Blood pressure drugs: which are best for exercisers?

Several studies show that the drugs of choice to treat high blood pressure for most North Americans are calcium channel blockers and angiotensin II receptor antagonists.

For many years the American Heart Association recommended beta blockers and diuretics as first-line treatment for people with high blood pressure. Beta blockers can cause impotence, tiredness at rest and during exercise, weight gain, and they increase risk for diabetes. Diuretics make you tired. Furthermore, a study from Sweden shows that beta blockers increase risk of strokes. There is no data to show they prevent heart attacks in healthy people.

To help you understand blood pressure, read
Systolic/diastolic (which is more important) and Why blood pressure rises with age

Other studies have recommended different combinations and the combination with the fewest side effects includes a calcium channel blocker and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Long-acting calcium channel blockers relax blood vessels, while angiotensin II receptor antagonists block a blood vessel-constricting hormone released by the kidneys.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, go on the DASH diet and start an exercise program to help you lose weight. If that doesn't reduce your blood pressure to normal, I think that the drugs of choice are angiotensin II receptor antagonists. If your blood pressure is still high, add a calcium channel blocker.

BETA BLOCKERS: Betapace, Blocadren, Brevibloc, Cartrol, Inderal, Kerlone, Levatol, Lopressor, Sectral, Tenormin, Toprol, Zebeta.
CALCIUM CHANNEL BLOCKERS: Adalat, Calan, Cardizem, Covera, Dilacor, DynaCirc, Isoptin, Nimotop Norvasc, Plendil, Procardia, Sular, Tiazac, Vascor, Verelan
ALPHA BLOCKERS: Cardura, Dibenzyline, Hytrin, Minipres.


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