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What works best? Common medicines for high blood pressure are being studied
According to health experts, almost every third adult in Germany suffers from hypertension. Many have not known about their high blood pressure for a long time. This can have bad consequences. In many cases, the problem can be controlled by more exercise, a healthy diet and coping with stress, but sometimes the use of medication is also necessary. The Stiftung Warentest has now taken a closer look at common medicines for high blood pressure.
Risk factor for dangerous cardiovascular diseases
Hypertension is a widespread disease, especially in the western world. According to the German Hypertension League (DHL), around 20 to 30 million people are affected in this country. Too high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for dangerous cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. To lower blood pressure, it is often enough to eat healthier and exercise more. But in some patients, hypertension must be treated with medication. In the current issue of the magazine "test", the Stiftung Warentest gives an overview of which active ingredients and preparations are right for whom.
The creeping danger
High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as a "silent killer" because it often has no symptoms and is often only discovered when it has already caused organ damage.
A doctor often determines the high values during routine checks. Anyone suffering from hypertension should take action.
But how high does the blood pressure actually have to be to be treated?
In Germany, doctors usually diagnose high blood pressure if the measuring device, when carefully measured, regularly shows values of at least 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
But after the publication of the so-called Sprint study from the United States three years ago, it was said that the new blood pressure target should be 120 instead of 140.
In the meantime, US professional associations have decided that blood pressure should be reduced to 130 instead of 140.
In Germany, the echo is moderate. Some medical professionals fear that lower treatment values may lead some people to be prescribed medication too early.
Other experts would like to see the values for treating individual and specific diseases aligned in the future.
Lower blood pressure naturally
Mild and moderate hypertension can often be reduced without medication.
In addition to weight loss, regular exercise and abstaining from smoking, a balanced, healthy diet can also help to reduce blood pressure.
It is very important here: salt only in moderation. A high-salt diet can raise blood pressure. No more than four to six grams of salt should be consumed per day. It should be noted that large quantities of salt are often contained in most finished products.
The menu should generally contain a lot of fruits and vegetables. Alcohol should be avoided as far as possible.
Furthermore, relaxation exercises for stress relief such as yoga or autogenic training can be very effective and positively influence high blood pressure values.
Some home remedies for high blood pressure, such as Kneipp applications, can offer good support.
Sometimes medication is also necessary
However, some people cannot avoid medication.
"This is particularly the case for patients with severe high blood pressure who suffer from other serious diseases (such as kidney disease), and also for many women from the menopause", the Stiftung Warentest writes on its website.
According to the product test, these active ingredients are among the best-studied drugs. They are prescription only. Many are suitable for lifelong consumption.
Drug experts from Stiftung Warentest have scientifically evaluated the active ingredients - ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics and calcium antagonists - and explain who is best suited for whom.
The results can be viewed on their website for a fee.
Unpleasant side effects
Among other things, it explains that, depending on age and comorbidities, different agents are suitable for therapy. In addition, it is discussed that drugs for high blood pressure - like all other drugs - can cause side effects.
The most common include gastrointestinal complaints, headaches and dizziness. In addition, some preparations cause fatigue, others make the skin sensitive to the sun.
And ACE inhibitors cause irritable cough in many patients.
"It is important in such cases that the ACE inhibitor is not simply discontinued without replacement, since ACE inhibitors in many cases ensure high protection of the blood vessels and various organs such as the heart," warns Dr. med. Vinzenz von Kageneck, specialist in internal medicine, cardiology, during a consultation with the German Heart Foundation.
"Instead, the ACE inhibitor can be replaced with an active ingredient from the group of so-called sartans for irritable cough, such as. B. candesartan, valsartan, losartan or irbesartan. "
According to the doctor, the effect of sartans is comparable to that of ACE inhibitors, but with the big difference that usually no cough is a side effect. (ad)