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Changing your diet and being more active can really help you control your blood pressure, but they may not lower it enough on their own. You may need to take blood pressure medication to lower it further.
There is a wide range of blood pressure medications available. Most of these are grouped under four main types of medicine:
There are other types of medication available, but these four types are most commonly used today.
Finding the right blood pressure medication for you
Every person is different, and some types of blood pressure medication work better in different types of people. What works well for a friend or relative may not work so well for you.
Many people find that one medicine alone will not lower their blood pressure enough. Each type of medication works in different ways in your body, so taking more than one should have more of an effect on your blood pressure.
Doctors have guidelines to help them decide what to use, but it can take time to find the right blood pressure medications for you.
Getting the most from your medicines
High blood pressure cannot be cured, and if you need to take medicines, you will probably need to keep taking them for life. If you stop, your blood pressure will rise back up again.
It is very important to keep taking your medicines, even if you don’t feel unwell. By keeping your blood pressure low you are protecting your heart and blood vessels from damage and disease.
Build your blood pressure medicines into your daily routine – take them at the same time every day, and get into the habit of taking them. This will help you get the most benefit from them.
Working with your doctor or nurse
Your doctor or nurse will want to see you again relatively soon after you start a new medicine. This will be to make sure that it is working well for you, and that you are not feeling any side effects.
If you begin to feel different after you start a new medication, you can check the list of side effects on the leaflet that comes with it. But it may be more useful to speak to your doctor or nurse, or your pharmacist. They are experts in medicines and can advise you.
If you are having side effects from a blood pressure medicine, your doctor or nurse can change your dose, or try a different medication which may work better for you.