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Medicine check-ups for older adults

High blood pressure medicines

High blood pressure medicines help to lower your blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measure of how hard blood pushes against the side of the walls of an artery (a type of blood vessel) as it moves through your body. If your blood pressure is too high, it can damage organs such as your heart and kidneys.

Blood pressure tends to get higher as we get older. To help prevent blood pressure from going up, make healthy choices. This includes having a healthy diet, doing regular physical activity, not smoking, and limiting how much alcohol you drink.

Common high blood pressure medicines include:

Type of medicine Name of medicine
diuretics (water pills) hydrochlorothiazide
furosemide (Lasix)
beta-blockers atenolol (Tenormin)
bisoprolol (Monocor)
calcium channel blockers amlodipine (Norvasc)
angiotensin drugs ramipril (Altace)
perindopril (Coversyl)
losartan (Cozaar)

Benefits

Along with a healthy lifestyle, high blood pressure medicines may help to lower the risks of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. High blood pressure medicines are also used to manage heart failure, heart disease, and kidney disease.

Risks

It’s important to be aware of the risks of taking high blood pressure medicines as you get older. When blood pressure is lowered too much, it can lead to:

  • feeling lightheaded
  • feeling weak
  • falls
  • confusion
  • changes to electrolyte levels in your body
  • higher blood sugars levels
  • problems with the electrical system of the heart (called heart conduction problems)
  • kidney damage
  • swelling of the face
  • holding on to extra water (called water retention)

Taking a lower dose of more than one type of blood pressure medicine may still control blood pressure but lower these risks.

When you take medicine to control your blood pressure, it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Your healthcare provider will check to make sure your blood pressure isn’t too high or too low.

Do you need a medicine check-up?

It’s important to regularly talk to your healthcare provider and pharmacist about your medicines. Ask if you still need to take all of your medicines or if you can take a lower dose.

More information

For more information about high blood pressure medicines, search the name of the medicine in the medication database.



Current as of: March 5, 2020

Author: Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network