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Being diagnosed with hypertension can be scary, and deciding about treatment confusing. What can you expect, after hearing you have chronic high blood pressure? Should you try natural remedies, or go straight for the blood pressure pills?

Discussing your treatment options, and what would happen if you received no treatment at all, with your doctor is best. When you understand your condition and the possible solutions, high blood pressure is not so frightening anymore. Here, we share one reader's story about hypertension. She's a woman in her forties and she tried natural remedies first, and is now on two different kinds of blood pressure medication.

I knew I had high blood pressure because I went to see the doctor for my biennial PAP test, and he took my blood pressure as well. It wasn't that high, but they wanted to keep an eye on it. I had to go for four check-ups in four weeks. It turned out that my blood pressure was consistently on the high side, but he showed me on a graph that my chances of dying from a hypertension-related disease like a brain hemorrhage or a heart attack were only three percent higher than for the average person. That is something I could live with. I was supposed to go back for a check-up six months later, but didn't. I did give up smoking in the meantime and watched my diet. Four years after the blood pressure alert, I started to have dubious symptoms. I didn't make the connection to hypertension right away but it got me thinking. I was suffering from bad heart palpitations, dizzy spells, headaches and pressure on the chest. When I went to see my doctor, my blood pressure had sky rocketed! It was at about 150/100. The doc started me off on diuretics but those were not effective enough. There was quite a lot of experimentation with different drugs before we found a combination that worked for me. All that took about a year. I am currently on diuretics and vein dilators. Natural remedies, like garlic and artichokes, have not worked at all for me. Believe me, I've tried! I am happy with the pills I am on now - apart from the peeing. But, when I skipped the piddle pills! While on holiday my blood pressure went right up again and I felt dreadful.

This reader's story shows that high blood pressure can indeed cause symptoms for some, but also that it is good to have regular medical checkups. It shows that the patient and doctor can work out the best treatment plan through teamwork, and sometimes experimentation. If your medication causes any side effects, or your blood pressure monitor at home shows no improvement, call your doctor.

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