High Blood Pressure Treatment

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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Quick GuideHigh Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Warning Signs, Risks, Medications

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Warning Signs, Risks, Medications

Which lifestyle modifications are beneficial in treating high blood pressure?

Lifestyle modifications refer to certain specific recommendations for changes in habits, diet and exercise. These modifications can lower the blood pressure as well as improve a patient's response to blood pressure medications.

Alcohol

People who drink alcohol excessively (over two drinks per day*) have a one and a half to two times increase in the prevalence of hypertension. The association between alcohol and high blood pressure is particularly noticeable when alcohol intake exceeds five drinks per day. The connection is a dose-related phenomenon. In other words, the more alcohol consumed, the stronger is the link with hypertension.

*The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism considers a standard drink to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Each contains roughly the same amount of absolute alcohol -- approximately one-half ounce or 12 grams.

Smoking

Although smoking increases the risk of vascular complications (for example, heart disease and stroke) in people who already have hypertension, it is not associated with an increase in the development of hypertension. But cigarette smoking can repeatedly produce an immediate, temporary rise in the blood pressure of 5 to10 mm Hg. Steady smokers however, may have a lower blood pressure than nonsmokers. The reason for this is that nicotine in cigarettes causes a decrease in appetite, which leads to weight loss. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/6/2015

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