High Blood Pressure Medication Side Effects

Common Side Effects of High Blood Pressure Medication:

From constipation to headaches to increased sensitivity to cold, there are many common side effects to blood pressure medications.

Some of these are:

  • Dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting (caused by all types of antihypertensive – anti high blood pressure – medications but especially alpha-blockers).
  • Headaches (caused by ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and direct vasodilators).
  • Tender, swollen, or bleeding gums (caused by calcium channel blockers).
  • Increased sensitivity to cold (caused by alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, and direct vasodilators). Constipation (caused by calcium channel blockers and central alpha agonists).
  • Upset stomach (caused by angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta-blockers, direct vasodilators, and diuretics).

(Source: Johns Hopkins Health Alerts)

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The high blood pressure medication beta blockers and the medication calcium channel blockers prescribed to lower blood pressure seem to increase the risk of corrective cataract surgery according to a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

From FDA’s Consumer Updates:

Blood pressure is made up of two numbers:

* The “top” number is the systolic blood pressure—the pressure while the heart is pumping blood out.

* The “bottom” number is the diastolic blood pressure—the pressure while the heart is filling up with blood, getting ready to pump again.

It was once believed that only diastolic pressure (the “bottom” number) was important, but this is not true. Elevated systolic pressure alone, particularly common in older people, is just as dangerous as elevations of both systolic and diastolic pressure.

Types of Medications.

The  FDA has approved many medications to treat high blood pressure, including

* Diuretics, or “water pills,” which help the kidneys flush extra water and salt from your body and decrease blood volume

*Several kinds of drugs that block the effects of angiotensin, reducing blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels, including

* Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

* Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)

* Beta blockers, which also cause the heart to beat with less force

* Drugs that directly relax the blood vessels, including

* Calcium channel blockers (CCBs)

* Other direct dilators (relaxers) of blood vessels

* Alpha blockers, which reduce nerve impulses that tighten blood vessels

* Nervous system inhibitors, which control nerve impulses from the brain to relax blood vessels

Common Side Effects of High Blood Pressure Medication

Many people with high blood pressure will need more than one medication to reach their goal blood pressure. Your health care provider can tell you if you should be on medication and, if so, which drug(s) may be best for you. FDA’s Consumer Updates.

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