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Q.

I may begin BP medication in the near future. What are the different classes of BP meds and the pros/cons of each.

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This is a great question, and one you should ask your health care provider. It's a bit too involved to go into here, but I'll briefly outline some (not all) of the options. And, luckily, WebMD offers this handy comparison of some common blood pressure medications.

A water pill or diuretic (such as hydrochlorothiazide, or furosemide) lowers blood pressure by getting rid of excess water in your system. This essentially lowers your overall blood volume. If you have tinnitus (or ringing in the ears), you should talk to your health care provider about using a "potassium-sparing" water pill because the other type can make tinnitus worse.

ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors have become a popular choice. These medications basically cause your blood vessels to relax, which lowers your blood pressure. These medications usually have few side effects.

Beta blockers work by slowing down the pace of your heartbeat and also reducing the force at which the heart contracts. This combination causes your blood pressure to come down. If your doctor suggests a beta blocker, be sure to get specific dosing instructions. Some beta blockers shouldn't be taken when your pulse rate is low.

Again, you ask a good question for your doctor. If you go on a blood pressure medication, be sure to know what it does (specifically), why it's a good choice for you, and what possible side effects you should watch out for.

Hope this helps!

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