blood pressure medications

Get 10 Tips to Lower Blood Pressure.

Blood Pressure Medications – A Brief History

Surprisingly, only 50 years ago, hypertension was still considered an “essential” condition that everyone would acquire as a natural part of the aging process.

That explains just how common the condition was in the ‘old days.’ And today hypertension is still incredibly common, affecting 1 in 3 adults over the age of 20.

The first blood pressure medications, thiazide diuretics, weren’t introduced until the late 50s. And even so, it wasn’t until decades later that researchers and physicians alike, realized the gravity of having high blood pressure – that it wasn’t an “essential” condition and that it significantly increased people’s odds of heart attack, stroke and death.

All these years later, we now know that it’s essential to treat it to avoid those nasty consequences. And today there are hundreds of medications that can effectively treat hypertension.

Here you’ll learn why it may be necessary to take blood pressure medications, the types of high blood pressure medications available and their side effects, along with alternative treatments and important things to talk to your doctor about.

Hypertension explained

Take a moment to examine the following blood pressure categories:

blood pressure medications chart

As you can see, hypertension is classified as anything above 140/90. If your physician takes a measurement in this range, they may recommend you take medications. But it will depend on other cardiovascular risk factors such as hereditary, weight, cholesterol levels, diabetes, smoking and lifestyle habits.

According to the National Heart Foundation, if you have stage 1 hypertension but your overall cardiovascular risk is low, you may not need to take medications. Instead you’d be advised to make lifestyle changes.

It may not be until you reach a persistent blood pressure measurement of 160/100 (stage 2 hypertension) that you’d need to consider medications.

Regardless of whether medications are recommended, making lifestyle changes can help reduce blood pressure.

The most important steps you can take are to:

  1. Eat a healthy diet
  2. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  3. Maintain a healthy weight
  4. Drink alcohol in moderation
  5. Quit smoking

However, you should be prepared to take medications if necessary. Once blood pressure increases significantly, it can be more difficult to control with lifestyle changes alone.

And while medications may not be an ideal proposition, it is a matter of risk versus benefits. You definitely want to do all you can to reduce your blood pressure naturally. But overall, the major goal is to lower your blood pressure because it does reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Types of Blood Pressure Medications and their side effects

Blood pressure medications are also called ‘antihypertensives.’ For a full list of each medications generic and brand names, refer to this list from the American Heart Association. Here we’ll briefly cover each class of medication, their actions and their side effects.


These medications make the body produce less of a hormone called angiotensin so that the vessels relax and open up, thereby reducing blood pressure.

SIDE EFFECTS: Allergic skin reactions and chronic cough are the most common. Reduced kidney function is possible. Risk of kidney damage increases if taken with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).


These are also known as ARBs or SARTANS. Collectively, ACE and ARBs are the most frequently used blood pressure drugs.

ARBs block the effect of the hormone angiotensin so that rather than constricting, blood vessels stay open and relaxed.

SIDE EFFECTS: Dizziness.


These medications are designed to help the body eliminate sodium and water to ease the heart’s workload and reduce blood pressure. Diuretics are often used in combo with other antihypertensive drugs.

SIDE EFFECTS: Increased urination should be expected. Other common side effects include allergic skin reactions, low blood pressure with dizziness, increased thirst, headaches, muscle cramps, and gout.


Beta-blockers reduce the body’s heart rate to help reduce the output of blood and the heart’s overall workload, which helps lower blood pressure.

SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea and fatigue are the most common. Decreased potassium can cause weakness and muscle cramps. Gout can occur with prolonged use. Increased blood sugar levels can occur in people with diabetes. And impotence can be a likely outcome as well.


These medications help relax the tone of the muscles in the walls of the arteries and vessels to reduce their resistance and lower blood pressure.

SIDE EFFECTS: Low blood pressure and dizziness, especially when standing up; and a fast heart rate.

There are also combined alpha and beta-blocker medications available.


Calcium entering the smooth muscle cells of the heart can cause a more forceful heart contraction that increases blood pressure. Therefore, these medications are designed to block calcium.

SIDE EFFECTS: Common side effects include palpitations, swollen ankles, constipation, headache, and dizziness.


This medication works by decreasing the adrenalin-producing activity of the sympathetic nervous system. It’s often prescribed to pregnant women as it has no side effects on the developing fetus.

SIDE EFFECTS: Dizziness and drowsiness.


These achieve the same effect as alpha and beta-blockers but they follow a different nerve pathway to prevent blood vessels from tensing up and contracting.

SIDE EFFECTS: Low blood pressure that makes you feel faint and weak, especially when in an upright position. Severe mouth dryness, constipation and drowsiness.


These medications work directly on blocking neurotransmitters in the brain to prevent the brain-heart communication that triggers the blood vessels to constrict.

SIDE EFFECTS: Heartburn, diarrhea, stuffy nose, insomnia, depression, nightmares, low blood pressure that makes you feel faint and weak, and impotence.


These are also known as vasodilators and as their name suggests, they relax the blood vessels to allow them to widen so blood can flow with greater ease.

SIDE EFFECTS: Headaches, eye swelling, heart palpitations, aching and painful joints, fluid retention, and excessive hair growth.

What’s the best blood pressure medication to take?

The answer is, it depends.

That decision has to be made between you and your doctor. In many cases it can be a bit of trial and error because your individual response to a medication is unpredictable. It will also depend on whether you have another condition that needs to be factored into the equation.

You may also be concerned about all those side effects, and that certainly is a fair concern. The most important thing is, don’t ignore the side effects. Any abnormal symptom you notice should be reported to your doctor.

For example, if you notice a medication is making you feel sick, another treatment may be needed. Don’t just live with the side effects because as you saw from the list above, there are many options available.

And of course, you can try to minimize the amount of medication you need to take, and in some cases eliminate them in time, by using alternative treatments.

As suggested earlier, the most important steps you can take are to:

  1. Eat a healthy diet
  2. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  3. Maintain a healthy weight
  4. Drink alcohol in moderation
  5. Quit smoking

You can also explore other proven treatments such as:

  1. Meditation
  2. Deep breathing practice
  3. Biofeedback devices such as RESPeRATE
  4. Aromatherapy foot massage
  5. Beneficial herbs
  6. Prebiotics and probiotics

Put it this way, every healthy change you make will have a beneficial effect on your blood pressure. And if you do take blood pressure medications, engaging in alternative treatments alongside your medications is highly recommended.

Though, it is best to speak to your doctor about your chosen course of action, just to make sure there are no contraindications.

Written by Jedha Dening

About RESPeRATE – Lower Blood Pressure Naturally.

RESPeRATE is the only non-drug, FDA-Cleared device for lowering blood pressure naturally. It is clinically proven, doctor recommended and has no side effects.

RESPeRATE lowers blood pressure by relaxing constricted blood vessels which cause high blood pressure. RESPeRATE does so by harnessing the therapeutic power of slow paced breathing with prolonged exhalation in a way that is virtually impossible to achieve on your own. All you have to do is breathe along with RESPeRATE’s guiding tones.

Learn More…

Share This!

Get 10 Tips to Lower Blood Pressure.

You will also receive our bi-weekly RESPeRATE Journal.
 RESPeRATE to Lower Blood Pressure - no side effects - no drug - FDA approved - TRY NOW!