You should have your blood pressure regularly checked by your doctor. Your doctor will tell you how often you need it checked.
You may want to consider a home blood pressure monitor as well. Bring the readings to your doctor when you go for your visits.
Lifestyle changes can help bring your blood pressure down. This includes regular exercise, including weight loss if you are overweight. You should follow a low fat diet rich in fish, chicken, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and eat lower amounts of red meat and salt.
Do not smoke. If you have diabetes, make sure you keep your blood sugars under control.
Many different medicines are used to control blood pressure. Some of them are listed below.
- Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Calcium channel blockers
- Direct renin inhibitors, including aliskiren (Tekturna)
Most people need two or more medications to control blood pressure.
Essential hypertension is controllable with proper treatment. It requires lifelong monitoring, and treatment may require periodic adjustments.
Untreated hypertension can lead to:
- Blood vessel damage (atherosclerosis)
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attacks and other heart damage
- Loss of vision
- Kidney damage
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Even if you have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is important to have your blood pressure checked at annual exams, especially if you have a history of high blood pressure in your family.
If you have high blood pressure, you will have regularly scheduled appointments with your doctor.
In between appointments, if you have any of the following symptoms call your health care provider right away:
- Severe headache
- Excessive tiredness
- Visual changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Significant sweating
Review Date : 6/4/2007
Reviewed By : Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Private practice specializing in Cardiovascular Disease,Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.