High blood pressure is a leading cause of death, and often
called a "silent killer" since its symptoms can go undetected until
damage to the body has already occurred. Because of this, it is one
of the most significantly under-diagnosed and under-treated medical
conditions in the U.S. If left uncontrolled, it can raise your risk
of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, dementia, vision loss, and
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugsrecently published its updated analysis of drugs to treat high blood pressure, evaluating three classes of medications: Beta-Blockers, Calcium-Channel Blockers and ACE Inhibitors. The Best Buysselected for each drug class – besides being the safest and most effective drugs – can also save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year compared to more expensive brand-name drugs.
We have selected the following five ACE Inhibitors as Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs based on the evidence for their effectiveness, dosing convenience and cost in treating the following conditions:
• For high blood pressure: benazepril, enalapril,and lisinopril • For heart failure: enalapril,and captopril • After a heart attack: lisinopril
• For diabetics: ramipril
• For people with kidney disease: benazepril,and ramipril
Taking effectiveness, safety and cost into account, we have selected the following beta-blockers, at all appropriate doses, as Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs:
• For high blood pressure – atenolol, metoprolol tartrate, nadolol,and propranolol.
• For angina – atenolol, metoprolol tartrate, nadolol,and propranolol.
• After a heart attack – atenolol, metoprolol tartrate,and propranolol
• For mild heart failure – bisoprolol, carvedilol,and metoprolol succinate
• For severe heart failure – carvedilol
We have chosen the following four calcium-channel blockers as Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugsbased on the evidence of their effectiveness, dosing convenience and their cost in treating the following conditions:
• For high blood pressure – Diltiazem SRand Diltiazem CR, Felodipine SR, Nifedipine SR,and Verapamil SR • For angina – Nifedipine SR • For heart rhythm abnormalities – Diltiazem SR, Diltiazem CR,and Verapamil SR
High blood pressure – the force exerted upon the wall of the arteries when blood is pumped out of the heart – is defined, for adults, as having a systolic pressure (when the heart contracts) of 140 mm Hg or greater and/or a diastolic pressure (when the heart is at rest) of 90 mm Hg or greater. Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic reading of less than 120 mm Hg and a diastolic reading of less than 80 mm Hg.
You should have your blood pressure checked frequently – at least once a year, more often if you are over age 50, and every time you visit a doctor no matter what your age.
High blood pressure can occur at any age but is far more common in people age 35 and over. It is particularly prevalent in African-Americans, those with a family history of high blood pressure, people who are overweight or obese, people with diabetes, and heavy drinkers. Women taking birth control pills are also at high risk, as are people who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and celecoxib (Celebrex)- over long periods.
Read the rest of the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs reports on treating high blood pressure, for more on specific symptoms, diagnosis, medication dosages and formulations, drug side effect and safety information.
For additional information on more than 200 prescription drugs, alternatives to high-priced drugs and Best Buyselections for the most common, chronic medical conditions, visit www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org/BestBuyDrugs.
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