If left untreated, high blood pressure (hypertension) can cause serious health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems. If your blood pressure gets too high, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce your risk of complications. Amlodipine (generic Norvasc) is one medication that is commonly prescribed to help lower blood pressure. As a calcium channel blocker, it works by relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow.
For many people with hypertension, amlodipine is a very effective form of treatment. There are a few lifestyle changes you can make while taking amlodipine to ensure you are getting the greatest possible benefit from it.
Regular aerobic exercise helps strengthen your heart, which in turn improves blood flow. Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps lower your blood pressure.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, ideally spread out in 20-30 minute workouts throughout the week. Examples of moderate aerobic activities include swimming, biking, jogging, brisk walking, dancing, and cleaning the house.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
Try to incorporate high-fiber foods--including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains—into your diet, since increased dietary fiber has been linked to a decrease in blood pressure for people with hypertension.
Reduce your sodium intake as much as possible (the AHA recommends fewer than 1,500mg per day). Sodium causes the body to hold onto excess fluid, which places strain on your heart.
You should also limit trans fats, saturated fats, red meat, and foods and drinks with added sugar. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t consume more calories than you can burn in a day. If you need more help establishing a low-calorie and heart-healthy diet, talk to your doctor or a professional dietitian.
Limit your alcohol consumption.
The AHA has another recommendation for people who drink and have high blood pressure: limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. One drink is 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
Take amlodipine exactly as prescribed.
To get the best benefits from amlodipine, take it regularly, at the same time every day. Follow your doctor’s dosage instructions carefully, since your dose will be tailored to your condition and response to treatment. Continue taking amlodipine even if you feel well; if you think you no longer need this medication, you should talk to your doctor before stopping your treatment.
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