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Treatment

If you have pre-hypertension, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down to a normal range. Medicines are rarely used for pre-hypertension.

You can do many things to help control your blood pressure at home, including:

  • Eat a heart healthy diet, including potassium and fiber.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink to 1 drink a day for women, and 2 a day for men.
  • Limit the amount of sodium (salt) you eat -- aim for less than 1,500 mg per day.
  • Reduce stress. Try to avoid things that cause you stress, and try meditation or yoga to de-stress.
  • Stay at a healthy body weight.

Your doctor can help you find programs for losing weight, stopping smoking, and exercising.

You can also get a referral from your doctor to a dietitian, who can help you plan a diet that is healthy for you.

The most commonly used blood pressure targets for treating high blood pressure are:

  • Below 140/90 mmHg as an overall goal for most people
  • Below 130 to 140/80 mmHg for people who have heart disease, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease

But you and your doctor must weigh the side effects of medicines used to lower blood pressure with the benefits of lowering your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other related problems.

There are many different medicines to treat high blood pressure.

  • Often, a single blood pressure drug may not be enough to control your blood pressure, and you may need to take two or more drugs.
  • It is very important that you take the medicines prescribed to you.
  • If you have side effects, your doctor can substitute a different medicine.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most of the time, high blood pressure can be controlled with medicine and lifestyle changes.

When blood pressure is not well-controlled, you are at risk for: