Keeping Kidneys Safe: Smart Choices About Medicines
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ACE inhibitors and ARBs are two types of blood pressure medicine that may slow the loss of kidney function and delay kidney failure. You can tell if youre taking one of these medicines by its generic name. ACE inhibitors end in pril and ARBs have generic names that end in sartan for example, lisinopril and losartan.
You may also take a diuretic, sometimes called a water pill, to meet your blood pressure goals.
The information below explains
- actions you can take to keep your kidneys safe while taking these blood pressure medicines
- why you sometimes need to take special care with medicines for example, when youre sick, dehydrated, or thinking about whether or not to take an over-the-counter medicine
Be Careful About Using Over
If you take OTC or prescription medicines for headaches, pain, fever, or colds, you may be taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug . NSAIDs include popular pain relievers and cold medicines that can damage your kidneys if you take them for a long time, or lead to acute kidney injury if you take them when you are dehydrated or your blood pressure is low.
You also can look for NSAIDs on Drug Facts labels like the one below.
How Do You Lower Blood Pressursigns Of High Blood Pressure
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How Is Resistant Hypertension Diagnosed
- Full history and physical exam, which includes letting your doctor know about all medications and supplements, whether they are prescription, over-the-counter, herbal or recreational. Its important to mention if you skip doses of daily medicines.
- True measurement of your blood pressure using correct technique and calibrated equipment.
- Home blood pressure measurement during the day and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to record your blood pressure throughout a regular day. It may be used if your physician suspects your blood pressure readings in the office dont tell the whole story.
- Tests for secondary conditions, which may include special blood work and imaging studies. Identifying and treating these conditions may eliminate hypertension or at least make it more treatable.
- Tests for organ damage caused by hypertension, which may include:
- Electrocardiogram to measure your hearts size and rhythm
- Echocardiogram to measure your hearts size and function
- Fundoscopic eye exam to check for damaged blood vessels inside the eye these tiny blood vessels come in from the brain and are a unique opportunity for your doctor to judge the health of similar blood vessels in your brain, heart and kidneys
- Urinalysis to check for kidney damage
- Other blood tests
Finding The Right Blood Pressure Medications For You
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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Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure
How much exercise you need to control your blood pressure without medication will vary based on your age, race, weight and all risk factors. The American Heart Association recommends 150 to 200 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise, she said.
The recommendations break down to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Adding in strength training two days a week is also a good idea.
I do have the occasional patient who changes jobs or retires and suddenly we have their blood pressure under control, she said.
What You Need To Know
- Twenty percent of patients with hypertension are resistant.
- Resistant hypertension may have no symptoms at all for months or years, but then can cause heart attack, stroke, and vision and kidney damage.
- Some people have pseudoresistant hypertension, which is caused by other factors, such as conflicting medications or white coat hypertension .
- Pseudoresistant hypertension is important to diagnose and treat.
- Assessment and treatment of resistant hypertension includes addressing any identifiable conditions or causes and adjusting medications in a personalized way.
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Look For Warnings Related To High Blood Pressure Or Hbp Medication
Always read the labels on all over-the-counter medications, especially if you have high blood pressure . Look for warnings to those with high blood pressure and to those who take blood pressure medications. If you have high blood pressure and certainly if you are on prescription medication, consult your healthcare professional before taking any OTC medications or supplements.
How Do Pain Relief Drugs Work
In a certain way, all pain is in your head. When we feel pain, it’s the result of an electrical signal being sent from the nerves in a part of your body to your brain.
But the whole process isn’t electrical. When tissue is injured , the cells release certain chemicals in response. These chemicals cause inflammation and amplify the electrical signal coming from the nerves. As a result, they increase the pain you feel.
Painkillers work by blocking the effects of these pain chemicals. The problem is that you can’t focus most pain relievers specifically on your headache or bad back. Instead, it travels through your whole body. This can cause some unexpected side effects.
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How Is Resistant Hypertension Treated
Treatment options for resistant hypertension or pseudo-resistant hypertension depend on your underlying conditions and how well you tolerate various medications. Treatments include:
- Addressing any conditions that may have caused the hypertension.
- Making lifestyle changes
- Adjusting medications to find your optimal type and dosage
Other Options For Pain Relief
Of course, painkillers aren’t the only answer for many of life’s aches and pains. Many effective and safe alternatives don’t have any side effects at all.
- Ice packs, for acute injuries like a sprained ankle, can keep down swelling and ease pain.
- Heat — with a hot towel or heating pad — can be helpful for treating chronic overuse injuries.
- Physical activity can help reduce some kinds of discomfort, such as arthritis pain.
- Relaxation — with techniques like yoga or meditation — may reduce pain. Biofeedback may help as well. These approaches are best for pain that’s amplified by stress, like tension headaches.
- Nontraditional techniques with low risks — like acupuncture — benefit some people.
So remember: Pain relief doesn’t only come from a pill bottle.
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Are There Any High Blood Pressure Medicines That Can Be Bought Over
The short answer is: No. There are no FDA-approved medicines to treat high blood pressure that do not require a prescription. This is for a very good reason. Attempting to self-medicate high blood pressure without medical supervision runs the risk of sending your blood pressure too low, which can result in dizziness, fainting, and falls that can lead to injury. Additionally, severe low blood pressure could send your body into shock which can be life-threatening.
