Health Watch - Preventing Hypertension: Medical Intervention

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about high blood pressure. Previously, we discussed some risk factors, such as family history and ethnic group. People at risk are encouraged to make lifestyle changes to prevent high blood pressure. People showing early signs of developing high blood pressure may need even more intervention.

When blood pressure reaches the stage of pre-hypertension, doctors encourage patients to eat less salt, lose weight and exercise. But Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, a hypertension expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says most people don’t stick to these changes in the long term. Her research has found that treating people in the pre-hypertensive stage with medication can help prevent high blood pressure from developing, even after patients quit taking the medication. The medication appears to keep blood vessels from getting thicker so that hypertension doesn’t develop.

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September 2010


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