What Medications Are Used To Treat High Blood Pressure
Four classes of high blood pressure medications are considered first line when starting treatment. Sometimes other medications are coupled with these first-line drugs to better control your high blood pressure. First-line, pressure-lowering medications are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors block the production of the angiotensin II hormone, which the body naturally uses to control blood pressure. When angiotensin II is blocked, your blood vessels dont narrow. Examples: lisinopril , enalapril or captopril.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers block this same hormone from binding with receptors in the blood vessels. ARBs work the same way as ACE inhibitors to keep blood vessels from narrowing. Examples: metoprolol , valsartan or losartan.
- Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels, allowing these vessels to relax. Examples: amlodipine , nifedipine , diltiazem .
- Diuretics flush excess sodium from your body, reducing the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill. Examples: indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide or chlorothiazide.
How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Blood pressure is defined as the amount of pressure that is exerted on the artery walls as blood moves through them. It is measured in millimetres of mercury, or mmHg.
A more detailed explanation is provided below.
Two measurements are used to measure blood pressure:
- Systolic pressure – the measure of blood pressure exerted when your heart beats and forces blood around your body.
- Diastolic pressure – the measure of blood pressure when your heart is resting in between beats.
Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are measured in millimetres of mercury .
The figures are usually represented with the systolic pressure first, followed by the diastolic pressure. Therefore, if your GP says that your blood pressure is ‘120 over 80’, or 120/80mmHg, they mean that you have a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.
Why Is It Important To Know If You Have High Blood Pressure
Early detection of high blood pressure is very important. Often referred to as the silent killer because it may show no symptoms, high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, heart failure, and stroke, among other things. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, more than 360,000 deaths in the United States included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause.
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What About Blood Pressure Thats Too Low
Low blood pressure is known as hypotension. In adults, a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or below is often considered hypotension.
Hypotension can be dangerous because blood pressure thats too low doesnt supply your body and heart with enough oxygenated blood.
Some potential causes of hypotension can include:
- heart problems
Lack Of Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to several health issues, including high blood pressure.
According to the AHA , physical activity can help a person lower their blood pressure. It can also improve their heart health and reduce their weight.
The AHA recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-intense physical activity, such as walking briskly, running, or bicycling.
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How Is High Blood Pressure Treated
Treatment for hypertension depends on how high your blood pressure is, as well as your lifestyle and risk factors.
For elevated blood pressure, the goal is to keep your blood pressure from developing into clinical hypertension. No medications are necessary at this stage. Your doctor may recommend:
- losing weight if you have overweight or obesity
For stage 1 hypertension, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes as mentioned above, as well as:
- reducing your sodium intake
- finding healthy ways to manage your stress
- medication, if your blood pressure doesnt improve after 1 month of lifestyle changes
For stage 2 hypertension, the typical treatment, in addition to a healthier lifestyle, is medication. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medications to help lower your blood pressure:
- ACE inhibitors to block substances that tighten blood vessels
- alpha blockers to help relax the arteries
- beta-blockers to decrease your heart rate and block substances that tighten blood vessels
- calcium channel blockers to relax blood vessels and decrease the work of your heart
- diuretics to decrease the amount of fluid in your body, including your blood vessels
A hypertensive crisis requires immediate treatment. Medications may be given orally or intravenously .
The most for a hypertensive crisis include:
- vasodilators, such as hydralazine, nitroglycerin, and nitroprusside
- beta-blockers, such as labetalol and esmolol
Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Disease
For many people, high blood pressure happens and does not cause symptoms. High blood pressure is often dubbed “the silent killer” because it can cause serious health problems before you notice and have a chance to make changes that could lower it and reduce your risk of complications.
This process happens over time. Any symptoms that you may have can be subtle and might even be dismissed as being related to other health conditions.
As your high blood pressure continues, gets worse, and starts to lead to complications in other parts of your body, you will start to notice more symptoms as more damage occursparticularly to your heart.
