The treatment of high blood pressure is one of the most important areas of modern medicine. Good quality care and blood pressure treatment can reduce the risk of death, the risk of stroke and the risk of heart attack or coronary disease. The British Hypertension Society produced guidelines in 2004. This is what they recommend.
Blood Pressure Measurement
All adults should have a blood pressure measurement at least once every five years up to the age of 80 - and more often thereafter.
If their blood pressure reading is borderline or high then the frequency of checking should be increased to at least once a year.
Nobody should be labelled as having high blood pressure unless at least four seperate seated readings confirm the problem. Some people with suspected high blood pressure will need a twenty four hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor check.
High Blood Pressure Treatment
Lifestyle measures should form the initial mainstay of high blood pressure treatment.
Weight loss will reduce blood pressure levels in almost everyone.
A high alcohol intake has long been linked to high blood pressure readings.
Diet should be altered to reduce salt intake, reduce saturated fat intake, to increase oily fish or fish oil capsules and to increase the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Exercise - walking is best - for thirty minutes three times a week can significantly lower high blood pressure levels.
High Blood Pressure medication is best chosen by a physician with full access to your medical records and with consideration of any other medical problems you may have. Most high blood pressure sufferers need more than one type of medication to achieve good blood pressure control. The target blood pressure level should be below 140/85 or below 130/80 if you suffer from diabetes as well as blood pressure. In reality the lower your reading is the better your long term health will be.
Dr Gordon Cameron is a family physician in Scotland. He suffers from high blood pressure himself and has a long standing interest in the problem of how to lower high blood pressure. His website also focusses on low blood pressure and gives practical advice on how to buy a blood pressure monitor