4 questions to ask about blood pressure medication

You probably already know that blood pressure medications can keep your blood pressure down. at a healthy level– but do you know How? ‘Or’ What they do that ? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that relaxing your blood vessels, lowering water and salt levels in your blood, and regulating the strength of your heartbeat are just some of the ways blood pressure medications help control high blood pressure.

It’s always a good idea to ask questions before starting any new prescription medication, and pharmacists “are always happy to answer any medication-related questions or concerns you may have, to ensure your medications are effective and to reduce the risk of side effects,” says Katlyn HoltPharmD, a clinical pharmacist and assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Toledo.

Read on for four crucial questions to ask your pharmacist before filling your prescription for blood pressure medication.

READ NEXT: Here’s why your high blood pressure isn’t responding to medication.

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Have you ever talked to your pharmacist about how your medications actually work? This kind of knowledge is useful, not only for you to know what is going on in your body, but to help you decide what kind of lifestyle choices you should make to optimize the effects of the drug.

For example, one type of medicine intended to treat hypertension is a class of drugs called diuretics. “Diuretics help the body get rid of excess sodium (salt) and water and help control blood pressure“, explains the American Heart Association.

But if you take diuretics, it’s important to know that they can reduce your body’s potassium intake and lead to “symptoms such as weakness, leg cramps, or fatigue,” the AHA states. “Eating foods containing potassium can help prevent severe potassium loss.” Potassium-rich foods include bananas, squash, beans, spinach, and avocados, to name a few.

Different types of drugs.
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“Before starting any blood pressure medication or adding new blood pressure medications, it is always important to check with your pharmacist for any duplications or interactions between drug classes, including medications you can buy over-the-counter,” advises Holt. This includes remedies such as vitamins or other types of supplements. Certain foods can also present a problem.

Bethanne Brownprofessor of pharmacy practice at the JL Winkle College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati, tells AARP that you should decrease the amount of potassium rich foods in your diet if you are take an ACE inhibitor. “You can have high levels of potassium in your body, which can lead to potentially dangerous heart arrhythmias,” says Brown.

Woman taking medicine with water.
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“Blood pressure medications work best if you take them as prescribed by your doctor,” says Holt. And taking medicine isn’t always as simple as remembering to swallow a pill once or twice a day.

If you haven’t discussed this thoroughly with your doctor, ask your pharmacist about the best way to take your prescriptions so they work as well and safely as possible. Is it better to take them in the morning or in the evening? Should they be taken with food? what should you do if you miss a dose?

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Pharmacist and customer discussing prescription in pharmacy.
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There are several different reasons why you’ll want to know if the blood pressure medication you’re taking is working. potential side effects. On the one hand, a sudden condition such as nausea or an unexpected rash can be scary. On the other hand, some medication side effects are mild and go away on their own, while others are dangerous or may require other medications to control.

Although not everyone will know Side effects of a medication, “It’s good to know which are the most common and which are the most serious,” says Lifespan, which recommends asking your pharmacist about the warning signs of an allergic reaction. “That way you can know when it’s best call your doctor or go to an urgent care facility,” the site advises.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research and health agencies, but our content is not intended to replace professional advice. Regarding any medications you are taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your health care provider directly.

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