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Treating Hypertension

This condition can be controlled through a combination of lifestyle changes and, in many cases, hypertension medications. Together, these can help lower blood pressure in many people and get them closer to a normal blood pressure.
 
Lifestyle changes are often the first step in hypertension treatment. These changes often improve the quality of a person's life as well. Keep it mind that it may take three to six months before your healthcare provider sees the full benefit of these changes on your condition. Some of these changes may include:
 
  • Exercising
  • Losing weight
  • Reducing salt consumption
  • Changing your diet
  • Drinking less alcohol.
     
In addition to lifestyle changes, many medications are available to control hypertension, and each one works in a slightly different way. Everyone reacts differently to medicine, so you may need to try a few different types before your healthcare provider finds the best one for you. If your doctor has prescribed pills for you, it's important to take them exactly as directed. Controlling hypertension will probably be a lifelong commitment, whether or not medications are prescribed.
 

How Common Is Hypertension?

Hypertension is more common than many people guess. Consider the following facts:
 
  • More than 65 million American adults -- nearly 1 in 3 -- have hypertension
 
  • Nearly 60 million Americans are over age 55, which means they have a 90 percent likelihood of developing this condition in their lifetimes
 
  • African Americans are more likely to develop hypertension than any other racial or ethnic group, and tend to develop it earlier and more severely than others
 
  • At least 18 million Americans have diabetes, which increases their chances of developing hypertension
 
  • Approximately 122 million American adults are overweight or obese, which puts them at higher risk of developing hypertension.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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