You’ve had your blood pressure checked countless times, but this time, instead of getting a thumbs-up from the nurse, the results point to hypertension (high blood pressure).
Though many people have high blood pressure, not everyone knows what to do after they’re given an initial diagnosis.
So, because this is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, our providers at Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care thought this would be a good time to explain what you should do if you’re told you have high blood pressure.
Understand what it means for your overall health
Whether you just found out that you have a mild case of elevated blood pressure or you slipped through the cracks and now have a case of Stage 2 hypertension, it’s important to understand the potential complications.
High blood pressure, left unchecked, can cause dangerous, long-term health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease/failure
- Vision loss
- Metabolic syndrome
It can also lead to cognitive problems, such as memory loss or dementia in the most severe cases. Consequently, it's important to not ignore a hypertension diagnosis. So, find out all about your condition, including the stage you’re in, and team up with our providers to get your health back on track.
Get to know your treatment options
High blood pressure is a serious health problem, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Depending on how high your blood pressure is, there are many ways to bring it back down to normal.
The first thing you should do is check your blood pressure regularly to know what your average levels are. You can do that easily by investing in an at-home monitor or by heading to your local pharmacy, where they may do it for free.
With a clear understanding of where you’re at, you and our team can start making plans for treatment. We address high blood pressure in a couple of ways, namely lifestyle changes and medication.
Lifestyle changes for high blood pressure
When it comes to reducing blood pressure, we often recommend the following:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Avoiding processed foods, which are usually high in sodium
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Getting at least 2.5 hours of physical activity every week
- Eliminating all tobacco use and limiting alcohol consumption
- Managing stress
- Getting good sleep
We also recommend following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which encourages eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts.
Medications for high blood pressure
Depending on your needs, we may prescribe blood pressure medication in addition to lifestyle changes as part of your treatment plan. There are many types of blood pressure medications, and you may need to try a few different ones until you find the right one for you.
Some of the most common medications include:
- Diuretics to flush out excess sodium and water
- Beta-blockers to bring down your heart rate
- ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors to relax your blood vessels
- Blood vessel dilators to encourage blood flow
If you’ve found out that you have high blood pressure and want a team by your side to help you get it down, or if you want to see if you have high blood pressure, we can help. To learn more, call 214-550-0911 or book an appointment online with Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care today.