Hypertension Treatment: Medicines, Lifestyles, and Other Options

Hypertension is the clinical term for high blood pressure. It implies that excessive force is pushing against the veins that convey blood from the heart to the body.

Hypertension affects almost half of all adults in the United States. It can lead to numerous serious medical conditions, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. Early remedy of hypertension is essential to prevent these and other problems.

According to research, when a person’s blood pressure reaches 130/80 mm Hg, he should start treatment for hypertension, including lifestyle changes and sometimes medication.

In this article, we are discussing different treatments for hypertension, lifestyle adjustments, and alternative medications. We also share tips for living with hypertension and diagnosing this condition.

Medications

There are quite a few hypertension medications that have different effects on the body. The following are the various categories of drugs, how they work, and their potential side effects:

  • Diuretics: These drugs help the body eliminate excess salt and water. Some also reduce potassium, which can cause weakness.
  • Beta-Blockers: These drugs reduce the workload of the heart. Side effects may include slow heart rate and fatigue. An example is a metoprolol.
  • Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs): These block angiotensin’s effects, allowing blood vessels to stay open. Sometimes they can cause dizziness.
  • Calcium channel blockers relax narrowed blood vessels by blocking calcium from entering blood vessels and the heart. These conditions include swollen ankles, palpitations, and irregular heart rhythms. 
  • Alpha-Blockers: These drugs relax muscle tone in the artery walls. Side effects may include dizziness and rapid heart rate.
  • Anabolic Alpha-2 Receptor Antagonists: These drugs reduce the activity of the parts of the nervous system responsible for the production of adrenaline, which increases the number of heart contractions. Side effects may include drowsiness or dizziness.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Practising a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or reduce hypertension. People can try the following approaches:

Follow a Nutritious Diet: This includes fibre-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. It also involves foods abundant in potassium and protein but low in saturated fat and salt.

Be Physically Active: As per current guidelines, moderate exercise is recommended for 150 to 300 minutes per week, vigorous exercise for 75 to 150 minutes per session, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous exercise. Sixty minutes of physical activity per week is recommended for children and adolescents.

Set Goals for Moderate Weight: Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help control weight. One approach is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which limits red meat, salt, and added sugars.

Quit Smoking: Smoking increases blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke risk, so quitting smoking can help reduce these health problems.

Get Enough Sleep: The risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke increases when people do not get enough sleep.

Limit Alcohol Consumption: Since alcohol can raise blood pressure, people should limit their daily intake. Women can drink at most once a day, while men should try not to drink more than twice daily.

Treatment for Resistant Hypertension

Physicians define resistant hypertension as blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg after treatment with three or more medications. Treatment should include the following medicines at the appropriate doses:

  • An ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diuretics

Scientists have not yet fully understood the causes of resistant hypertension, but the theory is that it involves excessive sodium deficiency in the kidneys. Therefore, the ACC recommends one of these additional treatments:

Spironolactone: A person with a potassium level below 4.5 millimoles per litre (mmol/L) is likely to respond to this medication.

Other Potassium-Sparing Diuretics: For people with potassium levels below 4.5 mmol / L who cannot tolerate spironolactone. One alternative is epilepsy (Inspra), which acts like spironolactone, but its side effects are fewer.

Diuretic Dual Dosage: For those whose potassium level is more than 4.5 mmol / L. People with potassium levels below 4.5 mmol / L cannot tolerate spironolactone. One alternative is epilepsy (Inspra), which acts like spironolactone, but has fewer side effects.

Alternative Treatment Options

Research suggests that some types of alternative treatment may produce small decreases in blood pressure in people with hypertension. 

Tai chi

Tai chi is a type of exercise that combines deep diaphragmatic breathing with graceful body movements. An earlier 2013 study reviewed 18 clinical trials investigating its effects on hypertension. Researchers have found weak but encouraging evidence that it may help reduce high blood pressure.

Meditation

Meditation requires concentrating the mind on specific thoughts and objects. The research assessed the effects of meditation on the risk of heart and blood vessel disease. It determined a possible benefit but was unable to reach definitive conclusions.

Yoga

Yoga involves slow, gentle postures and movements. A previous review of 120 studies evaluated the benefit of yoga on hypertension in 6,693 participants. Most studies reported that yoga could reduce hypertension and suggested that clinical guidelines should include yoga as a therapy.

Most studies have suggested that yoga may reduce high blood pressure, and it has been recommended that yoga should be included in medical guidelines as a remedy.

Qigong

Qigong is an exercise that involves combining breathing patterns with meditation and rhythmic movements. Research has shown that this is an effective therapy for high blood pressure, but the results guarantee further investigation.

Living with Hypertension

Because hypertension often does not produce any symptoms, it is called a “silent killer.” In addition to the lifestyle changes that have been mentioned before, it is helpful to follow your doctor’s instructions.

This includes not skipping any dose or cutting the pill in half. Patients are also advised to take their medications simultaneously every day.

Conclusion

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is an extremely common problem in the United States. It can cause heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or kidney disease as it can damage body parts.

Treatment of high blood pressure may include medications such as beta-blockers. However, other treatment options include lifestyle adjustments such as eating a balanced diet and avoiding alcohol and smoking.

Other methods like meditation and certain breathing techniques can also help.