High blood pressure is known as a silent killer; though it is a serious ailment it is often asymptomatic. You may have nothing except an occasional headache, which could be attributed to different causes. It is only through a check-up that you can find out if you have high blood pressure. Once you have been diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure, the aim of the treatment is to control the blood pressure and bring it within normal limits.
If your blood pressure is slightly high
Firstly, unless you have extremely high blood pressure, the doctor will simply check your blood pressure a few times (or ask you to do so) at different times of day, since normal readings vary a great deal during the day and night. If your blood pressure is just on the higher side of normal or slightly high, your physician may advise you to change your diet, reduce salt, include exercise and also lose weight if you are overweight. These simple lifestyle changes may be sufficient to reduce your blood pressure. You will have to try to follow the doctor’s recommendations and see if these help you to control your hypertension.
If your blood pressure is high
Your physician will advise you to take some medicines to reduce your blood pressure. The dosage and timings of the medicines is crucial, so you must follow the prescription. Among the medicines (these may be in different combinations) are:
- Beta blockers – these reduce the pumping force and action of the heart and so reduce blood pressure.
- ACE inhibitors – these prevent the blood vessels from narrowing, thus ensuring freer flow of blood.
- ARBS – these help relax the blood vessels, making them wider and improving blood flow.
- CCBS – these also relax the blood vessels.
- Vasodilators – these dilate the blood vessels and so reduce blood pressure.
- Nervous system blockers – these block messages from the nerves and help relax blood vessels, reducing blood pressure.
- Diuretics – these increase urine output which helps excrete more sodium from the body. They also decrease the blood volume and both actions reduce blood pressure.
The combination of medicines that are prescribed will depend on your general health, blood pressure readings and your medical history. Additionally you will be monitored and dosage and medicines may be changed till blood pressure is under control.
How you can help yourself
You can control your high blood pressure with medicines, but lifestyle changes also help a great deal as they improve overall health and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and other ailments. It is vital that you include exercise, particularly if you are sedentary. You should also make the required dietary changes, reduce or eliminate salt, alcohol and tobacco consumption and decrease stress in your life. It is not difficult to control your high blood pressure by making these changes and you will be rewarded by reduced hypertension related health risks, greater medicine efficacy and better health.