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    Combination Treatment for Hypertension

    What combinations of drugs are used to treat high blood pressure? continued...

    Other combinations may include an ACE inhibitor with a thiazide diuretic. Sometimes, an angiotensin II receptor antagonist is combined with a diuretic. Or an ACE inhibitor may be combined with a calcium channel blocker.

    Your doctor will prescribe combination treatment cautiously. For instance, if both drugs lower the heart rate, your doctor will monitor you closely. This will keep you from having an excessively slow pulse (called bradycardia).

    If you have asthma, your doctor will avoid using drugs that could cause asthma-like symptoms. Trust your doctor to prescribe the most effective treatment with your health in mind.

    What are the classes of anti-hypertension medications?

    The main blood pressure drug classes include:

    • Thiazide diuretics: Diuretics remove salt and excess water (fluid) from the body.
    • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: ACE inhibitors are often used in people who have diabetes or heart disease. They help lower blood pressure by inhibiting the production of angiotensin in the body. Angiotensin is a hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict which can lead to increased blood pressure.
    • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): The ARBs block the effects of angiotensin.
    • Calcium channel blockers: Calcium channel blockers help lower blood pressure, slow the pulse, and treat arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Calcium channel blockers can also be used to treat angina (chest pain) and relax the heart muscle.
    • Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers slow the pulse, lower blood pressure, and reduce the work of the heart.

    How will I know if the combination treatment works?

    Once your blood pressure is normal, your blood pressure should be measured regularly.

    Blood pressure measurements may be performed weekly at first. Over time, they may be taken less frequently -- if blood pressure stays within normal range.

    It's a good idea to measure your blood pressure at home. This will let you know how your blood pressure varies throughout the day.

    You'll need to see your doctor for blood pressure checks, too. Blood tests may be needed with some treatments.

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