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HomeExclusiveHow Does High Blood Pressure Medicine Work

How Does High Blood Pressure Medicine Work

Evolving Treatment For High Blood Pressure

Introduction to High Blood Pressure Medication â Nephrology:Foundations | Lecturio

The findings presented today reflect a growing trend in U.S. healthcare that emphasizes greater importance on maintaining a healthy blood pressure range.

New scientific guidelines presented last year identified high blood pressure readings as 130/80. High blood pressure was previously defined as 140/90.

That announcement made waves, as it suddenly put 46 percent of U.S. adults in the high blood pressure category.

The treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure, has evolved, Yancy said. New evidence makes clear that we can reduce the risk of stroke and death due to heart disease by carefully controlling blood pressure in those at higher heart disease risk.

For people with high blood pressure, theres a range of other approved medications available that may be safer and more effective than alpha-blockers and alpha-2 agonists.

Both Yancy and Clements point out that those medications include:

  • thiazide diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • calcium channel blockers
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers

These therapies are all safe and effective, said Yancy.

Everyone should know their blood pressure. If it is 130/80 mm Hg, see a healthcare provider to determine your risk for heart disease and the best approach to address your blood pressure, he said.

But medications arent the only answer for people with high blood pressure.

How Do Fish Lower Blood Pressure

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Choosing A Blood Pressure Medication

There are 4 main types of blood pressure medications, as well as many other less common ones. They work in different ways to lower your blood pressure, and you may need more than one.

Because everybody is unique, treatment of HBP should be based on more than just the HBP itself. The right blood pressure medication for you may come down to factors like health conditions, your race, or side effects. Pregnancy can also affect your choice, as some blood pressure medications can harm a developing baby.

Youll also want to consider cost and insurance coverage as this may affect how easy it is for you to stick to your treatment.

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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed

A single reading showing high blood pressure doesn’t mean that you have hypertension. Sometimes, blood pressure needs to be checked several times over a period of days or weeks to know if someone has hypertension. Your doctor will probably weigh and measure you. He or she might do urine tests or blood tests to check for other conditions that can cause hypertension.

Some people have what’s called “white coat hypertension.” This means that their blood pressure goes up when they’re at a doctor’s office because they’re nervous. When they feel more relaxed, their blood pressure usually goes down. To make sure high blood pressure readings aren’t caused by anxiety, doctors will sometimes track a person’s blood pressure over a whole day. This is called ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.

How Long Is Medication Needed For

How does Hypertension work and what can you do?

In most cases, medication is needed for life. However, in some people whose blood pressure has been well controlled for three years or more, medication may be able to be stopped. In particular, this may be possible for people who have made significant changes to lifestyle . Your doctor can advise you.

If you stop medication, you should have regular blood pressure checks. In some cases the blood pressure remains normal. However, in others it starts to rise again. If this happens, medication can then be started again.

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Best Time Of Day To Take Blood Pressure Medications

Labels on prescription drugs often tell you to take a tablet “once a day” without specifying the best time of day to take themand in some cases timing doesn’t matter. With blood pressure medications, however, it can matter when you take them. The best time of day to take blood pressure drugs varies depending on which ones you take , as well on your reason for taking them and any other health issues you may have.

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What Do John And Henry Decide

Together with their doctors, John and Henry have each found out their risk of cardiovascular disease and talked about the next steps.


  • has decided not to use antihypertensive medication. He feels healthy and doesn’t want to have to take medicine every day especially since his risk of developing blood-pressure-related health problems would only decrease by 2%. Also, he thinks that his lifestyle is already pretty healthy: He runs several races a year, eats a balanced diet and doesn’t drink much alcohol. He tells himself: “If my blood pressure suddenly goes up in a few years, I can still start taking medication then.”


  • has decided to take medication, but also wants to make a serious attempt to quit smoking. The numbers that his doctor has described to him have made him think things over. He considers a probability of 33% of developing long-term health problems to be very high. When he asked about possible side effects, his doctor assured him that most people tolerate antihypertensive medication quite well.

John and Henry’s cases show that deciding whether or not to use medication for blood pressure is a matter of individual choice as well.

What Are Other Ways I Can Lower My Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure: What You Need to Know About Medications

In addition to taking medicine to control your blood pressure, you can take other steps to help keep your blood pressure levels healthy.

  • Get regular physical activity. Staying physically active is one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity helps keep your heart and blood vessels strong. It also can help you keep a healthy weight.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking damages your blood vessels and greatly increases your risk of not only high blood pressure but also heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Eat healthy foods. Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you avoid high blood pressure and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep a healthy weight. Having overweight or obesity means your heart must work harder to pump blood and oxygen around the body. Staying at a healthy weight reduces the stress on your heart and reduces your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

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What Lower High Blood Pressure

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What Is High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is defined as the pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries. While its normal for blood pressure rates to rise and fall over the course of a day, consistently high blood pressure levels are an issue.

There are two kinds of hypertension:

  • Primary hypertension is the most common. It develops gradually with no discernible cause, but it may be linked to genetics, physical changes in the body, or high body weight.
  • Secondary hypertension comes on quickly and can be more serious. It has a number of causes, including kidney disease, congenital heart defects, thyroid issues, alcohol consumption, and certain medications and stimulants, like cocaine and amphetamines.

