Authors: Michael J Bloch, MD, FACP, FASH, FSVM, FNLA; Jan Basile, MD | Content provided by UpToDate.com.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a common condition that can lead to serious complications if untreated. These complications can include stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and kidney damage. Worldwide, hypertension contributes to cardiovascular death more than any other risk factor. Making dietary changes (reducing sodium intake and increasing potassium intake) and losing weight are effective treatments for reducing blood pressure. Other lifestyle changes that can help include stopping smoking, reducing stress, reducing alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly. All forms of physical activity are beneficial and should include least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes per week of strenuous activity. All of these lifestyle changes are effective when used alone but often have the greatest benefit when used together. Many patients with hypertension will also require medications to lower their blood pressure to safe levels.