Hypertension Medications Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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If healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your high blood pressure to healthy levels, medication can help. There are at least nine different types of hypertension-controlling drugs on the market in the U.S. These range from simple “water pills” that put a lid on raging pressure by whisking extra fluid and sodium out of your bloodstream to ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers that relax your blood vessels and beta-blockers that slow your heartbeat. Taking care of high blood pressure is a smart move. In one study, people who used one or two medications to control hypertension lowered their risk for stroke 36%, for heart disease by 25% and for congestive heart failure by 54%.Fast Facts:
- In one study, people who lowered their blood pressure with medication were 13% less likely to die over 5 years than those who didn’t.
- Low-cost diuretics worked as well or better than more expensive calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors in one big study.
- The savings can be dramatic: A diuretic costs about a dime a day; the others, $2 or more per day. Yet diuretics are still under-used.
- Seven in ten people diagnosed with hypertension haven’t brought their blood pressure under control.
- If you’re taking more than one hypertension drug, ask your doctor about combination pills that contain both. There are many on the market.
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