Features September 2009 Issue

Blood Pressure Control Can Be Within Reach By Following a Few Simple Steps

Knowing your blood pressure goals and the steps to reach them will help you manage hypertension, but sticking with your medications, diet and exercise are the keys.

If youíve been diagnosed with hypertension, you may be looking for a quick fix to get your blood pressure under control immediately. But instead of setting unrealistic goals, youíre better off understanding what your target blood pressure is, what steps you can take to reach it, and how long it may take to have your hypertension managed. And rather than become daunted by the prospect of a lifelong commitment to controlling your hypertension, consider the results of a study that showed small, yet focused, initiatives can lead to big improvements in blood pressure management. In a study published June 16 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, researchers found that patients who were given clearcut blood pressure goals and who monitored their blood pressure regularly, followed through on clinic visits and adhered to their medications saw significant improvements in their blood pressure control. Cleveland Clinic hypertension expert Donald Vidt, MD, adds that while itís critical that patients track their blood pressure regularly, they should realize that even small improvements in weight loss and exercise also have a role in treating their hypertension. He urges patients to talk openly with their doctors about whatís needed to improve their blood pressure and just what their targets should be, because patients who have diabetes or who are very elderly may have different targets.

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