What to Do If Blood Pressure Is High?

When your blood pressure raises higher than normal, this can be harmful to the blood flow of your cardiovascular system if left untreated. If your blood flow is affected or doesn’t run as well as it should, this will have an effect to the nutrients and oxygen supply to the cells /tissues of your body because blood carries oxygen and nutrients from one location to other sites of the body. So, it is important to control the blood pressure at its normal levels. But when it is high or even too high, what you should do to restore it back to normal?

What is the target?

Before starting your plan, you need to know the goal of your treatment. In general, the goal is purposed to restore the blood pressure back at its normal or healthy levels.

Since most cases of hypertension (a medical condition to call high blood pressure) is closely associated with diet and lifestyles), once it backs to normal, this doesn’t mean you can ignore it. Still, appropriate lifestyle approaches are required to help keep it off in long term.

Even if you develop secondary hypertension (a kind of hypertension that is typically caused by certain health condition such as kidneys disease), your diet and lifestyles also have an effect. Therefore, lifestyles approaches are always required to treat all types of hypertension.

Then, how about with your target? How far you should decrease the level of your high blood pressure?

Normal blood pressure is around 120 mm Hg for systolic pressure and 80 mm Hg for diastolic pressure – or we can say 120 /80 mm Hg. But some experts recommend keeping lower than 115 /75 mm Hg for best result in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

When you take a test with a pressure-measuring gauge & an inflatable arm cuff to measure your blood pressure level, there are two different numbers you will find – the top and bottom numbers. The top number is medically called as systolic number. Then for bottom number is called diastolic.

What do the top (systolic) and bottom (diastolic) numbers of blood pressure mean?

Systolic or top number that you get from a blood pressure monitor describes the pressure inside the blood vessels (especially your arteries) when your heart beats (when pumping the blood). Therefore, it has higher number than diastolic number.

And for diastolic /bottom number, it describes the pressure inside your arteries when you heart is not beating (between beats). In general, systolic and diastolic pressure is given in mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).

In general, the range of blood pressure is categorized into 4 major groups: level II and I hypertension, pre-hypertension, and normal.

Level II of hypertension

This level is the most dangerous level than others. You can have it if your systolic pressure is higher than 160 mm Hg – and higher than 110 mm Hg for diastolic pressure.

Having level II of hypertension can be a warning signal of serious health condition and must be treated promptly. Typically, lifestyle approaches alone may be not enough – medical intervention is often involved for this stage.

Level I of hypertension

Your blood pressure is categorized into level I of hypertension if your systolic pressure ranges from 140 mm Hg to 159 mm Hg. And from 90 mm Hg to 99 mm Hg for diastolic pressure!

Pre-hypertension

This category is the level between normal and level I of hypertension. It is a condition when your systolic pressure is about 120 – 139 mm Hg, and about 80 – 89 mm Hg for diastolic pressure.

Normal level

As mentioned before, the good /normal levels of systolic pressure are about 120-115 mm Hg or lower. And about 80 – 75 mm Hg or lower for diastolic pressure!

What to do to stop and lower high blood pressure?

If you develop secondary hypertension, lifestyle approaches or home remedies alone are not enough. Secondary hypertension is usually caused by certain health problem like kidneys problem.

In this type, lifestyle approaches also have an effect – but the contribution of certain health condition that triggers the problem has more contribution. Therefore, it often requires medical intervention along with other lifestyle approaches.

On the other hand, most cases of hypertension are essential hypertension (this type is closely influenced by diet and lifestyle factors).

In many cases, essential hypertension can be successfully treated with lifestyle approaches. Nevertheless, due to certain conditions – sometime doctor may also prescribe certain medicine for people with essential hypertension.

The treatment with medical intervention

While your blood pressure is close to the stage of pre-hypertension, the use of some appropriate lifestyle approaches may be enough. But when it is too high (level I and level II hypertension), you need to make it back to normal as soon as possible and therefore medical intervention is usually needed for this case.

But sometimes due to certain reasons, doctor can prescribe hypertension medicines for any stages of hypertension. Below are some common medicines for hypertension (the use of the following medicines should be prescribed by your GP or doctor).

