High blood pressure and alcohol

Q: I went to see my doctor a few days ago and my pressure was 175/118. She gave me hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg. I never had this problem before and I want to know if it is because I drink a lot of alcohol every day. I don’t want to take the med because of side effects. I’m only 33 and am too young to be on this med. What can I do to bring my BP down without the med?

A: Your blood pressure is in the range that needs treatment. Starting treatment with a diuretic is standard. You are young and can make lifestyle changes now that will greatly influence your health for the rest of your life. It is reasonable to stay on the diuretic until you have made all the appropriate lifestyle changes and your pressure is under control. At that time, you and your doctor could consider attempting to stop or lower your medication while carefully monitoring your blood pressure. Excessive drinking is very hard on the body. For information about alcoholism, click here.

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