There are several classes of drugs available to treat hypertension; each works differently, targeting a specific aspect of blood pressure regulation. Frequently, someone will need to take a couple of different medications together to achieve blood pressure control. Your health practitioner will work with you to select the appropriate combinations and dosages. (See How is High Blood Pressure Treated? on the NHLBI website.)
Moderate weight loss, in the range of 5 to ten percent of body weight, can help restore the body’s ability to recognize insulin and greatly reduce the chance of developing diabetes. It will also lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Aerobic exercise such as a brisk 30-minute daily walk can be highly effective in improving insulin levels, facilitating weight loss, and improving related symptoms. Most practitioners recommend 30-60 minutes daily of moderate intensity exercise on at least five days a week either divided throughout the day or all at once; the same benefit is achieved either way.
The AHA/ASA recommends a diet that is low in sodium, is high in potassium, and promotes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products for reducing BP and lowering the risk of stroke. Other recommendations include increasing physical activity (30 minutes or more of moderate intensity activity on a daily basis) and losing weight (for overweight and obese persons).
Blood pressure (BP) is the force that blood exerts on the walls of the arteries. It depends on the strength and rate of the heart's contraction as it pumps blood and on the resistance to the flow of blood through the arteries. The amount of resistance depends on the elasticity and diameter of the blood vessels and the volume of blood flowing through them. The narrower the arteries and the more blood pumping through them, the higher the blood pressure will be. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help delay or prevent hypertension.
It is common for there to be a development of visceral fat, after which the adipocytes (fat cells) of the visceral fat increase plasma levels of TNF-α and alter levels of a number of other substances (e.g., adiponectin, resistin, and PAI-1). TNF-α has been shown not only to cause the production of inflammatory cytokines, but also possibly to trigger cell signaling by interaction with a TNF-α receptor that may lead to insulin resistance. An experiment with rats fed a diet with 33% sucrose has been proposed as a model for the development of metabolic syndrome. The sucrose first elevated blood levels of triglycerides, which induced visceral fat and ultimately resulted in insulin resistance. The progression from visceral fat to increased TNF-α to insulin resistance has some parallels to human development of metabolic syndrome. The increase in adipose tissue also increases the number of immune cells present within, which play a role in inflammation. Chronic inflammation contributes to an increased risk of hypertension, atherosclerosis and diabetes.