Are blood pressure treatments really safe for you? You’re thinking that’s probably an odd question to ask, right? But, it’s not odd at all, since medical researchers have recently been asking this same question.
This is a very important medical issue as senior citizens aged 65 and older, are prime candidates for high blood pressure (HBP). Right now, more than 675 percent of this age population suffer from HPB, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. HPB is a condition in which blood pushes too forcefully against arteries. If left untreated, it can lead to serious coronary damage, stroke, and even death.
Blood Pressure Treatments: What Are Your Choices
In a very detailed and comprehensive study, researchers evaluated data from 5 million patients being treated for HBP. They compared the effectiveness and safety of the first-line treatments recommended by both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
The medications included in the study were:
- Vasodilators, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin; they all work in a similar way by relaxing constricted blood vessels.
- Thiazide diuretics, which lower blood pressure by helping the body eliminate extra water and sodium.
- Beta-blockers, a class of drugs that reduce heart rate and the output of blood, thus reducing blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Treatments: Study Results
The evaluations showed that patients given thiazide diuretics had 15 percent fewer heart attacks, strokes and hospitalizations compared to patients treated with ACE inhibitors. Moreover, ACE inhibitors caused more side effects, such as cough, diarrhea, rash and swelling of tissues around the face, lips and tongue. Kidney failure was also noted.
The ACE inhibitors can do more harm than good. Indeed, had this group taken the thiazide diuretics instead — 3100 hundred heart attacks could have bee avoided.
Of interest, the Ace inhibitors were prescribed for 48 percent of the study’s patients. But only 17 percent of patients received the thiazide diuretics. Beta blockers were the least effective of the three groups in reducing HBP.
Talk to your doctor about your medications
It’s always a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor if you have questions about your HBP medication. Based on this study, you might be taking the wrong medicine. It’s always a good idea to check and then double-check.