Treatment

Medicines and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits are the two main ways to lower your blood pressure. You may need to take prescription drugs to get it under control, and your doctor will help you find the best approach.

Jump To+

The two types of treatment for high blood pressure are lifestyle changes and daily medicines.

Treatment depends on how high your blood pressure is and if you have other health problems, such as diabetes. It also depends on whether any organs have already been damaged. Your doctor also may check your risk for other problems, such as heart attack and stroke.

Your doctor will give you a blood pressure goal. It will be based on your health and your age.

Your doctor will suggest making lifestyle changes. If they aren’t enough to bring your blood pressure down to your goal, your doctor may recommend that you take pills.

If your blood pressure is very high, you will need medicine to lower it.

Lifestyle changes

Changes in lifestyle can help control high blood pressure. You may try to:

Stay at a healthy weight.

If you're overweight, losing extra pounds may bring your blood pressure down.

Be physically active.

Regular aerobic exercise can help lower blood pressure.

Limit alcohol.

Limit it to two drinks a day for men, one drink a day for women.

Eat less sodium.

Doing this can help control high blood pressure.

Eat heart-healthy foods.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan can help you lower your blood pressure.

Quitting smoking is also important to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Medicines

Doctors usually first prescribe a single, low-dose medicine for high blood pressure. If this doesn't work, your doctor may change the dosage or try a different medicine or combination of medicines. It’s common to try several medicines before blood pressure is controlled. Many people need more than one medicine to get the best results.

Medicine choices include:

  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Direct renin inhibitors
  • Alpha-blockers and vasodilators

African-Americans may be prescribed calcium channel blockers or thiazide diuretics first.

Other medicines used include:

  • Beta-blockers.
  • Alpha-blockers.
  • Vasodilators.

All of these medicines work well to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.

You may have regular blood tests to monitor how the medicine is working in your body. Your doctor will most likely let you know when you need to have the tests.

You may need to avoid some medicines that you can buy without a prescription. For example, check with your doctor before you take any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if you are taking medicines for high blood pressure. NSAIDs include naproxen and ibuprofen. NSAIDs may raise blood pressure and keep your blood pressure medicines from working well. They may also interact with your blood pressure medicine and cause kidney problems.

©2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.

Causes & Risk Factors

Learn More

Prevention

Learn More

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Learn More

Complications

Learn More

Treatment

Learn More

Self-Care & Management

Learn More

Causes & Risk Factors

Learn More

Prevention

Learn More

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Learn More

Complications

Learn More

Treatment

Learn More

Self-Care & Management

Learn More