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High Blood Pressure Treatment

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure becomes to strong and stays high over time, it can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and/or kidney failure.

Your blood pressure is shown with two numbers. The first (or top) numbers is the systolic (sis-TOL-ik) pressure. This is the the blood pressure when the heart beats. The second (or bottom) number is the diastolic (di-ah-STOL-ik) pressure.  This  refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.  You most often will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80.

  • A normal range, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is less than 120/80.
  • 120/80 - 139/89 is considered prehypertension. Diet and lifestyle changes could reduce this before it becomes hypertension. 
  • A reading of 140/90 or greater is considered high blood pressure and you may need medical treatment for this which might include medicine.

Your blood pressure may go up or down based on the time of day or your level of activity, nervousness or excitement. If your numbers stay above normal most of the time, you're at risk increases. 


High blood pressure (HBP) itself usually has no signs or symptoms. Rarely, headaches may occur. You could have high blood pressure for years without knowing it, but during that time, the condition can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.  Some people only learn that they have high blood pressure afer there has been a stroke, heart attack, aneurysm or other damage. To avoid this, have your blood pressure checked at least once pear year by a doctor. 


If you're diagnosed with high blood pressure, you can treat it in several ways including:

  • Becoming more physically active
  • Following a healthier diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Managing and relieving stress
  • Using medicines.

Today's blood pressure medicines can safely help most people control their blood pressure. These medicines are easy to take. The side effects, if any, tend to be minor. If you have side effects from your medicines, talk with your doctor. He or she might adjust the doses or prescribe other medicines. You shouldn't decide on your own to stop taking your medicines.

Blood pressure medicines work in different ways to lower blood pressure. Some remove extra fluid and salt from the body to lower blood pressure. Others slow down the heartbeat or relax and widen blood vessels. Often, two or more medicines work better than one. Your doctor will help you find the right combination for you.

If you're being treated for HBP and have repeat readings in the normal range, your blood pressure is under control. But you are still diagnosed with the condition and should not stop taking your medicines. 

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