Controlling High Blood Pressure Effectively

Controlling high blood pressure is fairly easy with the right medical care and your initiative to follow your doctor’s instructions. The hard part is learning that you have this condition, also known as hypertension. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it rarely shows any symptoms until it reaches the life-threatening stage.

The good news is that controlling high blood pressure can be achieved through medication, changes in your diet, and changes in your lifestyle. There is no “cure” for hypertension; it is a chronic condition once it takes root. However, controlling your high blood pressure will effectively reduce or even eliminate the severe complications of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

What are the Best Ways of Controlling High Blood Pressure?

First you need to consider changing the way you eat. Using too much salt in your diet for instance can cause you to retain water – a condition called “edema.” This causes a reduction in the amount of water you excrete by urination, and excessive fluid retention causes pressure on your blood vessel walls that result in hypertension.

Therefore, you should consider using a salt substitute or a combination of good-tasting seasonings. Not only will your food taste better than ever, but your hypertension will become less acute.

One of the best things you can do in controlling your high blood pressure is to lose weight. There is a definite connection between obesity and hypertension. Your physician will weigh you and make suggestions on how you can lose weight in order to help reduce your blood pressure.

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was funded by the US government and was found to be extremely effective in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. Briefly, the DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, chicken and fish protein, fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Not only will you lose weight on the DASH diet, but controlling high blood pressure will be much easier.

If you use tobacco products or have more than two alcoholic drinks per day, your physician will counsel you that you must stop smoking/chewing altogether and cut back on your alcohol use. Controlling high blood pressure just won’t be possible if you continue these two high risk lifestyle habits. If you need help to stop smoking and/or curtailing your drinking, your doctor will provide you with excellent sources of help with these issues.

Controlling high blood pressure also involves changing your sedentary lifestyle. Lack of regular exercise is a major contributor to hypertension. If you’re sitting at your desk all day and watching TV all evening, you’re not getting nearly enough exercise. You don’t need to go to the gym and pump iron; a daily walk will do very well. Swing your arms, move a little faster. Do whatever you can, whenever you can. You’ll be surprised how much effect exercise has on controlling high blood pressure.

Hypertension is often an inherited condition. When you talk with your physician about controlling your high blood pressure he/she will want to know if members of your family have a history of hypertension. You can’t do anything about your DNA, but you can take extra precautions if you have a family history of hypertension.

Finally, controlling your high blood pressure may involve medications called “antihypertensives.” There are several different types of antihypertensives; it may be a trial and error process of determining which one, and what dose, is right for you. Treating hypertension with medication should be used in conjunction with diet and lifestyle changes to be maximally effective.