treating your high blood pressure.
Many people can lower their blood pressure significantly with lifestyle changes, but most still need medication to keep their blood pressure in the healthy range.
Alternative therapies can also help lower your blood pressure.
Whichever therapy you choose, it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly to make sure that your treatment is working.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, heart attacks, heart failure, kidney failure, vision problems, and stroke.
blood pressure machines at the pharmacy or supermarket are accurate.
A recent study showed that they can be accurate, but sometimes are not.
It usually is not possible to tell whether a particular machine is working properly. The cuff should inflate and fit snugly around your arm.
Use the machine as directed.
Measure your blood pressure three times, 2 minutes apart. The third measurement is usually the most accurate.
If your blood pressure is high on the third reading, even borderline, have it checked by another machine that you know is accurate (for example, at the office of your health care provider).
Do not rely on the machines in stores alone to check your blood pressure. Have it checked regularly by a trained medical professional with a machine that is known to be accurate.
Self-Care at HomeThe management and control of high blood pressure involves 2 major options, lifestyle modification (detailed here) and medications (detailed in Treatment).
Lifestyle options include changing what you eat and your activity level.
Quitting smoking and moderating alcohol consumption will help keep your blood pressure in the healthy range.
Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight or obese, lose weight. Aim for a healthy weight range for your height and body type. Your health care provider can help you calculate a target weight.
Even a small amount of weight loss can make a major difference in lowering or preventing high blood pressure.
To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in.
Crash or fad diets are not helpful and may be dangerous.
Some weight loss medications also carry major risks, and great caution is advised in using these drugs.
The healthiest and longest-lasting weight loss requires slow loss, such as losing one-half to 1 pound each week. Eating 500 calories less than you burn every day may help achieve this goal. In a week, you will eat 3500 calories less than you burn, which is enough to lose 1 pound.
Increasing your physical activity will help you burn more calories.
Lose weight and keep it off
Choose foods low in calories and fat. Fat is a concentrated source of calories. You should cut down on butter, margarine, regular salad dressing, fatty or red meats, the skin of poultry, whole milk, cheese, fried foods, ice cream, many cookies, cakes, pastries, and snacks.
Instead, choose baked, broiled, or poached chicken and turkey (without skin), fish, lean cuts of meat (such as round or sirloin); skim, 1%, or evaporated milk; lower fat, low-sodium cheeses; fresh, frozen, or canned fruit or vegetables (without butter, cream, or cheese sauces); plain rice and pasta; English muffins; bagels; sandwich bread and rolls; soft tortillas; cold (ready-to-eat) and hot whole-grain cereals (avoid "instant" types, which are high in sodium).
Choose foods high in starch and fiber: These foods are low in fat and also good sources of vitamins and minerals. Try fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals, pasta and rice, and dry peas and beans.
Limit serving sizes: You should especially try to take smaller helpings of high-calorie foods such as meats and cheeses. Try to avoid the temptation of going back for seconds.
Write down what you eat and when: It may be helpful to track your habits. You should note where you are and what you are doing when you snack on high-calorie foods. For instance, many people snack while watching television. Or do you skip breakfast and then eat a large lunch? Identifying your eating patterns can help you overcome the situations in which you overeat.
Replace high-calorie, high-fat snacks with fresh fruits, air-popped popcorn (without salt or butter), or unsalted pretzels. If there is no time for breakfast, take a low-fat muffin, a bagel (without cream cheese), or cereal along to eat at work. This will reduce the craving for a large lunch.
Exercise or increase physical activity
Physical activity burns calories, helps you lose weight, and reduces stress.
Physical activity reduces total cholesterol, raises the good (HDL) cholesterol, and reduces the risk of heart disease.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise every other day for cardiovascular fitness. The Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
Physical activity doesn't have to mean running a marathon. House cleaning or playing golf or baseball can burn as many as 300 calories per hour; brisk walking (at 3.5 mph), cycling (at 5.5 mph), gardening, dancing, or playing basketball burns as many as 450 calories per hour; jogging (9 min/mile), playing football, or swimming can burn as many as 730 calories per hour; and running (7 min/mile), racquetball, or skiing can burn as many as 920 calories per hour.
Fit physical exercise into your daily routine
Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Get off the bus 1 or 2 stops early and walk the rest of the way.
Park farther away from the store or office.
Ride a bike.
Work in the yard or garden.
Wash the car the old-fashioned way.
General tips for controlling blood pressure include the following:
Reduce sodium (salt) intake.
Limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks a day.
Take medicines as directed.
Medication is an important part of blood pressure control for almost everybody with high blood pressure. Many people cannot keep their blood pressure in the healthy range by lifestyle changes alone.
Only 21% of people with high blood pressure are on blood pressure medicines and have their pressure adequately controlled.
At least 16% of people with high blood pressure are not on any medication.
Approximately 28% are taking medicines incorrectly, and their blood pressure is uncontrolled.
Therefore, the biggest challenge in the treatment of high blood pressure is taking the medication correctly.
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