Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How Serious are Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medication

It is an established fact that all disorders must have a cause. When it is stated that there is no known cause behind primary high blood pressure, it simply means that medical science has not yet been able to decipher the cause behind it.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a silent disease that does not show visible symptoms in most cases. Once the symptoms surface, they are difficult to control due to their highly progressive nature. The progressive nature of hypertension necessitates that it be addressed as soon as it is known. While low blood pressure is normally easy to control unless it is abnormally low, high blood pressure requires treatment with high blood pressure medications that may extend over a long period.

Any prescription of high blood pressure medication requires a proper understanding of the tolerance to side effects at an individual level. This is essential because in certain cases the treatment can last a lifetime. There are numerous classes of medicines that are used for treating the condition. However, most of these medications are used in conjunction with natural remedies for blood pressure. Each class of drugs has different side effects.

Some diuretics or water pills, as they are commonly known, can reduce the body’s supply of potassium. In some cases the patient may develop symptoms of gout.

Beta Blockers
Acebutolol, atenolol, metoprolol, nadolol, propanolol or timolol are known to cause depression and exacerbation of congestive heart failure. They may also cause cold hands and feet, insomnia, mild asthma and in some cases impotence. For diabetic patients a close monitoring of responses to therapy is necessary.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
Captopril, enalapril, lisinopril or prinival have side effects like skin rashes, loss of taste or a dry, hacking cough. In some rare cases they even damage kidneys.

Angiotensis II Receptor Blockers
Some of these drugs that are used as a third medicine in stepped care treatment of high blood pressure may cause dizziness and lightheadedness.

Calcium Channel Blockers
Side effects of this class of medicines like verapamil and diltiazem vary with each medicine. Common side effects are palpitations, swelling in ankles, constipation and headaches.

Some times a combination of medicines is prescribed for treatment. Alpha blockers and combined alpha and beta blockers may cause a sudden drop in blood pressure on standing up from a sitting or lying position. Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors like reserpine may cause a stuffy nose, diarrhea or heartburn.

Weighed against the benefits of high blood pressure medications, the risks of the side effects are relatively low. Most people have used them for years without any problems. Even then if you wish to avoid all possibilities of side effects, it is better to resort to natural remedies for high blood pressure like homeopathy, herbs and lifestyle changes, which can help stimulate healing in the body and mind.



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