Knowing how to treat high blood pressure is not easy, but it is very possible to maintain. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Hypertension, a silent killer, is defined as a persistent systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher and a persistent diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher. The cause is unknown and often has no symptoms. Once diagnosed and maintained early, the prognosis is usually good. Compliance and good communication with your doctor is very important in the process. Here are some of the ways to treat high blood pressure.
Step 1. Lifestyle modification is always prescribed by the doctor as the first line of treatment. The goal is to try conservative measures to reduce blood pressure first before starting any medication. Changing your lifestyle will not only help your blood pressure to go down, but it will also help keep other organs healthy and functioning. Examples of lifestyle modification are:
- Weight reduction- initiate a regular exercise program to promote good blood circulation in the body.
- Smoking cessation- nicotine constricts blood vessels and raise blood pressure.
- Moderate alcohol consumption- excessive alcohol consumption will increase heart work load.
- Relaxation techniques- help decrease heart work load.
- Healthy diet- avoid food high in sodium and fats.
Step 2. Medications are initiated if lifestyle modification treatment is not effectively decreasing blood pressure or if the patient's blood pressure is very high during the initial doctor's visit. Medication is used to maintain blood pressure using the smallest number of the safest drug at the lowest effective dose. Below are few of the most popular type of drugs for high blood pressure:
- Diuretics (Lasix, Hydrochlorothiazide)- decrease blood pressure by reducing fluid volume in the body through urination.
- Beta blockers (Lopressor, Inderal)- decrease blood pressure by inhibiting epinephrine and norepinephrine from stimulating the heart, causing a reduction in the heart rate and a reduced force of myocardial contraction.
- Calcium antagonist (Cardizem, Procardia)- block movement of calcium into cardiac and vascular smooth muscle cells resulting in decreased heart rate and blood vessel dilation.
- ACE inhibitor- prevent conversion of Angtiotensin to Angiotensin II (a powerful vessel constrictor enzyme) causing vessel dilation and decrease vessel pressure
Approximately 60 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure and almost half of them do not know that they have it. It's not easy to treat but if diagnosed early with the knowledge of how to treat high blood pressure, life can go on despite it.
4th Edition Medical-Surgical Nursing by Linton 2007