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Blood Pressure Medicines | MedlinePlus

Blood Pressure Medicines | MedlinePlus

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is when blood puts too much pressure against the walls of your arteries. About 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure, usually with no symptoms. But it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and kidney disease.

What lifestyle changes can help lower high blood pressure?

Healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce high blood pressure:

What if lifestyle changes alone cannot lower blood pressure?

Sometimes lifestyle changes alone cannot control or lower your high blood pressure. In that case, your health care provider may prescribe blood pressure medicines.

How do blood pressure medicines work?

Blood pressure medicines work in different ways to lower blood pressure:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) keep your blood vessels from narrowing as much
  • Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels. This allows the blood vessels to relax.
  • Diuretics remove extra water and sodium (salt) from your body. This lowers the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill.
  • Beta blockers help your heart beat slower and with less force. This means that your heart pumps less blood through your blood vessels. Beta blockers are typically used only as a backup option or if you also have certain other conditions.

Often, two or more medicines work better than one. While taking the medicines, it is still important to keep up with your healthy lifestyle changes.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute



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