Choosing Your Blood Pressure Medication: What Type Is Best for You?

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and heart disease, but it is easy to treat! If you have tried lifestyle changes and your blood pressures is still greater than 140/90, your doctor may discuss starting a medication to lower your pressure. If this is the case, it might be difficult to decide on which blood pressure medication is best for you. However, it turns out this question has been well studied, and the answer partly depends on your age and race.

Here is what you need to know if you are starting a medication for high blood pressure.

Younger people with high blood pressure (20-50 year olds):

African Americans:

African American patients with high blood pressure have lower levels of renin activity, a hormone that controls blood pressure. For this reason ACE Inhibitors and ARBs are not as effective.

People over 60-65 years old:

Folks with REALLY high blood pressure (approximately 160/90 and above):

What about patients with heart failure, diabetes, or heart attack?

For people with diabetes, heart failure, and those who have had a heart attack, blood pressure medications are added to lower blood pressure and also improve outcomes. Simply put, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and ARBs improve outcomes in people after a heart attack and in those with diabetes or heart failure.

Dr. O

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