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How is high blood pressure (hypertension) managed?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The first step in managing your hypertension is to know your blood pressure levels. There are monitoring devices you can use at home. If your doctor prescribes medication, make sure to take it exactly as directed. Eating a healthy diet and exercising are also a part of controlling your hypertension.

Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

High blood pressure may be managed with a combination of medications that help improve blood flow, as well as a healthy diet such as the DASH Diet. Dash stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet is high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and low fat diary. The DASH diet has been shown in research to help lower blood pressure with or without medication.

About 75 million adults in the United States (1 in 3 adults) have high blood pressure, but a quarter of these people don't know they have the condition. There are a number of self-care techniques you can use to manage your high blood pressure, including losing weight, exercising regularly, increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods, avoiding salt if you are salt sensitive and practicing relaxation techniques. Your doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure regularly at home using a blood pressure monitoring device. Your doctor may also prescribe medication, such as an ACE inhibitor or beta blocker, to lower your high blood pressure.

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

There are many ways to manage hypertension. Since it sometimes has no symptoms, you need to check your pressure regularly. You need to be under the care of a physician who will determine if you need medication and a low sodium diet. Once those are determined and no underlying other causes are found, eating a healthy plant based diet and regular exercise are recommended.

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Blood pressure is often associated with sodium intake for many people. If this is the case for you, a low sodium diet is recommended (1500 mg/day). Please speak with your dietitian to figure out how to implement this into your lifestyle.

Dr. Teneisha C. Davis, MD
Family Practitioner

Hypertension is managed by two methods, lifestyle modifications and medications. Sometimes patients are able to lower their blood pressures with lifestyles changes, but most patients need medication in addition to the latter to help lower their blood pressures.

Lifestyle modifications include: reducing the amount of salt in one's diet; losing weight if someone is overweight or obese; avoiding drinking alcohol in excess; smoking cessation; and exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes per day most days of the week.

If lifestyle changes are not enough a patient may be placed on anti-hypertensive medications to help lower their blood pressure.

Lona Sandon
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Managing blood pressure typically requires a combination of strategies: lifestyle, diet, and medication. Adopting a DASH diet is just one piece of the puzzle to help manage your blood pressure. The DASH diet is a way of eating that helps you increase the nutrients you need for a healthy blood pressure while lowering the nutrients you need less of. It may even help you lose weight which also helps lower blood pressure. You can get started on the DASH diet by visiting this website: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/introduction.html. A registered dietitian can also help you create a DASH diet plan just for you. To find a registered dietitian, visit www.eatright.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.