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To control your blood pressure, you can do the following:
- Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active.
- Follow a heart-healthy eating plan, which includes low-sodium foods.
- Stop smoking, or never start smoking.
- Measure and write down your blood pressure reading between doctor visits. This can be done at home, at a grocery store or at a pharmacy kiosk.
- Use mobile phone applications or e-mail to keep your doctor informed of your blood pressure reading.
- Take medicine you have been prescribed each day and follow the directions on the bottle.
- If your blood pressure is still not under control or if you have side effects, talk to your doctor.
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Dietary and lifestyle changes may help you control high blood pressure. If you have mild hypertension, you may be able to lower your blood pressure by reducing the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet, reducing fat intake, eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy (the DASH diet) and reducing alcohol consumption. If you are overweight, losing weight may reduce your blood pressure. Increasing your physical activity, even if you don't lose weight, can also reduce blood pressure. Additionally, relaxation practices like meditation can help.
For some people, lifestyle changes aren't enough to lower blood pressure. Luckily, high blood pressure can be treated very successfully with long-term medication. Commonly prescribed drugs include diuretics, beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), direct renin inhibitors (DRIs), calcium channel blockers (CCBs), vasodilators, alpha-beta blockers, central-acting agents and alpha blockers. Because there is no cure for most hypertension cases, treatment generally must be carried out for life to prevent blood pressure from rising again. Many of these drugs are also available to treat isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
A recent study suggests that frequent monitoring of your blood pressure can help keep it under control. Find out more about the importance of controlling blood pressure by watching this video featuring Dr. Robin Miller.
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.