16 Jan

Common Blood Pressure Medications… and Their Side-Effects

There are several blood pressure medications available on prescription; in fact, an overwhelming array for people to choose from. If you want to lower your blood pressure, and are unsure which medicine to select, here’s a helpful guide, outlining some of the most common types of medication and their side effects.

Blood Pressure Medication and Side Effects

  • Atenolol. Atenolol is a beta blocker; which acts to block certain chemicals within the body, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. The most common side-effects associated with this drug are light-headedness, fatigue and nausea. Severe symptoms are rare, but can include fainting, depression and even heart failure.
  • Lisinopril. Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor, and targets blood vessels, causing them to relax so that blood can flow more easily. However, it’s not without its side-effects. Common complaints include headache or dizziness, though this generally disappears after a short period of time. More serious side-effects can include: fainting, irregular heart-beat, severe stomach pain and even liver problems.
  • Nebivolol. Nebivolol is a commonly used beta-blocker. Occasionally, users of this medication may experience nausea, headache, slower heartbeat and insomnia. It’s unlikely you’ll encounter any severe side-effects, but there have been rare cases where users have experienced worsening asthma, and symptoms of heart failure.
  • Valsartan. Also used to protect from kidney damage, Valsartan is an ARB, or angiotensin receptor blocker. This works by helping the blood vessels to relax, enabling blood to flow more easily. The most important thing to be aware of with Valsartan is that it can cause serious harm to unborn babies, and can even result in fetal death. In addition to this, it’s fairly common to experience mild dizziness whilst your body becomes acclimatized to the drug.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide. Hydrochlorothiazide, more commonly known as Microzide, acts as a diuretic, helping the body to flush through salt more efficiently and reduce the risk of heart disease. The most serious risk associated with this medication is dehydration, and it’s important to drink enough fluids when taking it. You may also experience upset stomach and dizziness, though this should only be temporary.

More Questions? Speak to a Cardiovascular Specialist

If you’re about to start taking new medication, it’s important that you know about the side-effects, as well as the benefits. Ask your doctor or cardiovascular specialist, and make sure you make an informed decision when it comes to your health.

11 Jan

Lifestyle Changes That May Help to Lower Your Cholesterol

Most people know that it’s important to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, but not quite so many people understand why. Cholesterol is actually a vital substance within the body, and offers a range of benefits, including assisting with the production of vitamin D and helping the body to produce specific hormones.

However, too much cholesterol can spell bad news for your health. If your levels of cholesterol are high, your arteries can become clogged, increasing the risk of heart disease and heart attack.

If you’re worried about your cholesterol, here are some useful tips to help you keep it at a healthy level.

Useful Lifestyle Changes to Promote Healthy Levels of Cholesterol

  • Choose the right foods. Limit your intake of saturated fats (often found in dairy products and red meat) and eat more monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts and leaner meat; as these types of food actively help to lower cholesterol. Likewise, eat wholegrain foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and foods rich in omega-3s; such as walnuts, oily fish and flaxseeds.
  • Lower your weight. If you’re overweight, it’s far more likely that you’ll have higher cholesterol. Focus on shedding the excess pounds by substituting unhealthy foods in your diet for healthier ones. Aim to increase how much exercise you undertake each week. Even climbing the stairs to the office each day instead of taking the elevator can make a difference.
  • Cut smoking. The health problems associated with smoking are already well publicized; and the fact that cigarettes raise cholesterol is yet another great reason to quit. Remember that there are support groups in your local area that can help you achieve this.
  • Cut down your drinking. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with drinking in moderation, consuming a significant amount of alcohol on a regular basis increases your risk of developing heart disease. Aim to limit your intake to one or two drinks a day at the most.

If you’re still concerned…

If you’re still worried about your cholesterol, make sure you book an appointment with your doctor or local cardiovascular specialist, who will be able to provide you with a thorough health check and offer alternative ways in which you can keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.