Lifestyle changes aren't always enough to lower high blood pressure. If so, prescription medicine may be the next step, says the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Many different types are available. But, a diuretic, or water pill, may be among the first options that your doctor recommends.
The diuretics most commonly prescribed are called thiazides. Potassium-sparing diuretics are another type that may be prescribed. Diuretics help your blood pressure go down by helping your body to get rid of extra water and salt by producing more urine. They are sometimes combined with other medications to work more effectively.
Some over-the-counter medicines also may help flush extra fluid from your system. But, they aren't alternatives to prescription diuretics.Learn more about diuretics ›
Medication to control high blood pressure only works if you take it. If you stop taking antihypertensive medication without discussing it with your doctor, you put yourself at risk for a stroke.
High blood pressure is the most important preventable risk factor for stroke, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk for stroke and other health consequences.
Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. In people who do not have diabetes or kidney disease, treatment for high blood pressure is usually started when three separate blood pressure readings show readings of 140 or higher for systolic blood pressure (the top number) or 90 or higher for diastolic (the bottom number). In people who have diabetes or kidney disease, the cue to start treatment is a systolic blood pressure of 130 or greater or a diastolic blood pressure of 80 or greater on three separate occasions.Learn more about blood pressure drugs and stroke ›