Guest Author - Dr. Denise Howard
There are two categories of hypertension or high blood pressure: benign essential and secondary hypertension. Treatment for secondary hypertension is dependent on the underlying cause. Benign essential hypertension is treated with lifestyle changes and medications. Medicines are designed to control the blood pressure with minimal side effects.
Life style changes are effective in treating mild hypertension and helpful in managing high blood pressure in those who also require medication. Significant weight loss in an obese individual can result in normalization of the blood pressure. In many cases, an individual can come off blood pressure medications. Salt restriction is an important aspect of blood pressure control and restricting the amount of salt in the diet can help lower blood pressure. Regular aerobic exercise is effective in blood pressure control and is beneficial in the prevention of other medical problems. In addition to exercise, dietary changes can control or prevent hypercholesterolemia and diabetes. All of these changes are beneficial in decreasing the risk of heart disease.
There are many medications available with varying cost, effects, and side effects. The medications fall into different categories. Commonly used medications include Diuretics (such as hydrochlorthiazide), Beta blockers (such as atenolol and labetolol), Calcium channel blockers (such as verapamil and diltiazem), and ACE inhibitors (such as Captopril and Lisinopril). Sometimes combination treatment is required to control the blood pressure and this entails the use of medicines from the different categories.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, then take this as a warning. It is time to get serious about your health. Examine your diet, exercise habits and compliance with recommend health checks. See your physician on a regular basis and be compliant with your medication. If you are having problems with the medication, donít just stop it but discuss the issue with your doctor. Seek the advise of a nutritionist and/or read more about proper dieting for you. Start a regular exercise program, which should include 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise 4-5 times per week. If you are overweight or obese, set a goal for weight loss and make sure your plan is realistic. Developing a good eating habits and a regular exercise regimen takes time.
Those who have hypertension are at risk of developing heart failure, heart attack and stroke. The risks of these events are increased if you also have elevated lipids and diabetes. If you have these conditions then controlling them all is crucial to prevent heart disease and other complications. We all must die of something but the goal is to maintain the quality of life. Controlling hypertension allows you to achieve this goal.
I hope this article has provided you with information that will help you make wise choices, so you may:
Live healthy, live well and live long!