We can prescribe the most common medications for hypertension such as Amias®, Losartan, Lisinopril and Ramipril (among others).
|Ramipril, Perindopril, Lisinopril, Losartan, Enalapril, Felodipine, Lercanidipine, Bisoprolol, Atenolol, Amlodopine||from 2.5mg to 100mg||3 month supply||£19.99|
|Amias||4mg/8mg/16mg||3 month supply||from £44.99|
Blood pressure tests measure the force with which your heart pumps your blood around your body. Ideally your blood pressure should be below 120 over 80 (120/80mmHg). This reduces your chances of having a stroke or getting heart disease. High blood pressure, also sometimes known as hypertension, is generally considered to be 140/90 or above. If you have high blood pressure over a long period of time, it can mean that you are more likely to have a stroke or heart disease.
If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90 you should really take steps to lower it and also to stop it going up any higher. To lower your blood pressure, you can exercise, eat healthily and stick to a healthy weight.
Often high blood pressure has no readily apparent symptoms, so lots of people have it without knowing they’ve got it. The only way to really know whether you have it is to get your blood pressure checked. It is unusual to get severe symptoms, but in rare cases, people with very high blood pressure can get blurred vision, nosebleeds, and headaches, and feel short of breath.
If you are healthy and older than 40, you should get your blood pressure checked every 5 years. If you are at risk of getting high blood pressure, you should get it checked annually.
2011 data suggests that 31% of men and 28% of women have high blood pressure in England.
There are several factors that can affect how likely you are to have high blood pressure. People with a family history of high blood pressure, older people and people of African or Caribbean origin are more at risk of getting high blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be. Stress, smoking, drinking lots of caffeine or alcohol, not exercising and being overweight also increase your risk of high blood pressure.
If you are pregnant, you should take steps to monitor your blood pressure regularly, because it is possible to get pregnancy-induced hypertension, which can in turn lead to pre-eclampsia - a condition characterised by problems with the placenta (the organ connecting the baby to the mother’s blood supply).
High blood pressure can also be caused by medical conditions. These include: kidney disease, diabetes, lupus or other conditions that affect the body’s tissue as well as hormonal conditions like Cushing’s syndrome and the narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the kidneys. Sometimes blood pressure rises during pregnancy, which is why pregnant women should monitor their blood pressure. Some types of medication can also contribute to an increase in your blood pressure, such as the oral contraceptive pill, some herbal supplements and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. The same goes for many illegal recreational drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, and crystal methamphetamine.
High blood pressure puts increased pressure on your heart and circulatory system, over time causing cardiovascular disease (including increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke). For this reason, it can be very dangerous. If you don’t take steps to reduce your blood pressure, it can result in heart attack (when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked), stroke (when the supply of blood to a part of the brain is cut off), embolism (where a blood clot or air bubble blocks the flow of blood), and aneurysm (when a blood vessel wall bursts resulting in internal bleeding). High blood pressure can also damage the small vessels in your kidneys and stop them working properly, causing side effects like tiredness, swollen feet, hands and ankles, shortness of breath, itchy skin, blood in the urine, and urinating more frequently (especially at night time).
Most clinics or GPs will measure your blood pressure if you ask them. It is measured with an instrument called a sphygmomanometer – which is made up of a stethoscope, arm cuff, dial, valve and pump. The cuff goes around your arm and is pumped up to restrict the blood flow, then your pulse is monitored with the stethoscope as the pressure is released. Your doctor might have a digital sphygmomanometer which takes your pulse with an electric sensor instead. You should empty your bladder and rest for about five minutes before you have your blood pressure checked. Then sit still and quiet whilst the reading is taken.
It can happen that sometimes you have one raised blood pressure reading – this does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure, but could mean that you were a bit anxious at the time that the test was taken. There is even a condition known as whitecoat hypertension (where a patient’s blood pressure is higher than normal because they find visiting the doctor or being tested stressful.) If this applies to you, your doctor might give you a test kit to take home that will monitor your blood pressure throughout the day. You might also be asked to do a blood and/or urine test to check for conditions that could be connected to high blood pressure – for example, if there is a problem with your kidneys.
