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High Blood Pressure (cont.)

How Do You Prevent High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure may be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle, including some of the following:

  • eating a nutritious, low-fat diet;
  • exercising regularly;
  • decreasing salt (sodium) intake, read food labels so you know the salt content before you buy a product in the grocery store or eating a meal at a fast food restaurant, and avoid adding salt to foods;
  • maintain a healthy weight and if you are overweight or obese, try to lose weight;
  • drink alcohol in moderation;
  • stop smoking;
  • get routine health assessments and blood pressure screening;
  • taking your blood pressure medications as directed, even if you're feeling fine; and
  • reduce stress and practice relaxation techniques, physical activity will help with this.

What Is the Prognosis for High Blood Pressure?

Lifelong control of hypertension will minimize the risk of developing heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and a variety of other illnesses. Unlike other illnesses in which medications are taken for only a short period of time, high blood pressure medication is usually expected to be taken for the rest of the individual's life. It is uncommon, but not rare, that significant lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure readings to normal.

Untreated or poorly controlled high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. That is why high blood pressure is called "the silent killer."

High Blood Pressure Testing Picture

Media file 1: Blood pressure measurement. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. The only way to tell whether you have high blood pressure is to perform a quick, painless test using a device called a sphygmomanometer. This instrument consists of a gauge and a rubber cuff that's placed around your arm or leg and inflated. The doctor or nurse uses a stethoscope to listen for the appearance and disappearance of sound produced by the pulse in your elbow region. That's how the systolic and diastolic blood pressures are determined.

Media type:  Photo
Media type: Photo

Medically reviewed by Robert J. Bryg, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease

REFERENCES:

American Heart Assosciation (http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2112), http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2112 ; Pischke CR, Weidner G, Elliott-Eller M, Scherwitz L, Merritt-Worden TA, Marlin R, Lipsenthal L, Finkel R, Saunders D, McCormac P, Scheer JM, Collins RE, Guarneri EM, Ornish D.; Comparison of coronary risk factors and quality of life in coronary artery disease patients with versus without diabetes mellitus; Am J Cardiol; 2006 May 1;97(9):1267-73. Epub 2006 Mar 10. Lipsitz LA, Gagnon M, Vyas M, Iloputaife I, Kiely DK, Sorond F, Serrador J, Cheng DM, Babikian V, Cupples LA. Antihypertensive therapy increases cerebral blood flow and carotid distensibility in hypertensive elderly subjects; Hypertension. 2005 Feb;45(2):216-21. Epub 2005 Jan 17. Dyer KL, Pauliks LB, Das B, Shandas R, Ivy D, Shaffer EM, Valdes-Cruz LM.; Use of myocardial performance index in pediatric patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension; J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2006 Jan;19(1):21-7. Hoeper MM, Markevych I, Spiekerkoetter E, Welte T, Niedermeyer J. Goal-oriented treatment and combination therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension; Eur Respir J. 2005 Nov;26(5):858-63. Czupryniak L, Strzelczyk J, Pawlowski M, Loba J. Circadian blood pressure variation in morbidly obese hypertensive patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery; Am J Hypertens. 2005 Apr;18(4 Pt 1):446-51.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/30/2017

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