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Blood Pressure Lowering Medicine

What is blood pressure lowering medicine used for?

There are several different types of medicine that can treat high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and can weaken the blood vessels. If it is not treated, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, vision loss, and kidney failure.

Sometimes lifestyle changes are all you need to lower your blood pressure. The changes may include weight loss, having less salt in your diet, and more physical activity. If these changes don’t lower your blood pressure enough, your healthcare provider may prescribe one or more types of blood pressure medicine.

How does it work?

The different types of blood pressure medicine lower blood pressure in different ways.

  • Diuretics help your body get rid of extra salt (sodium) and water. They are also called water pills.
  • Beta blockers slow the heart rate. Some beta blockers also relax and open up blood vessels, which helps blood flow more easily.
  • Vasodilators, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and calcium channel blockers relax and open up narrowed blood vessels.

What else do I need to know about this medicine?

  • Follow the directions that come with your medicine, including information about food or alcohol. Make sure you know how and when to take your medicine. Do not take more or less than you are supposed to take.
  • It may take several weeks or months to find the best treatment for you. Let your provider know how you are doing and keep all of your follow-up appointments. This will help you and your provider work together to find the best treatment to keep your blood pressure normal.
  • If you are thinking of getting pregnant or could get pregnant, you should discuss this with your healthcare provider. Some antihypertensive medicines (for example, ACE inhibitors and ARBs) can hurt an unborn baby. You may need to stop these medicines if you want to get pregnant. Tell your provider right away if you get pregnant while you are taking an antihypertensive medicine.
  • Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause and what you should do if you have side effects.
  • Try to get all of your prescriptions filled at the same place. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your medicines are safe to take together.
  • Keep a list of your medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all of the products you are taking.

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-09-02
Last reviewed: 2014-09-04
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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