August 29, 2022

The First Steps in Treating High Blood Pressure

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The American Heart Association reports that one out of every three adults have high blood pressure (hypertension), and that percentage is higher–up to 75 percent–in seniors age 65 and older.

Traditionally, ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors are the first line of defense that physicians prescribe to get high blood pressure under control.

According to a wide-reaching study published by The Lancet, however, doctors may rethink the best way to initially treat hypertension. Centers Health Care has a look at treatment options.

What Are the Common Drugs Used for Hypertension

  • ACE Inhibitors – They work by relaxing constricted blood vessels.
  • Thiazide Diuretics – Eliminates extra water and sodium from the body, which lowers blood pressure.
  • Beta-blockers – lowers blood pressure by reducing heart rate and output of blood.

Which Is Most Effective?

The study involved 5 million people in four countries (Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the United States) who started hypertension treatment.

The result was that while ACE inhibitors were more commonly prescribed, patients who were prescribed diuretics as the initial course of treatment for hypertension had 15 percent fewer heart attacks, strokes, and hospitalizations due to heart issues.

Another benefit of diuretics was a lack of unwanted side effects, which are generally limited to low potassium and low sodium – both of which can be corrected by supplements.

Ace inhibitors, on the other hand, are linked to side effects like cough, diarrhea, rash, and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue.

Beta-blockers were the least frequently prescribed and the least effective for initially combatting high blood pressure.

As always, doctors and researchers agree that you discuss your individual situation with your doctor. He or she may believe that one of these avenues may be the best based on your blood pressure numbers, medical history, or a number of other factors.

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