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Blood Pressure Medications: Know the Side Effects

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 07:37 PM

Not everyone reacts to blood pressure medications the same way and, to facilitate heart health and quality of life, it is important to stay informed about the common side effects of "antihypertensive" medications. While it is common for doctors to prescribe potentially lifesaving medications for high blood pressure, the side effects from these medications can present complications to patients.

An understanding of the potential side effects of blood pressure medications can facilitate dialogue between patients and their physicians. As WebMD states, "There is no need to suffer in silence. Today there are more medication options than ever for managing high blood pressure (hypertension)."

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There are many classes of blood pressure medications, which include both brand and generic names. The following side effects are listed by the American Heart Association and are broken down by medication class, not the specific medication name.
1. Diuretics: Possible side effects include a decrease in potassium, which presents as weakness, leg cramps, or fatigue. Attacks of gout are not common but are possible, diabetics may experience an increase in blood sugar, and men may experience impotence.

2. Beta blockers: Possible side effects include insomnia, cold hands and feet, fatigue, depression, slowed heartbeat, impotence, and symptoms of asthma.

3. ACE inhibitors: Possible side effects include skin rash, loss of taste, a chronic nonproductive cough, and rarely, kidney damage.

4. Angiotensin II receptor blockers: Possible side effects include dizziness.

5. Calcium channel blockers: Possible side effects include heart palpitations, swelling of the ankles, constipation, headache, and dizziness.

6. Alpha blockers: Possible side effects include rapid heart rate, dizziness, and a drop in blood pressure when rising to a standing position.

7. Alpha-2 receptor agonist: Possible side effects include drowsiness and dizziness.

8. Combined alpha and beta blockers: Possible side effects include a drop in blood pressure when rising to a standing position.

9. Central agonists: Possible side effects include a significant drop in blood pressure when rising to a standing position. This drop may cause weakness or fainting. In addition, this medication can cause drowsiness, dry mouth, fever, anemia, constipation, and impotence.

10. Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors: Possible side effects include nasal congestion, diarrhea, heartburn, insomnia, nightmares, depression, lightheadedness or weakness upon rising to a standing position, and impotence.

11. Blood vessel dilators (vasodilators): Possible side effects include headaches, swelling around the eyes, heart palpitations, joint pain, weight gain from fluid retention, and excessive hair growth.
The Mayo Clinic recommends lifestyle changes in conjunction with blood pressure medications for heart health. These include abstaining from tobacco products, limiting alcohol intake, and eating a healthy diet that is low in salt and emphasizes "fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products." The clinic also recommends 30 minutes of exercise every day and suggests that while lifestyle changes and blood pressure medication may take time to work, in the "long run it may mean a longer life, with fewer health problems."

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Not everyone reacts to blood pressure medications the same way and, to facilitate heart health and quality of life, it is important to stay informed about the common side effects of "antihypertensive" medications.
side effects, blood, pressure, medications
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2014-37-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 07:37 PM
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