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Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure


Should I Take Dietary Supplements?

Other things, like dietary supplements, may also help prevent high blood pressure. Here's a roundup of what's being said about them.

  • Potassium. Eating foods rich in potassium will help protect some people from developing high blood pressure. You probably can get enough potassium from your diet, so a supplement isn't necessary. Many fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, and fish are good sources of potassium.
  • Calcium. Populations with low calcium intakes have high rates of high blood pressure. However, it has not been proven that taking calcium tablets will prevent high blood pressure. But it is important to be sure to get at least the recommended amount of calcium -- 800 to 1,200 milligrams per day for adults (pregnant and breastfeeding women need more) -- from the foods you eat. Dairy foods like low-fat selections of milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of calcium. Low-fat and nonfat dairy products have even more calcium than the high-fat types.
  • Magnesium. A diet low in magnesium may make your blood pressure rise. But doctors don't recommend taking extra magnesium to help prevent high blood pressure -- the amount you get in a healthy diet is enough. Magnesium is found in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dry peas and beans.
  • Fish oils. A type of fat called "omega-3 fatty acids" is found in fatty fish like mackerel and salmon. Large amounts of fish oils may help reduce high blood pressure, but their role in prevention is unclear. Taking fish oil pills may be difficult because high doses can cause unpleasant side effects, such as fishy smelling breath. The pills are also high in fat and calories. Fish, if not fried or made with added fat, is low in saturated fat and calories and can be eaten often, so it is generally a better way to receive omega-3 fatty acids.


Can Caffeine Affect my Blood Pressure?

The caffeine in drinks like coffee, tea, and sodas may cause blood pressure to go up, but only temporarily. In a short time your blood pressure will go back down. Unless you are sensitive to caffeine and your blood pressure does not go down, you do not have to limit caffeine to avoid developing high blood pressure.

Can Stress Affect Blood Pressure?

Yes. Stress can make blood pressure go up for a while and over time may contribute to the cause of high blood pressure. There are many steps you can take to reduce your stress. The article on easing stress will get you started.

What About High Blood Pressure Drugs?

If you have high blood pressure, the lifestyle changes mentioned above may not be enough to lower your pressure. Your doctor may recommend adding medication.

Most people with hypertension need more than one drug to lower their blood pressure. The types of high blood pressure drugs include:

  • Diuretics : They include Aldactone, Bumex, Demadex, Diuril, Dyrenium, Enduron, Hydrodiuril, Inspra, Lasix, Lozol, Microzide, Midamor, Mykrox, Thalitone, Zaroxolyn.
  • Beta-blockers : They include Blocadren, Coreg, Corgard, Inderal, Innopran, Kerlone, Levatol, Lopressor, Normodyne, Pindolol, Sectral, Tenormin, Toprol, Trandate, Zebeta.
  • ACE inhibitors : They include Accupril, Aceon, Altace, Captoten, Lotensin, Mavik, Monopril, Prinivil, Univasc, Vasotec, Zestril.
  • Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers : They include Atacand, Avapro, Benicar, Cozaar, Diovan, Micardis, Teveten.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers : They include: Adalat CC, Calan SR, Cardene, Cardizem, Covera, Procardia, Dilacor, Dynacirc, Isoptin, Norvasc, Plendil, Sular, Tiazac, Verelan.
  • Alpha blockers: They include Cardura, Catapres, Chlorpres, Hytrin, Minipress, Tenex.
  • Vasodilators : They include Hydralazine, Loniten.

Many of these medicines are also available as combination pills that utilize 2 different drugs in one pill.


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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on February 22, 2014
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