There is no cure for high blood pressure, however, it can be controlled after prompt diagnosis through diet, modification of life style, and medication, if necessary .
Since prevention and cure of high blood pressure are essentially the same, the measures listed above under “Prevention” are applicable to treatment as well.
That is, you should stop smoking, lose weight if necessary, decrease the amount of sodium/salt, cholesterol, and saturated fat in your diet, reduce stress; and exercise regularly.
In mild high blood pressure, this may be all the treatment that is needed. In other cases, however, medication to lower blood pressure may be necessary in addition to these measures. There are several major categories of medication to control high blood pressure.
The most commonly used are diuretics (water pills). Diuretics help the kidneys to get rid of salt as well as water which decrease the blood volume in the body and lower the blood pressure to a desirable level. However, some diuretic medications promote loss of potassium, and supplements may need to be taken as prescribed by a health care practitioner.
Examples of diuretics: Lasix, Hygroton, Esidrex, Dyrenium, Aldactone, Dyazide.
The second group of medications acts directly on the blood vessels by opening up the narrowed arterioles (small arteries). Example: apresoline (hydralazine).
The third group acts on the nervous system by relaxing the tightened and narrowed arteries and arterioles, thus allowing the blood to flow more easily. Examples: Aldomet, Minipress, Catapres (cloth dine).
The fourth group decreases the work of the heart by blocking the body’s response to adrenalin, thus lowering blood pressure. Examples: Inderal, Lopressor.
All the medications that are used to control high blood pressure should be taken regularly under the supervision of a health care practitioner. The thought of taking medication for an extended period of time, possibly for the rest of one’s life, may not be particularly appealing.
However, we are fortunate that high blood pressure can be controlled through treatment. The benefits of control (decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, increased life expectancy) are too great to ignore. Medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause side effects.
Some of these are minor and may decrease with time; others may be more unpleasant. It is important to be aware of the side effects of the particular medication you are taking so that you may report their occurrence to your health care practitioner.
If side effects occur, or if treatment is not successful, your practitioner may try several different medications or combinations of medications to find what works best for you. It is not wise to skip, stop, or increase your medication unless told to do so by your health professional.
If stopped abruptly, some medications may cause serious side effects such as a very rapid rise in