How to Choose Hypertension Medication

According to the American Heart Association, more than 76 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure. Medication is one of the most common ways to treat this disease, but with many drugs available, it can be difficult to know how to choose hypertension medication for your specific situation. By considering the severity of the hypertension and other medical conditions you might have, you can find the best hypertension drug for your specific situation.


  1. Image titled Choose Hypertension Medication Step 1
    Ask if your high blood pressure is stage 1 or stage 2.
    • Once you are diagnosed with hypertension, you will be given either a stage 1 or stage 2 classification for your disease. Stage 1 high blood pressure is for individuals having a systolic (top) reading of 140 to 159 mm Hg and having a diastolic (lower) reading between 90 and 99 mm Hg. Stage 2 high blood pressure is diagnosed in a patient who usually has a systolic reading of 160 mm Hg or higher, and a diastolic reading of 100 mm Hg or higher.
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    Learn about the different types of methods for treating high blood pressure.
    • There are many possible medications for treating high blood pressure today, including calcium channel blockers, diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Each medication works in a slightly different manner. For example, diuretics rid the body of excess water and sodium which lowers blood pressure. Beta-blockers work by lowering heart rate and cardiac output. ACE inhibitors reduce strain on the heart by helping blood flow more easily.
    • While diuretics are often the first course of action, a doctor may also prescribe an additional or replacement medication if the diuretic does not significantly lower blood pressure. Many patients may take a combination of medication to keep hypertension in check and reduce the risk of complications from high blood pressure.
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    Identify other medical conditions that could impact the effectiveness of your medication.
    • For example, diuretics are not recommended for patients with diabetes, since these drugs can increase blood sugar levels in the body. Patients who have been diagnosed with angina along with hypertension might see greater results with a beta-blocker or calcium channel blocker. Your doctor needs to know your full medical history to find the best hypertension drug for you.
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    Screen for organ damage as a result of high blood pressure.
    • High blood pressure that remains unchecked for a period of time may result in organ damage, such as an enlarged heart, kidney or eye damage or weakened arteries. Your doctor will take this type of damage into consideration when treating high blood pressure, to ensure the medication prescribed does not risk further damage.
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    Try a high blood pressure medicine and monitor for possible side effects.
    • Most hypertension medications have a number of potential side effects, which vary from patient to patient. The choice of a drug is determined in part by a process of trial and error to see which medications the patient is able tolerate well.

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