High blood pressure - or hypertension - is a very common medical condition. In fact, it affects more than 25% of all adults in the UK. However, the signs of high blood pressure can be frustratingly difficult to spot. As many as 4 million adults in the UK are living with undiagnosed hypertension. This condition can pose a serious risk to health, which is why the NHS recommends that all adults have their blood pressure checked at least every five years. In today's article, we'll be discussing treatment for hypertension and sharing our top tips for those with the condition.
Treatment for Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
There are several ways to combat high blood pressure, from lifestyle changes to medication. You should have a discussion with your GP before making any significant changes to your diet or daily routine, and only ever take medication that a doctor has prescribed to you. You can also click here to read more about the causes of hypertension.
If you have had a diagnosis of hypertension, your doctor will advise you to make some healthy changes to your lifestyle. If your blood pressure is consistently at a particularly high level, they may also offer you medication.
Lifestyle Changes for Hypertension
1. Diet for hypertension
There are a few simple changes you can make to your diet in order to relieve high blood pressure. One of the easiest things to do is cut down on salt and consume less than 6 grams per day. This is roughly equal to a teaspoonful. Some of the saltiest foods to avoid include bacon, some ready meals, soy sauce, anchovies, and smoked meat and fish. Instead of these salty foods, you should try to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet. You should also avoid adding salt to your food at the table, since lots of foods already contain high levels of salt.
2. Get moving
The NHS recommends that all adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. It is especially important that people with hypertension exercise regularly. This is because hypertension puts you at a higher risk of heart disease, which exercise can reduce significantly. If you're looking for sport and fitness activities, this article is full of recommendations. 150 minutes might sound like a lot, but you can spread it out across the week however you like. Every little helps.
3. Reduce stress
Stress can play a significant role in increasing your blood pressure. If you're trying to combat hypertension, you should think about the different sources of stress in your life and try to find healthy ways to cope. Many of us turn to unhealthy coping techniques when dealing with stress. Alcohol, cigarettes, junk food, and recreational drugs are popular stress-relief methods that can all contribute to high blood pressure. Instead, try going for a walk, taking a bath, writing down your thoughts in a journal, or meditation.
Medication for Hypertension
There are a couple of medicines which doctors use as treatment for hypertension. You might need to take a combination of different drugs to get the best results.
- ACE inhibitors - relax your blood vessels to reduce blood pressure. Side effects can include a cough, headaches, and dizziness.
- ARBs - similar to ACE inhibitors. You might be prescribed these if you suffer from bad side effects when taking ACE inhibitors.
- Calcium channel blockers - these reduce blood pressure by widening your blood vessels, but can cause headaches and swollen ankles. You should avoid drinking grapefruit juice when taking calcium channel blockers.
- Diuretics - if calcium channel blockers cause painful side effects, a doctor might prescribe you diuretics instead. These flush out extra salts and water from the body, thereby reducing blood pressure. However, they can cause you to feel thirsty and go to the toilet more often.
- Beta blockers - once a popular treatment for hypertension, these are now known to be less effective than other medicines. They reduce blood pressure by slowing your heartbeat.
How We Can Help
If you have hypertension, you are at a higher risk of other serious conditions like heart attacks or strokes. A Lifeline alarm can give you protection and peace of mind if you're worried about your health, or know someone who is. Hypertension also qualifies you for VAT exemption on any of our alarms.
For more information, read our quick guide to the personal alarm service or give us a call on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, fill in our Contact Us form and we'll get in touch with you as soon as we can.
You can also order your Lifeline alarm online at any time.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on 1st May 2022 to reflect current information.