Medications to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Aug 19, 2016

Medications to Lower Your Blood Pressure

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Currently, 1 in 3 adults experience high blood pressure (hypertension) in the United States – that’s about 70 million people! Of those individuals, only 52 percent have their hypertension under control, a condition costing the nation over $46 billion each year.

High blood pressure can be tricky to treat since there are many factors that help and hurt your condition. There is not a single identifiable cause of this condition; primary hypertension usually develops over many years.

When there are distinct factors or other underlying health conditions leading to high blood pressure, this is known as secondary hypertension.

Left untreated, it’s possible to encounter more serious conditions like heart attacks, stroke, or kidney damage to name a few. For severe hypertension, it is likely that you’ll be prescribed medication in order to lower your blood pressure. However, for people with less severe cases or prehypertension, an over-the-counter solution might be a better option.

Finding the Right Supplements

Although there are many wonder pills out on the market today, few have been proven to be as effective as prescription medicines. Additionally, many over-the-counter medications for other ailments actually have the tendency to increase high blood pressure, making them poor choices.

Common decongestant drugs such as oxymetazoline, phenylephrine, and pseudoephedrine can cause spikes in blood pressure. When buying medication over the counter, always check both active and inactive ingredients. If you see a high concentration of sodium (which is likely) then you’ll definitely want to avoid taking the medication if you can.

People with high blood pressure should not consume more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day, yet many over-the-counter medications contain more than that limit in a single dose. High sodium content has driven people to consider more natural routes for lowering their blood pressure, however, many supplements are inconclusively effective.

Vitamins and Herbal Supplements

WebMD has compiled a list of many possible supplements and vitamins along with user reviews to help you discern what may or may not be the best treatment for you.

So far, studies have shown a few promising vitamins and minerals that may be effective in treating high blood pressure.

Vitamin C

Several studies analyzed by The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University reported that vitamin C had the potential to lower blood pressure after several weeks of taking supplements. Similar results were also reported from the Institute of Boston University School of Medicine.

Potassium

John Hopkins published a study in 1996 studying the effect of potassium on blood pressure in African Americans who have a higher risk of developing hypertension. Studies showed an average decrease of 6.9 points for the participants’ systolic pressure. Doctors recommended that potassium is included in one’s diet rather than through a supplement.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

This nutrient is extremely important to the cardiovascular system as a power antioxidant and aid to cellular energy production. As a supplement, CoQ10 has been found to reduce systolic blood pressure an average of 17.8 mm Hg.

Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)

Like CoQ10, these fatty acids have shown the ability to naturally lower blood pressure. Cold-water fish, krill, and squid are abundant sources of omega-3, however, it is commonly available as a supplement in pill form.

Although there are many supplements all claiming to be the best, a one-stop option for lowering blood pressure is rarely the case. Everyone responds differently to supplements, so always consult your doctor before adding a new vitamin or mineral to your regimen.

Herbal Supplements

Another way to add beneficial nutrients effective in lowering blood pressure is through your diet. In addition to cutting out most of your sodium and saturated fats, certain herbs and ingredients can actually help to relax and dilate your blood vessels.

Such herbs and supplements include:

  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Hawthorn
  • Celery Seed
  • French Lavender
  • Cat’s Claw
  • Takeaway

Healthline.com provides a brief overview of how these herbs can be used to lower blood pressure, as well as recommending ways to prepare these foods.

Again, always check with your doctor before adding any particular supplement, herb, or over-the-counter medication to your daily regimen. There are so many different possible remedies that most of their interactions are unknown. There are plenty of options for treating hypertension, no matter your preferences and condition!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What percent of the population has high blood pressure?

In general, over 50 million people in the United States have high blood pressure. According to Heart.org, the following percentage of adults age 20 and older have high blood pressure in the United States.

  • Non-Hispanic whites: 33.4 percent of men and 30.7 percent of women
  • Non-Hispanic blacks: 42.6 percent of men and 47.0 percent of women
  • Mexican Americans: 30.1 percent of men and 28.8 percent of women  

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What blood pressure reading is considered normal for an elderly adult?

Typically, a blood pressure of 120/80 is considered normal. However, for elderly adults (60 or older) a reading of 140/90 is considered acceptable but could indicate pre-hypertension. Generally speaking, most seniors do have higher blood pressures, even if they don't experience hypertension. If you’re worried that your blood pressure may be too high, consult your doctor and always opt for a professional cardiovascular assessment. 

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