Treating hypertension with medicine
Everybody is different, so you should visit your doctor and get a professional diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Those people suffering from diabetes or kidney problems will have to be treated differently to others.
While there are medications to lower blood pressure, it is a good idea to try the natural “lifestyle” changes approach first, including losing weight, exercise, reducing stress levels, stop smoking, cut back on alcohol, diet, etc.
There are some people who find that acupuncture works to reduce blood pressure. Alternative remedies like this are laughed at by some health professional, but I do think they deserve a mention here.
Some people with very high blood pressure do need to be put on medication quite quickly after diagnosis.
High blood pressure treatments
The following are a list of some common medications used to treat high blood pressure:
Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin receptor blockers – These stop your body from making a hormone called angiotensin II. This hormones natural role is to cause blood vessels to narrow, so by preventing this narrowing by blocking the hormone, your blood pressure goes down. Possible side effects include headaches, dizziness and an irritating cough.
Beta-blockers – slow your heart beat rate and the force of the heart beat by blocking the effects of adrenaline. This causes blood pressure to be reduced. Possible side effects include : Fatigue and lethargy. Depression, memory loss, dizziness and cold in the extremities are also reported.
Diuretics – or so-called “water-pills”. They help remove excess water and salt from your body. This helps reduce the overall volume of blood in your body, and therefore reduce your blood pressure. Possible side-effects include fatigue, irritability, depression, increase in cholesterol levels, and allergic reactions.
Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) – stop calcium from entering muscle cells in your heart and blood vessels. This causes the muscle to relax, opening the blood vessels and reducing blood pressure. Side effects include tiredness, drowsiness or dizziness, headaches, nausea, constipation (or diarrhea), swelling of the legs or feet, dry mouth.
Alpha-blockers – reduce the nerve impulses that cause constriction of the blood vessels. Side effects include dizziness, fainting and heart palpitations.
Vasodilators – drugs which open up the blood vessels to decrease the pressure of the blood.
You will need to discuss your treatment with your doctor, and the possible side-effects. By trying different medications, you should be able to find a treatment that suits you and minimizes side-effects.
If you are interested, you can read our section on”What causes high blood pressure“.