Self-medicating for hypertension could also have dangerous consequences due to interactions with medications that you are already taking, or worsen any existing health issues.
However, there are some supplements that may lower blood pressure, and it might be tempting to try taking them if you can’t get to a doctor or can’t afford a more expensive prescription.
How Long After You Take Blood Pressure Medication Is It Most Effective
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Stiffening Of The Arteries
Some physicians consider the most authentic form of pseudo-resistant hypertension to be caused by stiffened brachial arteries that prevent the blood pressure cuff from obtaining a true reading. If your doctor suspects this form of pseudo-resistant hypertension, they might consider other ways to measure your blood pressure.
What Are The Side Effects Of Blood Pressure Medicines
Most of the time, blood pressure medicines do not cause side effects. Some people have mild side effects, including dizziness, headaches, swelling in the legs or feet, or stomach problems.2
Some over-the-counter medicines, such as nasal decongestants, can also raise blood pressure and interact with blood pressure medicines.3 Tell your doctor about any medicines or supplements you are already taking.
All medicines have risks. Talk with your doctor about the best blood pressure medicines for you, their benefits, risks, and side effects, and any other health problems you may have.
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Alternatives To High Blood Pressure Medication
Discover safe and side-effect-free alternatives to high blood pressure medication. What’s proven effective? What isn’t?
About 1 in 3 U.S. adults has hypertension, or high blood pressure. Many are treated with drugs but wonder: “Is this my only option?” Find out about alternatives to taking blood pressure medication. What’s proven effective? What isn’t?
Scott H hated being on medications. The 59-year-old electrical engineer from Los Angeles was taking three different pills to lower his blood pressure.
They worked, somewhat. His blood pressure was 130/85, lower than his pre-medication numbers, but still not low enough.
What Is The Best High Blood Pressure Medication
Selecting the “best” high blood pressure medication depends on several things, including the general health of the patient, his or her age, ethnicity, and whether or not they have any co-existing medical issues or drug sensitivities.
For example, in a hypertensive patient with asthma, it may be inadvisable to prescribe a beta-blocker, as these drugs can aggravate that respiratory condition. Similarly, in patients prone to constipation use of certain calcium channel blockers might best be avoided — along with diuretics — as both these classes of drugs can inhibit proper bowel function.
African-American patients respond to some antihypertensive medications better than others.
Certain groups of patients require the use of a specific class of high blood pressure medication. These include:
- The drug of choice for hypertensive, pregnant women is one of the oldest high blood pressure medications on the market. Methyldopa, which works to lower blood pressure through the central nervous system, has the lowest risk of harming the mother and developing the fetus.
- Other possible safe options include labetalol, beta-blockers, and diuretics.
- Two classes of drugs that should never be used during pregnancy include ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers.
With age, comes an increased risk for systolic hypertension which can be aggravated by severe atherosclerosis.
Medicines For High Blood Pressure
Several types of medicine can be used to help control high blood pressure.
Many people need to take a combination of different medicines.
- if you’re under 55 years of age you’ll usually be offered an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin-2 receptor blocker
- if you’re aged 55 or older, or you’re any age and of African or Caribbean origin you’ll usually be offered a calcium channel blocker
You may need to take blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. But your doctor might be able to reduce or stop your treatment if your blood pressure stays under control for several years.
It’s really important to take your medicine as directed. If you miss doses, it will not work as well.
The medicine will not necessarily make you feel any different, but this does not mean it’s not working.
Medicines used to treat high blood pressure can have side effects, but most people do not get any.
If you do get side effects, do not stop taking your medicine. Talk to your doctor, who may advise changing your medicine.
What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, typically refers to blood pressure that is 140/90 or above. Blood pressure of 180/120 is considered severe hypertension.
The first number is your systolic blood pressure, which is your blood pressure when your heart beats while pumping blood. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure, which is your blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
For reference, normal blood pressure for adults is around 120/80, and this can increase when youre excited, scared, or active, but should return to normal fairly quickly.
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Types Of Blood Pressure Medicines
There are four main types of medicine to lower blood pressure.
- . ACE inhibitors help to control hormones that play a role in blood pressure control. They help the blood vessels to relax and widen, lowering blood pressure. Most have names that end in pril, for example, enalapril, lisinopril, perindopril and Ramipril.
- . These work in a similar way to ACE inhibitors, controlling the hormones that affect blood pressure, so you probably wont take ACE inhibitors and ARBs at the same time. Theyre usually used if ACE inhibitors are causing side effects. Most have names that end in artan, for example, candesartan, irbesartan, losartan, valsartan and olmesartan.
- . These allow the artery walls to relax, making them wider. This allows more blood to pass through, lowering blood pressure. Most have names that end in pine , for example, amlodipine, felodipine and nifedipine.
- . These are sometimes known as water pills because they remove excess fluid from the body, including from the blood. This means there is less pressure on the blood vessel walls. Most have names that end in ide, for example, indapamide and bendroflumethiazide.
Sometimes these medications wont be suitable, for example if youre pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have certain other health problems, or youre taking other medications which could react with them.
Alternatively, you might need to take another type of medication as well to lower your blood pressure enough.
The other medications available include: