Seven ways to live better with hypertension
- Get treatment!
The aim is to return to a blood pressure level as close to normal as possible. This is crucial, and your life expectancy and quality of life depend on it, even if you don’t actually feel ill. In order to do this, harmful lifestyle habits must be corrected, and often it will be necessary to take medicine in order to lower your blood pressure and keep it in the healthy range.
- Understand how important it is to treat your hypertension daily
We don’t yet know how to cure hypertension. All we can do for the moment is temporarily lower the blood pressure with medication, the effects of which are short-term. Speak to your doctor about the protective effects of these drugs.
- Don’t forget to take your blood pressure medication
To control your blood pressure, it is essential that you take your medicine every day, as prescribed by your doctor.
- Always take your medication at the same time
It is important to get into habits which associate taking your medication with other everyday activities that you perform at the same time daily, such as brushing your teeth, mealtimes, reading the newspaper. This is a very effective way of avoiding forgotten doses. Alerts on your smartphone can also help. This helps to form good habits and also to avoid drops in the level of the medicine in your blood if too much time elapses between pills.
- Talk to your doctor about possible side effects
Any medicine which is active – that is, effective – can have one or more side effects. The great majority of these are usualy mild and disappear without any permanent effects once treatment has stopped. It is important to discuss side-effects with your doctor rather than stop taking your treatment yourself. Your doctor could decide to reduce the dose, or subsitute a different drug.
- If your doctor prescribes them, agree to take several antihypertensive drugs, or to change treatments
A combination of several drugs may be necessary if the blood pressure does not decrease significantly with a single drug. These days, most patients need several drugs combined in order to be controlled correctly. The fact that two or more drugs can be combined in the same pill means that treatment can be given in a maximum of 1 or 2 pills a day. If you find that there are too many drugs in your prescription, talk about it to your doctor – he or she may be able to find a way to simplify it.
- Adapt your lifestyle to your condition
Reduce salt in your diet, do some physical exercise regularly, moderate your alcohol consumption, and keep a careful eye on your weight. These habits will help you to control your blood pressure better. If in addition you can manage your life stress better and stop smoking, this will do an enormous amount of good to your arteries and your health!