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Knowing your risk and medications can help improve your BP

Dr Geetha Philips says understanding your risk for hypertension and taking effective measures to stay healthy goes a long way in controlling hypertension. She also explains various antihypertensive medications

Published: Jun 17, 2020 11:18:47 AM IST
Updated: Jun 17, 2020 12:28:40 PM IST

Knowing your risk and medications can help improve your BP
A family history of high blood pressure means you have someone in your family (a blood relative such as a mother, father, sister, or brother) who has or had high blood pressure before the age of 60. Family members share genes, behaviours, lifestyles and environments that can influence their health and their risk for disease.

The risk for high blood pressure can increase even more when heredity combines with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes and eating an unhealthy diet. If you have one or more close family members with high blood pressure before the age of 60, it means you are twice likely to have it. It is important to understand that a family history of high blood pressure does not mean you will have high blood pressure, but it does increase your chances.

To keep high blood pressure at bay while you have family history, you should get your blood pressure checked at least once a year to make sure it is within normal levels. Reduce other risks for high blood pressure by eating healthy foods, using less salt, exercising, losing weight if needed, and stopping to smoke. If you are already being treated for high blood pressure, it is important to take the medications regularly that have been prescribed for you. Also, keep your scheduled appointments with your health care provider.


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If you have high blood pressure or are at risk of developing it, lifestyle changes can help keep your numbers under control. If a trial of making lifestyle changes is not enough to control your blood pressure, you will likely receive a prescription for one or more of the medications in addition to maintaining your lifestyle measures. There are several classes of blood pressure medications that lower blood pressure in a different way. The blood pressure lowering effect may vary among individuals depending on age, sex, race, how high the blood pressure is and other health conditions.

A two-drug combination generally is more effective than is a single drug to get your blood pressure under control. Sometimes a third medication, or more, is needed to achieve your blood pressure goal. A healthcare provider may try several medications or doses before finding what works best for you. Also, it's important to discuss all of the drugs you take with your doctor, and understand their desired effects and possible side effects. Also, never stop taking a medication and never change your dose or frequency without first consulting your doctor.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article. 

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