Treatment Options for Hypertension

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  • Most people receive a prescription for blood pressure medicine when they’re first diagnosed with hypertension. These drugs work in various ways, from helping your body eliminate excess fluids that increase your blood pressure to directly relaxing arteries so your pressure comes down. Your doctor will choose the best drug or combination of medicines for your needs. 

    Take the medicine as directed, and consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking supplements or over-the-counter cold medications, as these can adversely interact with your blood pressure pills.

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    Blood Pressure Medication
    Pills in hand

    Most people receive a prescription for blood pressure medicine when they’re first diagnosed with hypertension. These drugs work in various ways, from helping your body eliminate excess fluids that increase your blood pressure to directly relaxing arteries so your pressure comes down. Your doctor will choose the best drug or combination of medicines for your needs. 

    Take the medicine as directed, and consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking supplements or over-the-counter cold medications, as these can adversely interact with your blood pressure pills.

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    Sodium Reduction
    Salt

    Sodium (salt) causes cells to retain water, which increases blood volume. Your heart must beat very forcefully to pump that excessive volume of blood through your arteries, which results in hypertension. By reducing the amount of sodium you consume, you reduce the volume of blood your heart must pump—and your blood pressure goes down. Eliminating table salt is a good first step, but also watch for sodium in processed foods, snack items, and even some beverages, such as sports drinks.

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    Blood Pressure Monitoring at Home
    Senior man controlling his blood pressure at home

    Regularly measuring your blood pressure represents a key element of hypertension treatment at home. Monitoring your blood pressure helps ensure your pressure doesn’t drop too low or rise too high. If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, buy a blood pressure monitoring device for home use and keep a log of your readings. Your doctor can tell you when to check it (such as before or after you’ve taken your medicine) and how often (usually once a day). 

    Checking your pressure regularly allows you to see the good progress you’re achieving from your lifestyle efforts too.

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    Weight Loss
    Man exercising

    Being overweight can cause blood pressure to rise, and a large girth (waist circumference) can contribute to hypertension. Losing weight and reducing your girth can help bring down your blood pressure. You may even be able to discontinue your blood pressure medicine eventually. You can lose weight by following a heart-healthy eating plan like the DASH diet or by choosing a commercial weight-loss plan (as long as your doctor approves it). Losing weight is one of the best natural remedies available for hypertension.

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    Caffeine Reduction
    hand-holding-cup-of-coffee

    Caffeine constricts blood vessels, which can raise blood pressure, so reducing your caffeine intake can produce a favorable effect on hypertension. If you hate the thought of giving up your morning coffee, good news: You may not need to eliminate caffeine entirely to see blood pressure benefits. Try reducing the amount of caffeine you consume daily by limiting the number of hours you drink it. For instance, choose a caffeinated beverage in the morning but decaffeinated for the rest of the day. Reducing your caffeine consumption might help you sleep better too.

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    Self-Care for Stress Reduction
    Older Caucasian woman meditating on couch in living room

    One great, natural way to treat blood pressure at home is by engaging in regular self-care to reduce your stress levels. Acute stress can cause blood pressure to spike, and chronic stress can keep your pressure elevated day after day. Practice self-care like meditation, yoga, massage, hot baths or aromatherapy to reduce your stress, slow your heart rate, and bring your blood pressure down. Your quality of life will soar too.

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    Physical Activity
    smiling-woman-in-swimming-pool

    Increasing your physical activity level offers a fun way to treat high blood pressure at home. If the idea of exercise turns you off, think about activities instead. Chasing your kids (or your grandkids or your dog) around a park, riding a bike through your neighborhood, taking long walks in the fresh air and other pleasurable activities all count as exercise. Sore knees? Try swimming instead. Find something you like, and then do it regularly. Exercise not only helps your heart beat more efficiently, but it reduces your stress level, providing a positive double-whammy for blood pressure reduction.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2019 Dec 18
  1. High Blood Pressure. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/highbloodpressure.html
  2. How to Prevent High Blood Pressure. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventhighbloodpressure.html
  3. DASH Eating Plan. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventhighbloodpressure.html
  4. Hypertension Guideline Resources. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/high-blood-pressure-toolkit-resources
  5. High Blood Pressure – Medicines to Help You. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/free-publications-women/high-blood-pressure-medicines-help-you
  6. 10 Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974
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