  1. Diuretics. This medicine can help kidneys in removing water and sodium (salt) from the body. The decreased salt can be significantly helpful to lower blood pressure. Diuretics are usually the first line of medicine prescribed by doctor to treat hypertension. Lozol, Dyrenium, Hygroton and Thalitone are some examples of diuretics for hypertension.
  2. Beta blockers. This kind of medicine can help decrease the heartbeats of the heart. The decreased heartbeats can help prevent the heart from pumping so hard and eventually will help decrease the pressure inside the arteries. Tenormin, Inderal, Cartrol, and Blocadren are some examples of beta blockers for hypertension.
  3. ACE inhibitors. They can help prevent the body in making hormone called angiotensin II. This hormone can trigger the body to tighten the blood vessels. If this hormone can be reduced, it can help relax the blood vessels. Monopril, Capoten, Univasc, Prinivil and Zestril are some examples of ACE inhibitors.
  4. Alpha-blockers. They work almost similar to ACE inhibitors. They can help decrease the nerve impulses that ask the blood vessels to tighten. As a result, the use of this medicine also can help make the vessels remain relaxed. Minipress, Hytrin, and Cardura are some common examples of alpha-blockers used to treat hypertension.
  5. Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs) or also often called as ‘calcium antagonist’. These include Sular, Norvasc, Plendil, DynaCirc, Cardene, and Adalat. As the name suggests, CCBs can help prevent Ca (calcium) from getting into the cells of the muscles in the blood vessels and heart. Overall, they can help slow the heart rates.
  6. ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers). They are another choice to help make the arteries remain relaxed. Teveten, Diovan, Avapro, and Atacand are some examples of ARBs for high blood pressure.
  7. Other medicines that can be prescribed may include direct vasodilators, direct renin inhibitors, and peripheral-acting adrenergic blockers – these medicines have the same goal to make the artery walls remain relaxed – and central agonists (a medicine that uses and targets the brain’s receptors to lower high blood pressure).

How your GP /doctor make a decision of which one of those medicines that work best? In general, the decision is dependent on the following factors:

  1. The key of reason ‘cause’ behind your hypertension.
  2. The level of your high blood pressure – whether it is pre-hypertension, level I or level II hypertension!
  3. The respond of your body to different medicines.

Moreover, if you have other certain health conditions, this factor may have an effect in determining the decision.

Stress management

Though it’s still not clear for the answer of how stress affects and increases the blood pressure, but many studies have confirmed that uncontrolled stress is linked with higher risk of heart disease, heart-beats problem, and hypertension.

Sometime stress can be inevitable condition – you may not be able to prevent it, but you can control it. Learn more on how to control and manage stress in here!

DASH diet

DASH diet (the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is typically low in salt, saturated fats, and cholesterol – but high in fiber and eating more whole foods instead of processed foods.

Therefore it can be combined with TLC diet (a diet that is specially designed to help lower cholesterol). Since lack of vitamin D and potassium may worsen hypertension, you should also get plenty of these essential substances in the diet.

For more detailed information about foods you should ‘eat more’ and ‘restrict’ to lower cholesterol and treat hypertension, here is helpful guide!

Keep active to get plenty of physical activity

Becoming inactive individual can be bad for your cardiovascular system. Therefore, it’s important to have regular exercise – even if you don’t have hypertension. Regular exercise can help lower your LDL (bad cholesterol – having high LDL is linked with hypertension) and stabilize your heart-rates.

Furthermore, regular exercise is also vital to help maintain your weight. If you are overweight or obese, this can worsen the problem of your hypertension or increase your risk of hypertension.

If you are older than 30, your exercise is not enough with only cardio exercises – strength training is needed to help your weight control.

Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid smoking!

Many studies found that the habit of drinking alcohol too much can have contribution in increasing blood pressure and cholesterol. For this reason, it’s important to drink it moderately (not more than one drink /day for women – and not more than 2 drinks for men).

How about cigarette smoking? We know well that it can be bad for your entire health – even second hand smoke also has bad effect to your health. Tobacco not only has contribution in immediately increasing your blood pressure, but it also can hurt the blood vessel walls and this can increase your risk of getting atherosclerosis.

So if you are a smoker, quitting can be very helpful to treat your hypertension.

Are there any supplements that work?

There are some supplements that are thought can help, below are some reviews of these supplements:

  1. Amino acids supplement. A study found that it may help lower blood pressure – but only for a short period of time.
  2. CoQ10 or Coenzyme Q10. According to WebMD, it may help for people with mild hypertension (pre-hypertension).
  3. Omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies reported that both DHA and EPA have a positive effect in helping to treat mild hypertension. But there are also other studies that showed nothing. Overall, the issue of the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids to treat hypertension is still debatable.

How about acupuncture – does it help?

Some studies found that acupuncture has a positive effect in treating hypertension – but it’s still not clear how much it help!

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