When your blood pressure is 140 or higher for your systolic pressure (top number) OR 90 or higher for your diastolic pressure (bottom number), your healthcare provider will likely prescribe medication in addition to lifestyle modifications. You may need more than one type of prescription medication to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
What if I'm not comfortable taking medications?
Although it may require some adjustments, your healthcare provider has your best interest in mind. Follow your recommendations carefully, even if it means taking medication every day for the rest of your life. Following your healthcare provider's advice is the best way to reach your treatment goals and enjoy the benefits of better health.
What if I prefer a natural approach?
Take prescriptions if they have been written for you. Eating a heart-healthy diet, enjoying regular physical activity and limiting alcohol should be part of your plan for lowering blood pressure — even if you're taking medication — but a healthy lifestyle may not eliminate the need for medications. There is no short cut that can substitute for the medications that have been carefully studied and monitored for prescription use. Follow your healthcare provider's advice.
How can I remember to take my medicine every day?
Don't wait for a serious health event to remind you to take your medicine! Instead, make a plan. If needed, fill a weekly medication dispenser and take your prescriptions at the same time every day, using an alarm if it helps. As you adjust to the new routine, you will see your numbers go down. Remind yourself that by managing your blood pressure, you are lowering your risk of heart attack and peripheral artery disease, stroke and kidney disease. Death rates from these diseases have decreased significantly, thanks in part to earlier and better treatment of HBP.
How long will I be on medication?
Perhaps the rest of your life. Managing blood pressure is a lifelong commitment; do your part starting today for yourself and for those you love. Listen to your doctor, read the sound medical information on this site, and act on the information to live a heart-healthier life.
Clinical trials are scientific studies that determine if a possible new medical advance can help people and whether it has harmful side effects. Find answers to common questions about clinical trials in our Guide to Understanding Clinical Trials.
This content was last reviewed on 04/04/2012.