Eat Some Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate lovers: Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure.
But the dark chocolate should be 60 to 70 percent cacao. A review of studies on dark chocolate has found that eating one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and inflammation.
The benefits are thought to come from the flavonoids present in chocolate with more cocoa solids. The flavonoids help dilate, or widen, your blood vessels .
Cut Back On Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates
Sugar, especially fructose, may increase your blood pressure more than salt, according to one 2014 review. In trials lasting at least 8 weeks, sugar increased blood pressure by 5.6 mm Hg diastolic and 6.9 mm Hg systolic .
A 2020 study that compared various popular diets found that for people who with more weight or obesity, low carb and low fat diets lowered their diastolic blood pressure by an average of about 5 mm Hg and their systolic blood pressure 3 mm Hg after 6 months .
Another benefit of a low carb, low sugar diet is that you feel fuller longer, because youre consuming more protein and fat.
Other Benefits Of Statins
According to the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, statins may do more for your arteries than just lower cholesterol. It suggests that statins can help reduce the risk of narrowed arteries. They do this by keeping the muscle lining of the arteries healthy.
They can also reduce the deposits of fibrin in the arteries. Fibrin is a type of protein involved in blood clot formation.
According to the Archives of Internal Medicine , even with modest improvement in blood pressure from statin use, the risk of heart attack and stroke will still diminish. Anything that helps reduce your risk even a little is welcome, especially if youre at high risk for a cardiovascular event.
Eat Garlic Or Take Garlic Extract Supplements
Fresh garlic or garlic extract are both widely used to lower blood pressure.
A meta-analysis found that for people with high blood pressure, garlic supplements reduced their systolic blood pressure by up to about 5 mm Hg and reduced their diastolic blood pressure as much as 2.5 mm Hg .
According to a 2009 clinical study, a time-release garlic extract preparation may have a greater effect on blood pressure than regular garlic powder tablets .
How Do Blood Pressure Medicines Work
Blood pressure medicines can work several different ways. Blood pressure medicines can keep blood pressure at a healthy level by1:
- Causing your body to get rid of water, which decreases the amount of water and salt in your body to a healthy level
- Relaxing your blood vessels
- Making your heart beat with less force
- Blocking nerve activity that can restrict your blood vessels
Talk with your health care team about the best type of treatment for you. You may need to take more than one type of medicine to control your blood pressure. You can also talk to your health care team about how long it should take your blood pressure medicine to work.
It is important to take your blood pressure medicine exactly as your doctor tells you to. Do not stop taking your current medicine without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first. Stopping your blood pressure medicine without first talking to your health care team could lead to serious health consequences.
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Treating For Multiple Conditions
The type of blood pressure medication your doctor prescribes may depend on what other health problems you have. For example, if you have coronary artery disease and high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe a beta-blocker. If you have had a myocardial infarction due to CAD, a beta-blocker can lower your blood pressure and decrease your overall risk of death.
If you have diabetes, your doctor may choose an ACE inhibitor or an ARB. Thats because these drugs can help protect the kidneys from diabetic damage by lowering the blood pressure in your kidneys.
High Blood Pressure Medications
Treating high blood pressure will help prevent problems such as heart disease, stroke, loss of eyesight, chronic kidney disease, and other blood vessel diseases.
You may need to take medicines to lower your blood pressure if lifestyle changes are not enough to bring your blood pressure to the target level.
WHEN ARE MEDICINES FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE USED
Most of the time, your health care provider will try lifestyle changes first and check your BP two or more times.
If your blood pressure is 120/80 to 129/80 mm Hg, you have elevated blood pressure.
- Your provider will recommend lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down to a normal range.
- Medicines are rarely used at this stage.
If your blood pressure is equal to or higher than 130/80 but lower than 140/90 mm Hg, you have Stage 1 high blood pressure. When thinking about the best treatment, you and your provider must consider:
- If you have no other diseases or risk factors, your provider may recommend lifestyle changes and repeat the measurements after a few months.
- If your blood pressure remains equal to or higher than 130/80 but lower than 140/90 mm Hg, your provider may recommend medicines to treat high blood pressure.
- If you have other diseases or risk factors, your provider may be more likely to recommend medicines at the same time as lifestyle changes.
MEDICINES FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Most of the time, only a single drug will be used at first. Two drugs may be started if you have stage 2 high blood pressure.
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High Blood Pressure In Older People
The target blood pressure reading for the over-80s is below 150/90 mmHg when it’s measured in the clinic or surgery, and below 145/85 mmHg for home readings.
While there are definite benefits from taking medicines to reduce blood pressure if you’re under the age of 80, it’s less clear it’s useful if you’re over 80.
It’s now thought that if you reach 80 while you’re taking medicine for high blood pressure, it’s fine to continue treatment provided it’s still helping you and is not causing side effects.
If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure and you’re aged over 80, your doctor will also consider your other health risk factors when deciding whether to give you treatment for the high blood pressure.
Page last reviewed: 23 October 2019 Next review due: 23 October 2022
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.
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Which Medication Is Most Suitable
Different medications will be more suitable for different people, depending on various factors. These include how old you are and whether you have any other medical conditions, such as coronary artery disease, heart failure or . Your sex and skin color may also play a role.
