High blood pressure is very treatable. At Mount Sinai Heart, the goal of treatment is not simply to lower blood pressure but to prevent additional health issues. We treat high blood pressure with lifestyle changes and, when necessary, medication.
If you have hypertension, changes, large or small, to your lifestyle may help your lower blood pressure. These include:
- Maintaining normal body weight
- Reducing dietary sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day
- Engaging in regular aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking (at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week)
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Consuming a diet rich in fruit and vegetables
- Not smoking
- Managing your stress
Lifestyle changes alone may not lower your blood pressure to the desired levels and you may need to take medication.
If your cardiologist believes your lifestyle modifications have not done enough to lower your HBP, they will consider putting you on blood pressure medication(s). These medications may include:
- Angiotensin receptor blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors help relax blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.
- Diuretics (sometimes called water pills) rid the body of excess fluids and sodium.
- Beta-blockers lower the heart rate.
- Calcium channel blockers reduce the heart rate and relax the blood vessels.
- Vasodilator drugs can relax the arterial wall muscles and widen the arteries.
- ACE inhibitors reduce arterial constriction.
- Antihypertension medication treats your high blood pressure but doesn't cure it. As soon as you stop taking the medicine, your blood pressure will go up again.
Most medications have potential side effects, including dizziness, headaches, fatigue, rashes, coughing, and blurred vision. At Mount Sinai Heart, we believe that treatment is a joint effort between you and your doctor. If you experience any side effects from your medication, you should discuss with your doctor, who may experiment with different types of medications to determine the one that works best and has the fewest side effects.