Hypertension Library

What is Hypertension?

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Using a Glucometer
Using a Glucometer

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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Lesson 5 - Hypertension Medications

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There are options

There is no one treatment for hypertension patients — treatments will vary with your stage of hypertension, your age and overall health. As we've mentioned time and time again, lifestyle changes can help prevent, and in most cases, lower high blood pressure. However, it's important to know that once hypertension has developed, the lifestyle changes we've been discussing throughout the course combine to lower your blood pressure on average by about five or ten points. This may not sound like much at first, but you must remember, any point you can knock off that hypertension scale is certainly worthwhile! However, In some cases of hypertension, diet and exercise alone aren't going to be enough to keep it under control. If your blood pressure needs to be lowered more substantially, your doctor will almost certainly prescribe medication. Taking medication doesn't mean you get to start eating french fries like they're going out of style while spending five hours a day in front of the boob-tube. You MUST continue with your heart-healthy lifestyle if you want your medications to work correctly, and you want to keep your quality of life rating at a maximum. There are dozens of hypertension medications out there today. Below is a brief synopsis of the different drug treatment categories. It’s important to know your options, though in the end, your doctor is best fit to decide which one is right for you. Alright…here we go:

Sometimes referred to as "water pills," diuretics work by targeting your kidneys to flush excess sodium and water out of your body. Diuretics cause your kidneys to excrete sodium that would have otherwise been retained. With the sodium gone, the excess water in your body has nothing to sort of "cling to," and is subsequently flushed out as well. The result is less fluid in your blood vessels, and therefore, less pressure. Diuretics produce a concurrent positive effect on the heart. Less blood volume means that your heart doesn't have to work as hard to circulate your blood through your body. In turn, your blood vessels don't suffer the changes that they would without the medication (thickening, stiffening, etc.), as they are not experiencing such constant high pressure. Hence, your blood pressure goes down, and your heart doesn't take such a beating (heh, heh — a little savvyHEALTH humor for you). Types of diuretics include thiazides, such as chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide (all drug names given are generic); potassium-sparing diuretics, such as spironolactone; loop diuretics, such as furosemide; and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, such as acetazolamide. However, the thiazide diuretics are most widely used.

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