Symptoms that can be warning signs of heart disease include:
- Have a sudden and intense headache
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Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
How Common Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition, it is estimated that 18% of adult men and 13% of adult women have high blood pressure but are not getting treatment for it.
In 90-95% of cases, there is no single identifiable reason for a rise in blood pressure. But all available evidence shows that lifestyle plays a significant role in regulating your blood pressure.
Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- poor diet
- being overweight
- excessive alcohol consumption.
Also, for reasons not fully understood, people of Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origin are more likely to develop high blood pressure than other ethnic groups.
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Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
The only way to find out whether you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Ask your GP when you are next due for yours to be checked.
Before having your blood pressure taken, you should rest for at least five minutes and empty your bladder. To get an accurate blood pressure reading, you should be sitting down and not talking when the reading is taken.
Having one high blood pressure reading does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. Your blood pressure can change throughout the day. Feeling anxious or stressed when you visit your GP can raise your blood pressure .
Therefore, your GP will need to take several readings over a set period of time, usually every month, to see whether your blood pressure level is consistently high.
Blood and urine tests may also be carried out in order to check for conditions that are known to cause an increase in blood pressure, such as kidney infections.
You may also be given a blood pressure device to take home so that you can record your blood pressure level throughout the day. This also helps to identify white coat syndrome and therefore helps to identify the best treatment options for you.
What If Ive Made Heart
If you make diet and lifestyle that lower your blood pressure, you may be able to reduce or stop medications. For example, if you are carrying excess body weight and have high blood pressure, losing 5-10% can make a vast difference in your blood pressure numbers. You may be able to reduce the medication and eventually cease taking it altogether as you lose the weight that was causing your high blood pressure – with a doctorâs supervision.Similarly, if you increase the percentage of fiber from fruits and vegetables in your diet, you may have a big impact on your heart health.It is important to consult with your physician in these cases. While you may be healthier in some respects, this does not guarantee your high blood pressure is gone. Never stop taking medications simply because your readings are normal. Continue to track your blood pressure through daily monitoring and check in with your physician to see about trying to reduce it.
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What Defines High Blood Pressure
According to the American Heart Association, there are clear ranges of normal and abnormal blood pressure. A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure measured the pressure on artery walls while the heart is pumping blood. Diastolic measures the pressure during the rest in between beats.
- Normal blood pressure: 120 over 80
- Elevated blood pressure: 120-129 over less than 80
- Hypertension stage 1: 130-139 over 80-89
- Hypertension stage 2: 140 or higher over 90 or higher
- Hypertensive Crisis: higher than 180 over higher than 120
These numbers do not vary from person to person, no matter what other factors make them different.
Blood pressure can elevate due to a dramatic change in temperature or a moment of stress. For this reason, hypertension is not usually diagnosed by one reading. If when tested you present an elevated blood pressure, often you will test again a few minutes later. Official hypertension is usually diagnosed after a series of high readings. It is important to pay attention to your blood pressure measurements and you should check it often if your blood pressure is high.
What Are The Symptoms
One of the sneaky things about high blood pressure is that you can have it for a long time without symptoms. That’s why it is important for you have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
If you do have symptoms, they may be:
Although it happens rarely, the first symptom may be a stroke.
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Measuring Ambulatory Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can also be diagnosed through a special device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. A doctor, nurse or pharmacist will get you to wear the device for a full day. The device measures blood pressure every 20 to 30 minutes and gives the doctor an average of your blood pressures during the day and while you are sleeping. These devices are not available everywhere and can be uncomfortable to wear.
What Considered Dangerous Hypertension
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is difficult to diagnose without regular checkups. For this reason, people call it as the silent killer.
Check the range of healthy blood pressure and learn more about what puts you at risk for hypertension to prevent life-threatening issues. If this disease happened to you, read on to learn about hypertensive crisis and how a medical ID bracelet can save your life.
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Which Number Is More Important
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.
However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
High Blood Pressure Treatment
The best way to lower blood pressure begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower your blood pressure. These are called antihypertensive medicines.