You can also buy testing kits to monitor your blood pressure at home. If you want to use one of these, you need to take a few precautions to ensure you are taking the reading correctly. Make sure you don’t need the toilet, and are not stressed or tense. Make sure you haven’t smoked or drunk any caffeine in the last half hour, and don’t take the test straight after a big meal. You might want to wear loose clothing, to make it easier to roll your sleeves up.
If you are taking several readings over time, always take them from just one arm. Different arms will give slightly different results. Rest for five minutes before you take the readings. Sit still and quietly. Don’t talk whilst you are taking the reading.
Take several readings, each two minutes apart and work out the average. Sometimes people find that their first reading is higher than the rest, if this happens to you do several tests until they start to come out at a similar level and then use one of those as your final reading. Make sure you keep accurate records of your readings so that you can discuss them with your doctor if necessary. Don’t worry too much if you get a one off high reading, but if this starts to happen a lot, see your doctor.
Just be aware that being worried about your blood pressure can raise your blood pressure further. It’s easy to become concerned about whether your blood pressure is going up when you are testing it yourself. For this reason, try not to test it excessively frequently.
We only re-prescribe high blood pressure medication for you when you have already been taking it for three months in line with your GP’s advice.
ACE inhibitors – Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) widen your blood vessels to improve the quantity of blood your heart pumps, increase the blood flow and in turn, lower blood pressure. There are many types of ACE inhibitors, including: capoten, vasotec, prinivil, zestril, lotensin, monopril, altace, accupril, aceon, mavik, univasc.
Angiotensin receptor blockers – Angiotensin receptor blockers work in a different way to ACE inhibitors, but have the same effect. They work by blocking a chemical in the body called Angiotensin II that narrows the blood vessels. This means that your blood vessels dilate and so blood pressure is lowered. There are many types of angiotensin receptor blockers, including: atacand, avapro, benicar, cozaar, diovan, micardis, teveten.
Calcium channel blockers – Calcium channel blockers slow the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, which makes it easier for the heart to pump and widens blood vessels. This lowers blood pressure and reduces the strain on the heart. There are many types of calcium channel blockers, including: norvasc, plendil, dynacirc, cardene, procardia, adalat, cardizem, dilacor, tiazac, diltia, sular, isoptin, calan, verelan, covera-hs.
Betablockers – Betablockers block the effect of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline in certain parts of the body and so decrease the heart’s activity. This lowers blood pressure. There are many types of betablockers, including: spectral, tenormin, kerlone, coreg, zebeta, ziac, normodyne, trandate, lopressor, toprol, corgard, nebivolol, levatol, visken, inderal, blocadren.
Alphablockers – Normally, alphablockers are not the first choice of medication for lowering blood pressure. Your doctor will probably get you to try a different type of medication first. Alphablockers work by relaxing your blood vessels and make it easier for the blood to flow through them. Examples of alphablockers include: minipress, hytrin, cardura.
Diuretics – Diuretics, also known as water pills, help your body to get rid of excess water and salt by increasing the frequency with which you need to urinate. Thiazide diuretics are the type that lowers blood pressure. (There are two other types of diuretics that do not really have an effect on lowering blood pressure.) They include the drugs: esidrix and zaroxolyn.
It depends which type of high blood pressure treatment you are using, but like most medications the treatments for high blood pressure have side effects. The most common side effects overall are headache, fatigue and dizziness.
ACE inhibitors side effects include: headache, dry cough, diarrhoea, high potassium levels in the blood.
Angiotensin receptor blockers side effects include: tiredness, dizziness, diarrhoea, high potassium levels in the blood.
Calcium channel blockers side effects include: feeling faint or dizzy, issues with heart rhythm, swollen ankles
Betablockers side effects include: feeling faint, lightheaded or dizzy, feeling drowsy, decreased sexual ability, low heart rate.
Alphablockers side effects include: feeling faint or dizzy, thumping heartbeat, headache, nausea, weakness, gaining weight. iuretics side effects include: headache, weakness, low potassium in the blood levels.
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