Treatments For Hypertension
• What Is The Treatment For High Blood Pressure?
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|What Is The Treatment For High Blood Pressure?
People with prehypertension or those newly diagnosed with hypertension are now being advised to make lifestyle changes to lower their blood pressure. For many people the results of losing weight, exercising and following a healthy diet can reduce blood pressure levels without the need to resort to medications. It is only if lifestyle modifications do not lower your blood pressure that drugs will be prescribed (unless you have severe hypertension, known as stage 2). When you receive a hypertension diagnosis your doctor will set a target blood pressure reading for you to achieve and will determine how you should reach it. During the consultation always be honest about your current eating, smoking and drinking habits, and be sure to list all the medications and supplements you are taking. The more he knows about your lifestyle the easier it will be to identify the problem areas and to put together an effective plan. Your doctor may also need to assess if there is any damage to your arteries or heart and he could recommend heart disease testing to do this. He will also need to take into account any other conditions you may have, like diabetes, which could affect your treatment plan. If your doctor tells you that you have secondary hypertension, this means your high blood pressure is caused by another health condition such as kidney disease or sleep apnea. You will need to be treated for the underlying condition, which if controlled, can cure the hypertension. These cases are not particularly common.
If you receive the all-clear from your doctor (congratulations!), you will be told to come back in 2 years for another blood pressure (bp) checkup. If there is a history of hypertension in your family, your doctor may recommend an annual checkup. Your doctor should discuss lifestyle changes for longterm high blood pressure prevention.
If your doctor says you have borderline high bp (also known as prehypertension) but you have no known complications, it is possible to lower your bp to a healthy level (less than 120/80 mm Hg) within one year with lifestyle changes alone. You will be assessed within 6 months for signs of improvement or deterioration.
If you have stage 1 or 2 hypertension, without damage to the heart or any other organ, the goal will be to reduce your bp levels to prehypertension levels. Doctors usually find that patients need to combine lifestyle improvements with at least one medication to achieve this. If you have stage 1 hypertension, a progressive doctor will first suggest trying lifestyle modifications and if after 3 months there are no improvements in your readings, diuretics or other drugs will probably be prescribed. If you are stage 2, you will definitely need one or more type of drug to control your bp levels immediately. If you have stage 1 or 2 with another condition - for example you have high risk factors for heart disease or you already had a heart attack - then you may also be given additional medications to improve these conditions. The goal with both stages is to lower your bp to 130/80 mm Hg. No matter what your circumstances, age or health status, the only way to reach your goal is to stick with your treatment plan.
Weight Reduction: If you are overweight or obese you will be given a weight loss goal. Losing weight alone is often enough to reduce bp levels to a healthy level.
If lifestyle adjustments do not work, or if your hypertension is severe, you will be prescribed blood pressure drugs called antihypertensives. Among the most effective are diuretics (water pills), calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitor meds, beta blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Although all these drugs control bp levels very well, only beta blockers and ACE inhibitors have been proven to help prevent blood-pressure-related deaths from a heart attack. Just which drug you take will depend on your overall health. Some need to be taken more frequently while others have potential side effects. As most people experience no symptoms of hypertension, it is tempting to stop taking the medications after a while. However, if you do so without the advice of your doctor, your bp level is likely to rise putting your health in danger. Another point worth mentioning is that medications (even if taken faithfully) can be less effective in women who smoke or who are obese. In other words, you can't rely on drugs alone, you still have to make those lifestyle changes!
Scientists in Australia have discovered that zapping the nerves surrounding the kidneys with radio waves appears to reduce blood pressure in people whose condition does not respond to medications. It is thought that the particular nerves in question are switched on in hypertensive patients which makes them more prone to salt and water retention, one of the causes of high blood pressure. One trial using the procedure involved 106 patients with systolic blood pressure over 160 mm Hg (normal levels are less than 120 mm Hg). After 6 months, 84 percent of the patients zapped found that their systolic levels had fallen by at least 10 mm Hg. This reduced their overall stroke risk factors by more than 30 percent. The therapy is still in the study phase but is expected to be rolled out in Europe shortly.
Renin Inhibitor Aliskiren (Tekturna)
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