The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to normal levels. Your doctor may prescribe medicine thats easy to take and has few, if any, side effects. This treatment is highly successful. If your blood pressure can only be controlled with medicine, youll need to take the medicine for the rest of your life. It is common to need more than one medicine to help control your blood pressure. Dont stop taking the medicine without talking with your doctor. Otherwise, you may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
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So You Have High Blood Pressure What Else Could Be Wrong
If you have high blood pressure, get checked for diabetes and high cholesterol. Most people who have high blood pressure also have some of the other risks for heart disease and stroke, such as not getting enough physical activity, having unhealthy eating habits, smoking, being overweight or drinking too much alcohol. Ask your doctor to test your kidney function through a blood and urine test, and through the electrolytes in your blood kidney problems can cause high blood pressure.
Your High Blood Pressure Disability Case
If you are claiming Social Security disability benefits based on high blood pressure, you should secure the services of an attorney who is familiar with the Social Security system in your state. Social Security lawyers can help you present the evidence for your claim in a manner which is more likely to be approved by the SSA.
A Social Security attorney can help you, even if you have already been denied benefits. Whether you are just starting the process of making a disability claim, or have received a denial and are unsure how to proceed through the appeals process, your Social security lawyer can provide immeasurable help. Your initial consultation is free and your disability attorney will only collect if your claim is ultimately awarded.
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Endocrine And Kidney Causes
The endocrine system is composed of a collection of glands that secrete hormones directly into the circulatory system. These hormones are able to target distant organs, helping to regulate physiology and behavior. The thyroid gland is one of these endocrine structures and it can produce abnormal levels of hormones that lead to elevations of diastolic blood pressure. Problems with the kidney, such as renal failure, are also a common reason for blood pressure increases.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
For years we have been told that a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 however, more and more doctors have now lowered these numbers to 115/75. Blood pressure is different for everyone as many factors can have an effect on the numbers.
Our blood pressure refers to the amount of force behind the blood as it hits the arterial walls. As the heart pumps the blood, an ideal pressure sees the blood push against the walls that are flexible enough to expand and retract easily. Over time, our age, diet, and physical activity play a role on the elasticity of our blood vessels. With a loss of flexibility due to hardening of the walls, the heart needs to work harder to push the blood.
These factors determine the blood pressure numbers. The systolic number is the top number, and it indicates the pressure as the heart beats or pushes the blood throughout the body. The diastolic number is the bottom number, and refers to the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. During this time, the heart receives oxygen as it fills with blood.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Provider
- Are there supplements or non-prescription medicines that I shouldnt take?
- Can I keep taking these medicines if I get pregnant?
- What kinds of exercise should I do?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you dont treat high blood pressure, it can put you at risk for developing serious illnesses later in life such as heart attack, kidney failure and stroke. But if you follow your providers instructions, you can control your blood pressure. Be sure to take any medicines your provider ordered as instructed. Keep taking them even if your blood pressure numbers begin to fall into the normal range. Living a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, watching your weight and getting regular exercise is also a great way to help control your blood pressure.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/21/2021.
Medical Evidence To Submit To Social Security
While a hypertension diagnosis alone will not qualify you for benefits, no matter how high your blood pressure is, your medical records should reflect this diagnosis. Additionally, your disability claim file should include the following:
- records of all blood pressure readings taken by your doctor or yourself
- results of any other tests that you were given
- reports indicating what treatments you have tried, including lifestyle remedies and medications, and what the outcome was
- your doctorâs notes regarding your reports of any symptoms you experience due to your hypertension, and
- complete medical records on any other condition that impacts your ability to work.
After you file a disability application, you will be notified of your claims examinerâs name and phone number via mail. You may receive other paperwork to complete, and you could also be called for a telephone interview or sent to a medical examination at the SSAâs expense.
Once a decision has been made on your claim, which usually takes 3-4 months, you will be notified via mail. It is not unheard of for it to take much longer for this decision to come, but you can check with your claims examiner with any questions.
Should your Social Security disability claim be denied, you will be able to appeal the decision by filing a Request for Reconsideration. If your reconsideration is denied, youâll be able to request a hearing.
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