Drug and Non-Drug Treatment for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) affects 1 in 3 Americans and includes all ages. The blood pressure goal is currently 140/90 in those who are otherwise healthy. Treating high blood pressures is accomplished with lifestyle changes and medication therapy. Lifestyle changes include diet, exercise, weight control, and smoking cessation. The diet recommended for those with hypertension emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy. Limiting salt and alcohol intake are also important dietary modifications. Thirty minutes of moderate activity on most days is a great starting point for physical activity. A diet and exercise plan can help control weight, which can further decrease blood pressure. Lastly, a plan to stop smoking should be implemented. Medication therapy is also important in controlling blood pressure. Blood pressure medications include diuretics (water pills), beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin antagonists, calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers and alpha-beta blockers, nervous system inhibitors, and vasodilators. The drug or drugs chosen to manage high blood pressure are based on many factors. For questions regarding blood pressure control, consult your pharmacist and physician.