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Heart Health

Medications for treating hypertension

August 01, 2009

Doctors once hesitated to prescribe medication until a patient's blood pressure reached 160/100. Anything below that level was deemed "mild hypertension" and not considered dangerous, so many doctors worried that the drugs' potential side effects might outweigh their benefits. These perceptions turned out to be false. Research has firmly established the value of treating stage 1 hypertension (140/90 to 159/99 mm Hg) with drugs, if necessary.

For those with diabetes or kidney disease, medications may be necessary at pressures as low as 130/80. And today, blood pressure can be controlled with lower doses of medications, meaning there is less chance of side effects.

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