Despite the fact that lifestyle choices allow people to control their blood pressure, one in three Americans suffers from hypertension. Among them, about 70 percent are undergoing treatment. Those with stage 2 high blood pressure (160/100 or higher) may need a combination of medications, including diuretics and an ACE inhibitor or ARB (angiotensin II receptor blocker).
According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 3 percent of patients stopped taking an ACE inhibitor because of side effects, while 8 percent discontinued taking an ARB because of side effects. ACE inhibitors are more likely to cause a dry cough. Other hypertension medications include alpha- and beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and vasodilators.
Because there are so many hypertension drugs, patients need to discuss the options with their doctors. For a list
of medications, brands and generics, and common side effects, visit www.americanheart.org and from the drop-down menu choose Conditions/High Blood Pressure/Prevention & Treatment.
Mayo Clinic offers 10 lifestyle changes that can help people reduce blood pressure without medication*:
1. Lose/control weight
2. Exercise regularly
3. Eat a healthy diet
4. Reduce consumption of sodium
5. Limit consumption of alcohol
6. Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke
7. Reduce caffeine intake
8. Reduce stress
9. Monitor your blood pressure and visit your doctor regularly
10. Get support from family, friends, and/or support groups
Source: Mayo Clinic
* Never discontinue taking a prescribed drug without discussing it with your doctor.