What Happens To Your Body When You Take Blood Pressure Medication

If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), you are in good company, as nearly half of American adults have the condition. This isn't good news, as hypertension greatly increases a person's risk of heart disease and stroke, which are 2 of the most common causes of death in the United States. Even more alarming is that most people with hypertension don't have it under control, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some Americans don't even realize they have the condition, as it often shows no symptoms. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that most healthy people younger than 40 get their blood pressure tested once every 3-5 years, and that people at high risk of hypertension get tested once per year. This way, you'll be able to determine if you have the condition and get it under control as soon as possible.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), many medications are available to regulate blood pressure, but you may be wondering: how do these medications even work?

This is how blood pressure medications work

As you may have guessed, hypertension medications lower a person's blood pressure to a healthy range. Predictably, getting your blood pressure under control reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and death (per The Lancet). In fact, a 2018 study published in JAMA Cardiology found that around 36% of American adults should be taking blood pressure medication. Compared to earlier guidelines, achieving this new goal would prevent an additional 340,000 cardiovascular events and 156,000 deaths each year.

The AHA notes that blood pressure medications come in many different types, with one example being ACE inhibitors, which reduce blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessels. Diuretics, which lower blood pressure by helping the body get rid of excess water and salt, are also popular.

The AHA recommends checking your blood pressure every day, and using a journal to keep track of your readings to make sure your medication is working as it should. You should also talk to your doctor about any side effects you experience, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.