High blood pressure isn't a problem that you can treat and then ignore. It's a condition you need to manage for the rest of your life. Steps you can take include:
- Measure your blood pressure at home. Home blood pressure monitoring is an important part of managing high blood pressure. Home monitoring can help you keep closer tabs on your blood pressure, show if medication is working, and even alert you and your doctors to potential health complications.
- Take your medications properly . If side effects or costs pose problems, talk with your doctor instead of just discontinuing your medications.
- Manage stress . Get more sleep, learn to say no to extra tasks, release negative thoughts and maintain good relationships, and remain patient and optimistic.
- Make regular visits to your doctor . It takes a team effort to treat high blood pressure successfully. Your doctor can't do it alone, and neither can you. The two of you need to work together to bring your blood pressure down to a safe level — and keep it there.
- Adopt positive health habits . This includes eating a healthy diet, losing weight, exercising, not smoking, and limiting alcohol and caffeine intake.
Doing all this can be difficult if you don't feel or see any signs or symptoms. Reviewing the risk factors and complications associated with high blood pressure can give you an extra incentive.
Educating your family and friends is important in helping you cope. When people don't understand the danger of uncontrolled high blood pressure, they can unintentionally work against you. For example, they might offer you unhealthy food or complain about the cost of your medicine.
When family and friends fully understand that uncontrolled high blood pressure threatens your life, they'll encourage you to take your medicine, eat well and go for your daily walk.
Resistant hypertension: When your blood pressure is difficult to control
Does your blood pressure remain persistently high despite your best efforts? Explore the possible causes so that you can get back on track and help prevent serious complications of hypertension.
Controlling high blood pressure (hypertension) can be challenging. You want to achieve your treatment goal, but sometimes it seems your blood pressure just doesn't want to come down. It's still higher than it should be, and you're getting frustrated.
Don't give up. You and your doctor can carefully review your treatment and lifestyle to see what's going on. Working together, you can probably figure out why your blood pressure is resisting your best efforts to manage it — and your goal may be reachable, after all.
Understanding potential causes of resistant hypertension
When you have high blood pressure, you and your doctor will set a goal based on your overall health. Getting your blood pressure down to this measurement can help delay or prevent numerous potentially devastating complications, such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and dementia.
Many people achieve their blood pressure goal by following a healthy lifestyle and taking medications.
If your blood pressure has remained persistently high despite taking at least three medications, including a diuretic, you may have resistant hypertension — blood pressure that is resistant to treatment.
This doesn't mean your blood pressure will never get lower. In fact, if you and your doctor can identify what's behind your persistently high blood pressure, there's a good chance you can meet your goal with the help of treatment that's more effective. You may need to see a hypertension specialist if your primary care doctor isn't able to pinpoint a cause.
Here are some of the causes of resistant hypertension that your doctor will likely explore.