With a third of adults in the United States suffering from high blood pressure, blood pressure medication side effects can be a real problem.
You may see commercials for blood pressure medications showcasing an older, happy wife and husband who are relieved of high blood pressure. Then the narrator’s voice speeds up and starts describing all the blood pressure medication side effects people need to be aware of.
Generally, these blood pressure medications won’t cause side effects for every person, but there is always a risk. Knowing the type of medication you take and its side effects can help you navigate treatment options to find the one that is right for you.
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Types of Blood Pressure Medication Side Effects
There are different types of medications doctors prescribe to help lower blood pressure based on a person’s health and family history. Each medication carries somewhat differing side effects for you to be aware of.
Beta blockers are used to slow down the heart rate and cause less force on the heart and blood vessels.
Certain side effects for this type of medication include:
- Slow Heartbeat
- Cold Hands and Feet
- Leg Cramps
- Loss of Taste
- Skin Rashes and Dryness
- Chronic Coughing
- Kidney Damage (in rare instances)
- *Cannot Take When Pregnant
- Swollen ankles
- Heart Palpitations
Diuretics are water pills that are used to help the kidneys break down and remove sodium from the body. Less sodium in your blood stream allows for blood to flow through unobstructed.
Diuretic side effects include:
Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE)
ACE Inhibitors are used to relax blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure by allowing for more blood to flow through.
ACE Inhibitors have quite a different set of side effects than the other blood pressure medications:
Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium channel blockers are used to block calcium (go figure) from entering the muscle cells of the heart and arteries. When calcium enters those areas, the heart has to pump harder. By decreasing calcium in the heart’s muscle cells, the heart doesn’t have to pump as hard.
This medication also lowers blood pressure, slows the heartbeat, and relaxes tightened blood vessels.
Calcium channel blockers have less serious side effects:
How to Know if You Are Experiencing Side Effects
Side effects are the effects of a medication that we do not wish to have accompany the primary use of the medication.
Blood pressure medication side effects deal closely with the heart, so if you feel nauseated, dizzy, skip heart beats, or feel off, contact your doctor as soon as possible to discuss the severity it of it.
You know your body better than anyone else. If something doesn’t feel normal for you, take note of it and track how often it happens and for how long.
If you’re dizzy, take note of when you were dizzy and how long it lasted. If you are a generally happy person and are feeling overly anxious and depressed, take note of that and if it becomes more serious or more often.
Your doctor can advise you on what actions to take such as switching medications or getting off them completely.
However, do not stop taking the medication without your doctor’s consent since that action could be more damaging than the side effects the medication causes.