If you have been diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure, it is important that you set achievable goals to reduce your blood pressure, and then take the necessary steps to achieve that goal.
Patients need to understand that achieving the target blood pressure takes a number of steps to be taken and after each step is completed, you need to talk to your doctor and determine if you are reaching your “target” blood pressure without significant side effects.
Treating your hypertension also depends on the stage of your blood pressure. It depends on your systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- Stage 1 hypertension: systolic 140 – 159 mmHg. OR diastolic 90 – 99 mmHg
- Stage 2 hypertension: systolic greater than 159 mmHg. Or Diastolic greater than 99 mmHg.
If your hypertension is relatively mild in nature, the doctor will begin treatment by prescribing some lifesytlye changes. Lifestyle changes which can lead to reduction of your blood pressure include:
- Adopting a diet for hypertension
- Adopting salt restriction
- Adopting a regular exercise program
- Quitting smoking
If you have adopted all these lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, and regular exercise and your blood pressure still does not reduce, your doctor will recommend drugs for treating hypertension.
If you have Stage 1 hypertension then the doctor will consider using a monotherapy or a single drug to reduce your hypertension. If you have Stage 2 hypertension, single drug therapy rarely is effective enough, and your doctor may want to begin right away with a combination of drugs.
If single drug therapy is chosen, it appears best to begin with either a long-acting calcium blocker, or an ACE inhibitor. Young patients often respond well to ACE inhibitors, elderly patients tend to do better with thiazide diuretics or calcium channel blockers.