Strip Diabetes

Hypertension Treatment Options

How to Treat Hypertension

Medication Options

Four classes of high blood pressure medications are considered “first line” (most effective and commonly prescribed) when starting treatment. Sometimes other medications are coupled with these first-line drugs to better control your high blood pressure. First-line drug pressure lowering medications are:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors block the production the angiotensin II hormone, which the body naturally uses to control blood pressure. When angiotensin II is blocked, your blood vessels don’t narrow. Examples: lisinopril (brand name Zestril®), enalapril (Vasotec®), captopril (Capoten®).
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) block this same hormone from binding with receptors in the blood vessels. ARBs work the same way as ACE inhibitors to keep blood vessels from narrowing. Examples: valsartan (Diovan®), losartan (Cozaar®).
  • Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels, allowing these vessels to relax. Examples: amlodipine (brand name Norvasc®), nifedipine (Procardia®), diltiazem (Cardizem®; Dilacor® XR; Tiazac®).
  • Diuretics (water or fluid pills) flush excess sodium from your body, reducing the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill. Examples: indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide.

Talk to your healthcare provider about what side effects and problems are possible when you take your blood pressure medicine. Some medications should be avoided during pregnancy. If you get side effects that concern you, call your provider. They may change your dose or try a different medication. Don’t stop taking the medicine on your own.

Diet & Exercise

  • Eat right: A healthy diet is an important step in keeping your blood pressure normal. The Dash diet emphasizes adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet while reducing the amount of sodium. Since it is rich in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally lower in sodium than many other foods, the DASH diet makes it easier to eat less salt and sodium.
  • Keep a healthy weight: Going together with a proper diet is keeping a healthy weight. Since being overweight increases your blood pressure, losing excess weight with diet and exercise will help lower your blood pressure to healthier levels.
  • Keep active: Even simple physical activities such as walking, biking, or swimming can lower your blood pressure and your weight.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: Having more than one drunk a day (for women) and two drinks a day (for men) can raise blood pressure.
Hypertension Treatment