Hypertension: Treatment guidelines

Hypertension or high blood pressure is when the pressure in your arteries is consistently above the normal range of pressure. Blood pressure is when the force of blood is pushing against the blood vessel walls. Blood pressure is written as two numbers: 120/80 mmhg. The top number (120) which is the systolic number is the pressure of when the heart beats. The bottom (80) is the diastolic number and is the pressure of when the heart is at rest. High blood pressure is when a consistently elevated pressure of 140 systolic or higher and/or 90 diastolic or higher.


Risk factors

  • Heredity Individuals over 35
  • Overweight individuals African – Americans
  • Individuals who use too much salt or alcohol Women who are on birth control pills
  • Inactive individuals Pregnancy

Untreated high blood pressure can lead to:

  • Stroke Heart attack
  • Heart failure Kidney failure

Treatment involves the following:

  • If you are overweight you are putting too much strain on your heart – lose weight by following a
  • low-fat, low-cholesterol diet
  • Maintain a healthy diet low in salt and fat
  • Eating a lot of salt holds excess fluid in your body and puts additional burden on your heart

Limit your salt intake by:

  • Cutting down on the salt you use in cooking
  • Do not add salt to foods
  • Your doctor may tell you not to use salt at all
  • Read food labels so you will know what foods are high in sodium
  • Learn to use herbs or salt substitutes
  • Limit alcohol- minimum of 2 drinks per day