Hypertension or high blood pressure is a medical condition that can be experienced by anyone. About 20 percent of Americans are experiencing it. Sadly, most of them are aware of their abnormal blood pressure after it has really caused serious effects. At the outset, high blood pressure may not be dangerous; however, when it finally induces the emergence of a particular health problem, such as heart problem, diseased kidney or stroke, it becomes very potential to cause dangerous and even fatal consequences. For this reason, high blood pressure should be treated properly since the first time it is detected. There are several medications that can be used to treat high blood pressure and to prevent it from causing more serious problems.
High blood pressure occurs when the arterial blood vessel of human body is constricted and the amount of blood that flows through such narrow vessel is too large. The constriction of arteries and the increase of blood pressure can be caused by either behavioral or physical factors. The behavioral factors of such constriction usually involve bad eating, drinking and smoking habit. Research shows that people who excessively eat foods and junk foods containing refined carbohydrates and sugar; alcoholics and heavy smokers are more prone to suffering high blood pressure and obesity. Conversely, people who never drink alcohol, those who eat high-fiber foods and foods with adequate amount of healthy nutrients, and those who avoid smoking and stay away from smokers are less susceptible to high blood pressure. Therefore, if you want to keep your blood pressure normal, just keep everything that enters your body adequate and healthy.
The physical factor that causes high blood pressure is usually related to kidney’s activity. Kidney is an organ in your body that plays an important role in controlling your blood pressure. Kidney carries out its job by producing an enzyme, or a specialized protein, called renin. This enzyme further converts a blood protein into angiotensin, a hormone that is capable to cause the arterial blood vessels to constrict, thereby increasing the blood pressure. Due to the constriction of arterial blood vessels, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through those narrowed vessels. Therefore, if hypertension is not treated properly, your exhausted heart will eventually be diseased.
Most medications that are used to treat high blood pressure work by blocking this hormone and preventing it from constricting the arterial blood vessels. There are two groups of medications that work with this pattern: ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Included in the former are drugs, such as enalapril maleate, quinapril, captopril, and lisinopril. Those drugs work by blocking enzyme renin in the bloodstream that produces angiotensin. However, those drugs are not very popular because their side effects, which include long-term coughing and acute swelling on face, lips, tongue, and throat, occur quite frequently.
You may not want to take those drugs unless your doctor recommends you to do so. Drugs that are included in the second group, the angiotensin II receptor antagonists, are considered more popular because they very rarely cause side effects. Among drugs that are included in this group are candesartan (Blopress, Atacand, Amias, and Ratacand), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Angiotan and Diovan), irbesartan (Aprovel, Karvea, and Avapro), azilsartan (Edarbi), telmisartan (Micardis), and olmesartan (Benicar). This article focuses its discussion on losartan potassium and how it is used to treat high blood pressure.
Losartan is a drug that is marketed by Merck & Co. Inc. under the brand name Cozaar. In addition to being used to lower high blood pressure, losartan is also used to deter the progression of renal disease suffered by patients with type 2 diabetes and to delay the progression of Kimmelstiel-Wilson syndrome, a progressive kidney disease caused by diseased capillary blood vessels in the kidney glomeruli. This drug is available with prescription. Therefore, if you want to use it to treat your high blood pressure, you should consult your doctor before buying this drug to get prescription and advice of how to take this drug.
Usually, when you are consulting a doctor, he/she will ask you about your health history. He/she will question whether or not you are pregnant because losartan is dangerous for pregnant women. When taken during pregnancy, this drug may cause fetal death. This drug is also not recommended for nursing women because it can be transferred to their infant through their breast milk. Another question that is asked by your doctor is about whether or not you have ever suffered heart failure, liver problem and kidney disease. Because this drug immediately affects those three vital organs, giving that question a straight and comprehensive answer is necessary.
This drug may cause hyperkalemia (high level of potassium in the blood vessels). Therefore, your doctor will also ask you about whether or not you are currently suffering electrolyte imbalance. Still relating to this question, it is also important that you inform your doctor if you are currently using potassium substitutes in your low-salt diet program. The last question that you usually have to answer is about whether or not you are allergic to losartan, other medicines, particular foods, or preservatives. Before visiting your doctor’s office, you should be prepared to answer those questions straightforwardly. If you cannot answer any of those questions, simply say that you don’t know the answer so that your doctor can carry out necessary diagnosis.
Although losartan rarely causes side effects, there is still possibility that this drug causes unwanted effects. In general, losartan’s side effects fall into two categories: mild effects and serious effects. Losartan’s mild side effects that are often reported include dizziness, blurred vision, diarrhea, and mild kidney problems. If you experience any of those effects, just wait for them to improve. If they are instead getting worse, you should consult your doctor immediately. The second category includes side effects that are considered so serious that they warrant medical treatment. Among those side effects are dark urine, jaundice, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, vision change, cramps, stomach pain, and unusual bleeding and bruising.