High Blood Pressure - Treatment Overview
high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks or
strokes. The higher your blood pressure, the greater
your risk. Lowering blood pressure lowers the risk of
damaging blood vessels and getting atherosclerosis.
High blood pressure
usually can't be cured. But it can be
controlled. The two types of treatment for high blood pressure
- Lifestyle changes.
For most people, the goal of treatment is to get
the blood pressure below 140/90. But a person's goal may be lower. Your doctor will give you a blood pressure goal that is based on your health. For example, your goal may be lower if you have other conditions such
coronary artery disease, or
chronic kidney disease.
Treating high blood
pressure usually is a lifelong effort.
Treatment for high blood pressure
Blood pressure of 120–139 over 80–89
High blood pressure of 140–159 over 90–99
Lifestyle changes, possibly
High blood pressure of 160 over 100 or
Medicines plus lifestyle
High blood pressure plus organ damage or
other risk factors for heart disease
Medicines plus serious lifestyle changes
and treatment for the other health problems
Secondary high blood pressure
Medicines, treatment of the condition
causing your high blood pressure, or both
Treating high blood pressure with lifestyle
Your doctor may suggest that you make
one or more of the following changes:
- Lose weight. If you're overweight, losing extra pounds
may bring your blood pressure down.
- Get more active. Regular aerobic exercise can help lower blood pressure.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine
temporarily increases blood pressure and heart rate with each use.
- Cut back on drinking.
Limit alcohol to 2
drinks a day for men, 1 drink a day for women.
- Eat less sodium. To help lower blood pressure, try to eat less than 1,500 mg a day.3
- Follow the DASH diet. The DASH (Dietary
Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan can help you lower your blood pressure.
For tips on how to do these things, see the Living With High Blood Pressure section of this topic.
Treating high blood pressure with
If lifestyle changes don't lower your blood pressure to your goal, you may need to take daily medicines as
Medicines control—but usually don't
cure—high blood pressure. So you will probably need to take them
for the rest of your life. Most people need to take two or more medicines.
- High Blood Pressure: Should I Take Medicine?
Some people find it hard to take their
medicines properly. They may feel it's too much trouble—especially when they don't feel sick. Or they're worried about side effects. Some people find it hard to keep track of when and how to take their medicines.
If you have trouble taking high blood
pressure medicines for any reason, talk to your doctor.
- High Blood Pressure: Taking Medicines Properly