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1

How to Control Stage 1 Hypertension

How to Control Stage 1 Hypertension

Upon hearing that they have stage 1 hypertension, some people develop a sense of false security. They believe that having stage 1 hypertension is not that bad, especially if they don’t experience any alarming symptoms.

But doctors repeatedly warn the public that high blood pressure is a “silent killer.” The person may not feel anything, but it doesn’t mean that everything is okay. Regardless of the stage, hypertension increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke.

In this article, we’ll talk about stage 1 hypertension and the steps one needs to take to prevent it from worsening.

What is stage 1 hypertension?

Before we proceed with the symptoms and the steps to manage stage 1 hypertension, let’s first define the condition.

A person with stage 1 hypertension has a consistent systolic blood pressure reading (number on top) of 130-139 and a diastolic reading of 80-89 mmHg. Often, to diagnose stage 1 hypertension, the doctor takes the BP several times during at least 3 separate appointments.

Symptoms

Like mentioned earlier, someone who has hypertension may not experience any symptoms even if their BP becomes high. This is why it’s unlikely for stage 1 hypertension to result in any symptoms or discomforts.

Still, patients must take steps to prevent the worsening of their condition.

Causes of Hypertension: What Makes Blood Pressure Go Up?

Steps to take when you have stage 1 hypertension

The goal of managing hypertension is to control blood pressure. To achieve this goal, consider the following steps:

1. Work closely with your doctor

Working closely with your doctor is crucial because only they can prescribe you medications if you need them. You see, not everyone with stage 1 hypertension requires BP-lowering medicines.

According to the latest guidelines released by the American Heart Association, the doctor first needs to assess the patient’s atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk in the next 10 years.

To compute for your ASCVD risk, the doctor will take your health history and perhaps order some laboratory tests to check your cholesterol levels.

Working closely with your doctor is likewise crucial because hypertension may change the way you manage some of your existing health concerns.

2. Make some lifestyle changes and monitor your BP

Patients with low (less than 10%) ASCVD risk in the next 10 years need not take any medication for their blood pressure. However, they need to employ lifestyle changes to control their blood pressure.

Of course, these changes heavily depend on your situation, but generally, the doctor may suggest:

  • Dietary changes. They might ask you to follow the DASH diet, which focuses on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy.
  • A regular, appropriate exercise program. Please don’t start a new workout regimen without your doctor’s approval.
  • Achieving a healthy weight. Excessive weight and hypertension are a dangerous combination.
  • A lower intake of sodium. In cooking, you can use herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Avoiding or quitting cigarette smoking.
  • Limiting intake of alcohol.
  • Practices that manage stress.
  • Adequate rest and high-quality sleep.

Finally, the doctor will advise you to monitor your blood pressure regularly, twice daily: one in the morning before breakfast or taking your medicines, and then in the evening.

stage 1 hypertension

3. Take your prescribed medications

Patients with more than 10% ASCVD risk in the next 10 years usually need medications on top of the lifestyle changes we discussed above.

BP-lowering drugs are also prescribed to people with existing cardiovascular conditions or other chronic health issues like kidney disease and diabetes.

If the doctor prescribes a medicine for your stage 1 hypertension, be sure to take them as ordered.

4. Show up to your appointment

People with stage 1 hypertension who were not given medications need reassessment typically after 3 to 6 months. Those who take BP-lowering drugs may need to return after a month.

Regardless of when your doctor asks you to return for a check-up, you need to show up. It is during these appointments when the doctor checks if the current plan or medication is working or you need to make some changes.

Key Takeaways

If you have hypertension, you must work closely with your doctor, make lifestyle changes, take your prescribed medicines, and show up in all your succeeding appointments.

Learn more about Hypertension here.

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Sources

High blood pressure (hypertension)
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373417
Accessed April 13, 2021

Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings
Accessed April 13, 2021

New high blood pressure guidelines: Think your blood pressure is fine? Think again…
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-high-blood-pressure-guidelines-2017111712756
Accessed April 13, 2021

High blood pressure (hypertension)
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/
Accessed April 13, 2021

High Blood Pressure–Understanding the Silent Killer
https://www.fda.gov/drugs/special-features/high-blood-pressure-understanding-silent-killer
Accessed April 13, 2021

2017 Guideline for High Blood Pressure in Adults
https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/ten-points-to-remember/2017/11/09/11/41/2017-guideline-for-high-blood-pressure-in-adults
Accessed April 13, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. on Apr 30
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