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When diagnosed early, high blood pressure can easily be improved even without the help of medication.

Blood pressure medication is typically given to people who have a more severe form of hypertension. When high blood pressure hasn’t reached alarming levels, patients are normally instructed to make certain lifestyle changes that cause high blood pressure, and then examine if there any improvements. If that does not work, doctors will prescribe hypertension meds, which can vary from one case to another.

1. Diuretics

When a person suffers from hypertension, their body is prone to retaining water and sodium. In order to prevent fluid buildup, doctors will prescribe diuretics. While they do manage to lower blood pressure, they can also have side effects, such as:

  • Depending on the pills prescribed, your body’s potassium level can increase. To counteract this problem, you can eat foods that are rich in potassium. Otherwise, you may start feeling weak, sensing leg cramps, or experiencing fatigue.
  • Longer diuretic treatments can lead to gout attacks. This isn’t a common side effect, and there are treatments to manage this.
  • Diuretics can also increase blood sugar levels in persons who suffer from diabetes. Doctors may choose to adjust insulin levels in such a case.

2. Beta blockers

Peoples whose heart rate is accelerating can receive a beta blocker prescription to prevent the heart from beating very fast. Beta blockers can also cause a series of side effects:

  • Cold extremities, such as hands and feet.
  • Sleep disorders, and most commonly insomnia.
  • Heart that beats too slow.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Depression, lack of energy.
  • Asthma symptoms.
Important note: Women who are expecting or those who wish to get pregnant should consult with their doctors before starting a beta blocker treatment.

3. ACE inhibitors

People who suffer from hypertension can have their blood vessels narrowed. This happens when the body releases a chemical called angiotensin, which causes the narrowing of the arteries. An ACE inhibitor is a type of medication that prevents the body from releasing too much angiotensin, but also relaxed the muscles of your arteries, making blood flow smooth.

Some of the side effects of ACE inhibitors include:

  • Dry cough.
  • Problems during pregnancy. Expecting mothers should not take ACE inhibitors, as studies have shown that they can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
  • In more secluded cases, kidney damage.
  • Skin rashes.

4. Vasodilators

This is also a type of medication that allows the blood muscles to relax, causing dilation in the arteries and facilitating blood circulation. Some of these drugs can cause headaches and heart palpitations, while others are only prescribed in emergency cases, when hypertension is too resistant to other treatment.

5. Angiotensin II receptor blockers

When the body releases angiotensin and constricts the arteries, it does so after binding with a receptor.  Angiotensin II receptor blockers will prevent these receptors from hosting the angiotensin, so that the chemical doesn’t narrow the arteries’ walls.

These meds are known to cause dizziness in some patients, and are not recommended during a pregnancy. Because of their action inside the body, they can kill the fetus or interfere with proper development.

6. Calcium channel blockers

When the cells of the arteries and the heart interact with calcium, they have the tendency of contracting up to a point where the body starts to feel stressed and causes high blood pressure. With calcium channel blockers, the muscles relax and open up pathways for blood to flow normally through the arteries. They also work to reduce heart rate.

Depending on how your organism reacts to these meds, you may experience dizziness and headache, swelling of your ankles, or even constipation.

7. Alpha blockers

These drugs also work to relax the vascular walls muscles, but can cause the heart to beat very fast. They can also make you feel dizzy, as well as cause blood pressure to drop as you stand up.

8. Alpha & beta blockers

Sometimes, doctors can connect patients to an IV drip that contains a combination between alpha and beta blockers. This usually happens in patients that are on the verge of heart failure. Much like alpha blockers, these can also give you sense of dizziness when you stand up, as blood pressure might drop suddenly.

9. Watching your weight

Medicine for high blood pressure is normally avoided if you only have a mild form of hypertension. Whether your doctor chooses to put you on medication or not, lifestyle changes are required either way.

Since hypertension is linked to obesity and unhealthy diets, this will be the first change you are required to make. People who are overweight need to start losing a few pounds, not only because of this direct link between the two issues, but also because obesity causes sleep apnea, which can also worsen the effects of hypertension.

A healthy blood pressure diet implies:

  • Consuming more foods that are rich in potassium, as it helps counteract the effects of sodium.
  • Avoiding excess salt and sugar. By reducing your sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day, you can also reduce blood pressure with about five points. It may not seem like much, but it’s actually quite a lot, and it will make a difference if you make other dietary improvements as well.

10. Cut back on bad habits

People like to think that they can indulge in little vices, but because the effects are not immediately visible, that doesn’t mean they don’t damage your health permanently.

Some of the bad habits that fuel high blood pressure are:

  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Taking illegal drugs (especially those that give you energy, such as amphetamine, cocaine, etc.).
  • Smoking.
  • Even reducing your caffeine intake can make a difference. However, it’s more likely to raise blood pressure in people who don’t normally drink it than in those that drink a cup on a daily basis.

11. Reducing stress

Psychological issues can also lead to high blood pressure, as different unpleasant situations cause the heart to beat faster. Chronic stress has been linked to high blood pressure, just like anxiety, fear, anger, or depression.

Conclusion

When diagnosed early, high blood pressure can often easily be improved even without the help of medication. When your doctor asks you to make lifestyle changes, turning to your family and friends for support is really important and shouldn’t be neglected. Your loved ones can motivate you to exercise, lose weight, stop smoking or quit drinking, even manage your emotional and mental well-being.

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