The options. You can treat your high blood pressure by making healthy lifestyle changes, taking medicine, or a combination of both.

The outcome. You can take steps to lower your blood pressure. Following your treatment plan carefully will greatly reduce your chances for problems from high blood pressure.

How long it takes. The actions you take to control your blood pressure can have an impact on your health in a very short time. You may even see results within several weeks or months. The actions you'll need to take include changes to your lifestyle or taking medicine. You can also prevent or stop the progression of many of the most serious problems that high blood pressure can cause.

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. However, some people with high blood pressure complain of a flushed face or vague headache. Because you may have high blood pressure and not know it, you need to have your blood pressure checked at least once every 2 years. Over time, untreated high blood pressure can damage the heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes. That's why it's key to find out if you have high blood pressure and to get treatment if you do. If you don't treat your high blood pressure, you put yourself at risk for serious health problems, including the following:

  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • stroke
  • vision loss

The good news is that high blood pressure can be treated. You can also prevent or stop the progression of many of the most serious problems it can cause. Making just a few changes to your lifestyle may be enough to reduce your blood pressure to a healthy level. The changes you may need to make include the following:

  • losing weight if you are overweight
  • eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • reducing your salt intake

Healthy habits may not always be enough to control high blood pressure, but making them is still worth the effort. Make healthy choices about what you eat and increase your activity. These actions can help you reduce the number of medicines you need to take and their dosages.