Healthy Heart

Using Losartan in Treating Hypertension

Using Losartan in Treating Hypertension

Key Takeaways

  • What is losartan used for?
  • How does losartan work? 
  • What are the side effects of losartan?

Unfortunately, there is an increasing prevalence of hypertension, which is the term used to indicate high blood pressure with a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. It is being blamed on living a modern lifestyle, the frequency of alcohol and tobacco intake, certain physical activities, and processed fatty foods. Fortunately, there are high blood pressure medications that can be used for treatment depending on the causes of high blood pressure. One of these drugs is losartan.

What is losartan used for?

Losartan is a drug that helps keep the blood vessels from narrowing. By doing so, this drug lowers the blood pressure to have an improved blood flow. It belongs to a group of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Losartan is primarily used in treating hypertension (high blood pressure). Apart from hypertension, it can also be used to lower the risk of stroke in some people who have heart disease. It can also be used in slowing down long-term kidney damage in most people who have type 2 diabetes.

How does losartan work?    

Losartan is made in the form of tablets that should be taken by mouth once or twice a day. However, it is important to follow the prescription of your doctor carefully. Do not take this drug without your doctor's guidance as there are losartan side effects. It is possible that your doctor will begin with a low dose and increases it gradually as you proceed with the treatment. However, the efficacy of losartan will depend on a person's case due to individual health factors, but it may take up to three to six weeks to start noticing its effects.

Losartan will control high blood pressure, but the reality is that it does not cure it. It is possible for your blood pressure to be reduced during the first week of treatment, but it may take weeks to get the full benefits. When losartan is taken into the system, it blocks the action of angiotensin II, which is a chemical that causes the blood vessels to narrow and tighten.

What are the side effects of losartan?

Like any other drug, losartan has both useful and unwanted side effects. However, not everyone will experience these side effects. Losartan side effects may improve as your body adjusts to the drug. On the other hand, it is always advisable to consult your doctor whenever they become unusual or troublesome. Note that losartan does not cause drowsiness. Its common side effects include high or low blood pressure, chest pain, low blood sugar, fatigue, diarrhea, back pain, stuffy nose, dizziness, and upper respiratory infections like the common cold.

More serious losartan side effects and their symptoms can include an allergic reaction that comes with a swelling of the throat, lip, face, or tongue. Others include:

  • Kidney disease - symptoms include swelling of the hands, ankle, feet, and an unexplainable weight gain.
  • Low blood pressure - symptoms include a feeling of dizziness or fainting.
  • High potassium blood levels - having a slow heart rate, muscle weakness, and heart rhythm problems.

However, the most important thing is to contact your doctor immediately if you notice that these serious losartan side effects are starting to manifest.

What causes high blood pressure?

It is important to understand what causes high blood pressure because of the danger it possesses. While the exact causes of high blood pressure may not be known, it is good to know the factors and conditions that are likely to play a role in its development to know how to prevent high blood pressure. The causes of hypertension include:

  • the absence of physical activities
  • genetics
  • old age
  • stress
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • obesity or being overweight
  • excessive salt in the diet
  • sleep apnea
  • chronic kidney diseases
  • a family history of high blood pressure

How to Prevent High Blood Pressure

Knowing the causes of high blood pressure will help in its prevention. Note that preventing hypertension can reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, as well as some other serious illnesses. However, people at risk of high blood pressure are advised to take the following measures to help manage their condition:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight - Weight is very important to avoid having high blood pressure. It is beneficial for people who are overweight to lose weight while people with normal weight must ensure that they remain in their weight according to their body mass index (BMI). Proper weight management keeps out high blood pressure at bay.
  • Reducing salt intake -  Excesses salt intake is one of the causes of high blood pressure. It is advisable to eat a low sodium diet to keep your blood pressure to a normal state. Avoid eating processed foods and adding raw salt to your meals.
  • Cutting back on alcohol: Limit your alcohol consumption since tToo much alcohol leads to high blood pressure. 
  • Having regular exercise: Engaging to physical activities can help control your blood pressure. A little bit of exercise a day will make a good start.
  • Monitoring your blood pressure: You are advised to keep an eye on your blood pressure regularly even at home. In some cases, hypertension symptoms would not be present, even if you are already having high blood pressure. It is important to monitor your blood pressure and consult your doctor when your blood pressure readings are consistently high.

Before Taking Losartan

It is important to take note that some drugs are not suitable for some people having certain conditions. In addition, some drugs require extra care and losartan is one of them. Before taking losartan, it is good to let your doctor know if you have any of the following conditions:

  • If you are experiencing any problems with the heart muscle
  • If you are breastfeeding or pregnant
  • Have an allergic reaction to a specific drug or have any other type of allergic reaction
  • If you are taking another medication, which includes all medicines that you are taking even without prescription like herbal drugs or other contemporary medicine
  • If you have liver problems

You must make sure to tell your doctor everything that he or she needs to know, so you will be prescribed with the right dose of high blood pressure medication.

The Effects of Long-term Hypertension

The impact of hypertension can be felt in the long run on various organs of the body. 

Heart

Long-term hypertension can affect the blood supply to the heart muscles. Arteries are likely to get narrowed not allowing blood to flow freely to the heart. For this reason, a person with hypertension can experience symptoms like chest pain leading to a heart attack. Having high blood pressure for a long time can also weaken the heart muscles, affecting the efficiency of the heart and how it functions. This condition could eventually lead to a weak heart and cause heart attacks.

Brain

Hypertension can lead to the chances of developing a stroke, which occurs when oxygen and nutrients fail to reach the brain. Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to the rupture or narrowing of the brain cells that could potentially cause a stroke. High blood pressure can also affect brain functions such as speaking, thinking, memory, vision, and reasoning.

Kidney

Kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood. It removes waste and toxins from the bloodstream. Having high blood pressure can cause unnecessary pressure on the kidneys and can damage or impair their functionality. 

Eyes

High blood pressure can also lead to the permanent damage of the retinal blood vessels, which is referred to as "hypertensive retinopathy.