Many people only have to take one type of medication to successfully lower their blood pressure. Others may also need a second or third medicine. Using a combination of medicines is more effective because each one works in a different way. If you take several antihypertensive medications, it can be a good idea to take one of them in the evening especially if your blood pressure doesn’t dip at night, either.
The effect of the medication can only be reliably assessed if you take it as prescribed by your doctor. A little patience is needed: It might sometimes seem like medication isn’t working if the dose is too low or it hasn’t been used for long enough.
If you decide to stop taking medication for instance due to troubling side effects or if you sometimes forget to take it, you should be honest with your doctor about it. He or she will then be better able to assess how successful the treatment is and what side effects it has. This is important in order to make sure that you are using the right dose and are only taking as much medication as you really need.
Check With Your Doctor
Of course, people can use a pill splitter to divide most of these pills into halves or quarters. But don’t do this on your own, cautions Dr. Gibson. This is especially important for people who have heart disease, because blood pressure medications are the cornerstone therapy for treating many heart conditions, including heart rhythm disorders and heart failure.
But if you don’t have heart disease, it’s worth asking your doctor about the possibility of lowering your blood pressure medication dose. “Ideally, people should be prescribed the lowest effective dose of any medication they take,” says Dr. Gibson. During any routine office visit, be sure to review all your current medications with your physician and discuss any side effects you are experiencing.
But reaching that lower goal leaves people more prone to side effects especially fatigue, dizziness, and fainting, which can occur when blood pressure dips too low, says Dr. Gibson. Also, each class of blood pressure medication has its own side effects. For instance, some diuretics can cause excessive urination, although this usually improves after a few weeks. However, other side effects such as erectile dysfunction from beta blockers, leg swelling from certain calcium-channel blockers, and cough from ACE inhibitors tend to persist. When these occur, doctors often switch the person to a different class of blood pressure drug.
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How Do Doctors Decide On The Best Blood Pressure Medication
When choosing from these classes, your doctor will consider many factors, including your other health conditions and your race.
For example, African American people seem to benefit most from starting treatment with a thiazide diuretic or a calcium channel blocker, studies suggest. However, someone with diabetes may benefit more from using an ACE inhibitor.
About High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, you are one of about 116 million people in the United States who also have it.
However, many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because there are usually no obvious symptoms. Over time, the condition can lead to life threatening complications such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke without producing any warning signs. This is why high blood pressure gets the name silent killer.
The only way to know your blood pressure is to measure it. Getting a blood pressure reading is a common procedure during a doctors visit. You can also measure your blood pressure at a pharmacy or at home with a blood pressure monitor.
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 millimeters of mercury . Blood pressure that is consistently above normal may indicate high blood pressure.
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Medications For High Blood Pressure
Other names: Drug-Induced Hypertension
High blood pressure is a term that is used to acknowledge that a persons blood pressure is above what is considered normal. High blood pressure is also called hypertension.
Measuring somebody’s blood pressure gives us an indication of how effectively their heart is working to pump blood around their body. If their heart and blood vessels are working efficiently, then their blood pressure will be normal or slightly below normal. If their heart is having to work very hard to pump blood around their body, then their blood pressure will be high.
Blood pressure is composed of two measurements.
- The first recording is called the systolic pressure and it measures the force the heart must pump against to get blood to flow around the body. It can indicate how flexible or stiff the blood vessels are. During this measurement, the blood pressure cuff inflates to a certain extent and records what pressure around the arm stops blood flow.
- The second recording is called diastolic pressure. This measures the resting pressure when the heart relaxes between heartbeats. It is recorded while the blood pressure cuff is deflating.
Most experts consider a normal blood pressure to be 120/80 mm Hg. Ideally, everybodys blood pressure should be below 130/80 mm Hg. If the first number is above 130 or the second number is above 80 then a person is said to have high blood pressure.
How Is High Blood Pressure Treated
Treatment depends on how high your blood pressure is. For people whose systolic reading falls in the range 120 to 129 and the diastolic reading is equal to or less than 80, lifestyle changes are usually recommended over medications. These may include:
- Losing weight if you are overweight
- Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Eating less salt
- More physical activity
- Limiting alcohol.
If treatment is considered necessary, sometimes more than one medication is prescribed. Medications for high blood pressure include:
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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
What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Blood Pressure Medicines
The benefits of blood pressure medicines are clear: Blood pressure medicines can help you keep your blood pressure at healthy levels and therefore greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
In general, the risks of taking blood pressure medicines are low. However, all medicines have risks. Talk with your doctor or health care professional about the risks of high blood pressure medicines.
Do not stop taking your current medicine without talking to your doctor or health care professional first.
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What Are Other Ways I Can Lower My Blood Pressure
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.
Top 10 High Blood Pressure Medications
Drugs that treat high blood pressure are known as antihypertensives. Blood pressure medications work by:
- reducing the amount of water and salt in your body
- causing the blood vessels to relax to keep them from narrowing
- hampering nerve activity that causes blood vessels to restrict
- lowering your heart rate and helping it beat with less force
There are several classes of antihypertensive medications, and each class includes several drug options. Your doctor will work with you to find the best treatment plan.
The following list provides the top 10 blood pressure medications by prescriptions written. The list includes a brief description of each drug, including its class, how to take it, and what it treats. The next section provides more information on drug classes.
The most common high blood pressure medications by total prescriptions written include:
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