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 Dr. George Jacob
Heart Infocenter

Holistic-online.com

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Conventional Treatments for Hypertension

Many doctors tend to treat hypertension with drugs. However, National Institutes of Health suggest that physicians carefully weigh treatment options, taking into consideration many factors, including the patient's age, race and presence of other disorders and come with a stepped approach.

The objective is to reduce and maintain a blood pressure level below 140/90 and lower for people with other conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.

Step 1

Adopting healthy lifestyle habits is an effective first step in both preventing and controlling high blood pressure. These consist of:

Lifestyle changes can prevent and control high blood pressure. These include losing weight if overweight (losing 10 lbs can help), increasing physical activity (walking 30 minutes per day can help), following a healthy eating plan, that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium, and if you drink alcoholic beverages, drinking in moderation.

"Let's start with the easy part. If your diastolic pressure is consistently more than 105, there's no question about it: You should be taking medication to lower your blood pressure. But only 20 percent of all cases are this clear-cut. Most people with hypertension have a diastolic blood pressure between 90 and 104 , and whether or not to prescribe drugs or to try other nonmedical alternatives is very much a judgment call on the part of the physician." Let's start with the easy part. If your diastolic pressure is consistently more than 105, there's no question about it: You should be taking medication to lower your blood pressure. But only 20 percent of all cases are this clear-cut. Most people with hypertension have a diastolic blood pressure between 90 and 104 , and whether or not to prescribe drugs or to try other nonmedical alternatives is very much a judgment call on the part of the physician.

Marianne J. Legato, MD: The Female Heart


If lifestyle changes alone are not effective in keeping your pressure controlled, it may be necessary to add blood pressure medications.

Step 2:

If your blood pressure does not respond to lifestyle modifications alone, the physician will go for a combination lifestyle change and first-line antihypertensive medication therapy. (In some cases, especially when your blood pressure is already in dangerous levels, lifestyle modifications are prescribed in conjunction with an antihypertensive medication right from the start.)

Types of Blood Pressure Medications

Here are the main types of drugs used for hypertension. Often, two or more drugs work better than one.

Step 3:

Once the blood pressure is brought down to safe levels, slowly reduce the dosage of antihypertensives, and try to maintain the blood pressure with lifestyle interventions. This will minimize the side effects associated with the long term consumption of these drugs which can be severe in some cases.

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