For people with high blood pressure, fluctuating readings are a warning sign that you might need to change medication. New research presented today at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session pointed out that two types of high blood pressure medications — alpha-blockers and alpha-2 agonists — are associated with blood pressure variability. And these fluctuations are linked to an increased risk of death. The researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah are encouraging physicians to prescribe other blood pressure medications to decrease mortality risk for their patients. Prior research had already revealed a link between large variation in blood pressure with mortality risk. “The less variation in your blood pressure as you visit your doctor’s office over time means you will do better long term,” Dr. But that research didn’t associate these fluctuations with the type of medication being used to treat high blood pressure. Over 10,500 people who had at least seven blood pressure readings participated in this study. The participants were enrolled between 20 and were followed for at least five years, through June 2016. Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology in the department of medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, said the findings of the study may reflect an “absence” of medication’s efficacy rather than “a true signal of harm.”“It is very difficult to account for all of the many variables at play in these data, and other explanations may still be pertinent to explain harm,” he said, speaking on behalf of the American Heart Association. zoloft vs lexapro If you have hypertension — high blood pressure — you may think that the only way to control it is to take a drug. But did you know that many classes of hypertension drugs have serious side effects? For instance, beta blockers — such as Lopressor and Toprol-XL (metoprolol), Tenormin (atenolol) and Bystolic (nebivolol) — can slow the heart rate down too much, may cause depression, insomnia, or cold hands and feet, can worsen asthma symptoms, lead to impotence and increase risk of bronchospasm. ACE (angiotensin-converting enzymes) inhibitors, including Lotensin (benazepril), Vasotec (enalapril) and Prinvil/Zestril (lisinopril), may cause skin rashes, loss of taste or a chronic cough. And calcium channel blockers — such as Norvasc (amlodipine), Cardizem (diltiazem) and Verelan (verapamil) — may lead to palpitations, swollen ankles, constipation, headaches and dizziness. While medications may be needed in some cases, South Florida cardiologist Adam Splaver, MD, of Nano Health Associates suggests there are a range of effective treatment options available that can help you reduce hypertension naturally.“Aerobic exercise, dynamic resistance exercise, isometric hand grip, transcendental meditation, stress reduction, as well as biofeedback devices such as RESPe RATE and Spire, are wonderful non-pharmacological modalities that can effectively lower your blood pressure,” he says.“These modalities can offer great results in real life. And studies have shown they may reduce your systolic blood pressure [top number] by up to 15-20 mm Hg,” adds Dr. Doctors are usually happy to support alternatives to drugs, but since hypertension is a serious medical condition, it’s best to get their advice on whether these options are safe to use alone or as an addition to medication. 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