Hypertension management for adults
Generally, hypertension is when the blood pressure goes over the normal reading of 120/80 mmHg. However, a single reading over this number doesn’t automatically mean you have hypertension.
There are several categories or stages of hypertension, each with its own management. Therefore, the first step to managing hypertension is to get evaluated and diagnosed by a doctor.
Elevated blood pressure management (prehypertension)
While slightly elevated blood pressure doesn’t automatically mean you have hypertension, it can be an early sign. At this stage, blood pressure is between 120/80 to 129/80 mmHg. Most people do not feel any symptoms at this stage, so it often goes undetected until it reaches stage 1 or stage 2.
Fortunately, this stage does not require any special medications yet. Diet and cardiovascular exercise are encouraged to improve heart health. Watch out for fatty, salty, or overly sweet food. Instead, include more heart-healthy whole grains, fiber, and lean protein in your diet.
Stage 1 hypertension management
This stage is the first “official” stage of hypertension. If your blood pressure falls between 130/80 to 139/80 mmHg, you have stage 1 hypertension according to the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association.
Diet and exercise may no longer be enough, therefore, your doctor might prescribe blood pressure medications. Patients with pre-existing diabetes, CKD, or high risk of heart attack or stroke will be given multiple medications.
Stage 2 hypertension management
Lastly, stage 2 hypertension management requires initiation of medications. Without other co-morbidities or previous history of diabetes or heart disease, you will likely be prescribed one or two blood pressure-lowering agents.
Your doctor will assess your status and determine your goal BP. Diet and exercise are still a must, even if you are taking medications. Missing out on your doses can cause problems or lead to higher blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor or a pharmacist if you experience any side effects while taking your medications.