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Do I have to take medicine to control my blood pressure?
In recent years, we have learned more about the benefits of controlling blood pressure more aggressively: reduced risk for strokes and heart attacks. Although I recommend eating a low-salt diet, being active, smoking cessation, and losing weight... often medications are needed as well. We have several excellent medications available to help control hypertension that we use individually, and together. This wide selection allows us to individualize the combination for each patient so we can achieve adequate blood pressure control in a way that is easy to take and with no side effects. Be honest with your doctor. Tell him/her what you're taking, so together, you can find the combination that's right for you.
Does avoiding salt really lower my blood pressure?
For some people the answer is a clear yes, but for most it probably makes very little difference. The best way to know how sensitive your blood pressure is to salt intake is to decrease your salt intake and check your blood pressure. While salt intake often has little impact, losing 5-15 pounds of excess weight often has a large impact on your blood pressure. Exercise, eating nutritious foods, limiting or avoiding alcohol, and losing excess weight are very important for maintaining good health and controlling high blood pressure. If your family doctor has prescribed medication for you high blood pressure, taking your medicine consistently every day is crucial. Finally, quitting smoking has been shown to lower your blood pressure in minutes.