High blood pressure (hypertension) is when you consistently, over a number of weeks, produce readings of 140/90 or higher.
Hypertension can also be classified if just one of the numbers (systolic or diastolic) is consistently higher than it should be over a number of weeks.
Having high blood pressure puts extra strain on the heart and blood vessels, which over time can increase your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
An ACE Inhibitor works to reduce the amount of water in the blood whilst widening the arteries. Examples of ACE Inhibitors include; Captopril, Enalapril, Fosinopril, Perindopril and Ramipril.
These medicines are most effective in people under fifty-five years of age. ACE Inhibitors are less effective in black people and those over the age of fifty-five. They are also not suitable during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
The most common side-effects associated with ACE Inhibitors are; dizziness, headaches, fatigue and a persistent dry cough. Most ACE Inhibitor names end in 'pril'
ARB is an acronym for Angiotensin Receptor Blocker.
These medicines work to lower your blood pressure by blocking the actions of angiotensin II. This has the effect of relaxing the blood vessels, causing them to dilate (widen). This allows for blood to flow with greater ease through the body. ARB's also work to reduce the amount of water retained in the body, which results in a reduction in pressure.
The most common side-effects associated with ARB's are dizziness, headaches and cold and flu-like symptoms. In most cases, these side-effects are usually very mild. Examples of ARB's include; Candesartan, Irbesartan, Losartan and Valsartan. Most ARB names end in 'artan'
Diuretics are designed to reduce the amount of water in the blood and to widen the arteries.
Examples of Diuretics include; Bendroflumethiazide, Hydrochlorothiazide and Indapamide.
Diuretics are a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate Calcium Channel Blockers. However, they are not suitable during pregnancy or for those whose suffer from Gout. Thiazide Diuretics can also raise the potassium and sugar levels in the blood so regular blood and urine tests are required. In some cases, Diuretics have been known to cause impotence. Most Diuretic medicine names end in 'ide'
Calcium Channel Blockers work to widen the arteries. They are found to be most effective in black people and those over the age of 55.
Examples of Calcium Channel Blockers include; Amlodipine, Felodipine, Lercanidipine, Nifedipine and Verapamil.
These medicines are not suitable for people with a history of heart or liver disease or for those with poor circulation. The most common side-effects associated with Calcium Channel Blockers are; dizziness, headaches, fatigue, swollen ankles and skin rashes (usually only temporary). Most Calcium Channel Blocker names end in 'pine'
The only way to know for certain whether your blood pressure is high is to have it measured. This is normally done at your doctor's surgery, after an initial assessment. Once complete, your GP can then decide what course of action is best for you. Usually, this will involve monitoring your blood pressure, to ensure your readings are consistently higher than normal. The frequency of this monitoring and whether medication is required will depend on upon your initial readings.
At The Independent Pharmacy, we only provide blood pressure tablets for patients who have already been prescribed medication from their doctor.
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