Since hypertension is often a silent condition, you may not experience symptoms until the condition has developed in severity. At that point, symptoms may include:

  • headaches
  • changes in vision
  • blood in the urine

If youre experiencing these kinds of symptoms, its important to seek medical attention right away.

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Reason: You Might Not Be Taking Medications Correctly Or You Could Be Taking Otherdrugs That Interfere

With complicated dosingschedules, people can forget to take medications or not take the correct dosesat the correct times.

Also, other drugs caninterfere with blood pressure control, including pain relievers , oralcontraceptives and nasal decongestants. Thats why its good to bring all ofyour pill bottles, including over-the-counter medications or vitamins, to yourappointments.

Finding The Right Blood Pressure Medications For You

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How blood pressure medicines work

Your body is constantly working to keep your blood pressure under control. There are receptors in your blood vessel walls which detect when your blood pressure is too high or low. In response, your nerves, hormones and kidneys all play a role in bringing it back to a safe level.

Over time, your blood pressure can creep up for a number of reasons, including an unhealthy lifestyle, and medications can help to bring it back down. They do this by acting on the ways your body controls blood pressure. Some affect the nerves or hormones which send signals to your blood vessel walls, telling them to relax or contract, while some affect the kidneys, causing them to remove excess salt and water from the blood.

Taking more than one medicine

Taking a combination of different medicines can work better than taking one, because they work in different ways. Taking a low dose of two medications rather than a high dose of one, can also help to avoid side effects, as side effects can sometimes be caused by the dose.

Sometimes a medication will work well to begin with, but with time your blood pressure might creep up again. You may then need to take another medicine alongside it which works in a different way.

Choosing a medicine to suit you

Which medications will be suitable for you depends on a number of things, including your:

Finding the right combination of medicines

Simplifying your medicines

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S You Can Take To Overcome Resistant Hypertension

Dr. Thomas offers eight tips for managing hypertension. If you do these things, youll know youre doing all you can to help:

  • Make sure youre taking your hypertension medication correctly and at the scheduled time.
  • If your medication is causing unpleasant side effects, talk to your doctor about alternatives dont just stop taking it.
  • Follow a low-sodium diet .
  • Follow the DASH diet, which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.
  • Exercise regularly but talk to your doctor first if its been awhile since you were physically active. Easing into an exercise program slowly can be your best bet.
  • Limit the amount of processed foods you eat theyre usually high in sodium.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Learn to check your blood pressure at home. Ask your doctor to help you create a monitoring schedule. Log the results and bring them to your doctors appointments. Have your blood pressure machine checked for accuracy at least once a year.
  • Managing hypertension isnt always easy, but making these changes is worth the effort. They will go a long way toward reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

    Reason: You Or Your Doctors Office Could Be Making Mistakes In Testing

    Sometimes, people makemistakes in testing at home. Bring your home unit to your appointment and showit to your doctor to make sure its operating correctly. Make sure your armcuff is the right size for you. When you take readings at home, start bysitting quietly for five minutes. Then, be sure your back is supported, yourfeet are on the ground, and your arm is at heart level to get an accurate bloodpressure reading.

    Misreadings can also happenat your doctors office, says Dr. Thomas. The cuff might be the wrong size, orthey might be taking a reading before youre fully at rest.

    To get a more accuratereading, Dr. Thomas takes six blood pressure readings in a row, each one minuteapart, using an automated blood pressure machine. He or his staff observes thefirst reading but then youre alone in the room for the remaining fivereadings. They use the average of the last five readings to get the result.

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    When Treatment Is Recommended

    Everyone with high blood pressure is advised to make healthy lifestyle changes.

    Whether medicine is also recommended depends on your blood pressure reading and your risk of developing problems such as heart attacks or strokes.

    Your doctor will carry out some blood and urine tests, and ask questions about your health to determine your risk of other problems:

    • if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg , but your risk of other problems is low you’ll be advised to make some changes to your lifestyle
    • if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg and your risk of other problems is high you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
    • if your blood pressure is consistently above 160/100mmHg you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes

    How Does Your Individual Risk Influence Your Use Of Medication

    Blood Pressure Medication Management

    Blood pressure medicine can lower the ten-year risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 to 30% of the initial individual risk. For the men in our example, reducing their risks by 20% would mean the following:

    • If John takes antihypertensive medication, his risk of having a heart attack or stroke is lowered by 2%: from 11 to 9%. In other words: Strokes or heart attacks are prevented in 2 out of 100 men like John if they take medication for ten years.
    • For Henry, a risk reduction of 20% means that the likelihood that he has a heart attack or a stroke drops by 7%: from 33 to 26%. Because Henry’s initial risk is much greater than John’s, he also benefits more from treatment with medication.

    This illustration shows the difference:

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    Combination Blood Pressure Medications

    Two or more blood pressure medications can be combined into a single pill. These combination drugs are more convenient and make it easier to take blood pressure medications. The drawback? This can make it more difficult to adjust the dose of either medication independently of the other.

    Examples of popular combination BP medications:

    • Azor

    • Exforge HCT

    • Lotensin HCT


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