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Frequently asked questions

As someone with high blood pressure (hypertension), you probably have a lot of questions about the condition. Here is a list of common questions and answers that may help you better understand your condition and why managing it is so important.

+ Why don't I have symptoms?

High blood pressure is a fairly symptomless condition. Many people think they'll know if they have high blood pressure if they feel nervous, sweat a lot, have trouble sleeping, or experience facial flushing, nosebleeds, or headaches. None of these is a real symptom of high blood pressure. The only way you know for sure is to get a blood pressure measurement.

+ If I can't feel high blood pressure, is it really a problem?

Yes. High blood pressure affects every system in your body, starting with your arteries. Healthy arteries are able to stretch to allow blood to flow easily. Over time, the continued force of the blood on the arteries causes them to stretch beyond healthy limits, causing damage. The problems of too much force range from weakening and scarring of the blood vessels to organ damage caused by lack of oxygen due to narrow arteries restricting blood flow.

+ Can I use a blood pressure cuff in the pharmacy to see if I have high blood pressure?

A blood pressure monitoring machine you find in your local drug store or grocery store has a one-size-fits-all cuff, which may not fit your arm properly. This can result in readings that are too low or too high. The most accurate way to measure your blood pressure is to have a healthcare professional do it for you. You can get your blood pressure taken at a doctor's office, hospital, clinic, nurse's office, company clinic, or health fair. Healthcare professionals use a blood pressure monitor called a sphygmomanometer with an adjustable cuff that wraps around your upper arm.

+ How does a blood pressure cuff measure blood pressure?

A rubber cuff is placed around the upper arm (bicep) before being inflated by hand or electronically. Once inflated, the cuff temporarily cuts off the blood flow to a large artery in the bicep. When the air in the cuff is slowly released, the blood starts to flow back through the artery. This makes a sound that the healthcare professional monitors either through a stethoscope or electronic readout. Once the pressure in the artery is greater than the pressure in the cuff, the sound stops. The result of this is 2 measurements: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure (the top number) is the pressure of the blood flow on the artery walls when the heart beats. Diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is the pressure on the artery walls between heartbeats.

+ My doctor told me I need to monitor at home. How do I choose a home blood pressure monitor?

There are many home blood pressure monitors on the market. To choose the one that's right for you, consider the following:

  • Make sure it is tested, validated, and approved by experts. Your healthcare provider may recommend a brand, or you can find a list of validated monitors on the dabl® Educational Trust website
  • Make sure it meets your needs. The elderly, pregnant women, or children may have special requirements, and the monitor should be validated for those people
  • Make sure the cuff fits. Smaller- or larger-sized arms may need specialty cuffs. Measure around your upper arm and check that the monitor you want comes with the correct-sized cuff. Specialty cuffs are available in some pharmacies or through medical supply or manufacturer websites.

+ How do I make sure my home monitoring readings are accurate?

It's easier to take a measurement from your non-dominant arm. That means that if you're right-handed, you'd put the cuff on your left arm. Several things can affect your blood pressure readings, so it's important to follow the tips below to help make sure your reading is as accurate as possible. You can also download the home monitoring fact sheet. If your home reading is a lot different than the numbers recorded at the doctor's office, be sure to talk about it during your next appointment.

  • Measure at the same time each day
  • Sit correctly. You should sit with your back straight and supported, your feet flat on the floor, and your arm supported on a table or other flat surface with the upper arm at heart level
  • Don't smoke, drink caffeinated drinks, or exercise within the 30 minutes before you measure your blood pressure
  • Record your results. You can download the blood pressure tracker to make it easier to keep your information in one place. Write down your measurements every day, and bring the tracker with you to your next doctor's appointment
  • Talk with your doctor if you get several high readings in a row. You may need to have your treatment adjusted, or perhaps your monitor isn't working right. For more tips, download the home monitoring fact sheet.

+ I've just been told I have resistant hypertension. What does that mean?

Resistant hypertension is when you are taking a diuretic ("water pill") and at least 2 other blood pressure medicines, and you're still not able to lower your blood pressure. Resistant hypertension has several underlying causes, including a problem with the hormones that control blood pressure, clogged arteries leading to the kidneys, sleep problems, such as apnea and obesity, or heavy alcohol intake.

+ How is resistant hypertension treated?

Treatment usually starts by understanding your blood pressure patterns. This may mean that your doctor will ask you to wear an automatic blood pressure monitor for 24 hours, or have you take your blood pressure with a home monitor several times a day. Your doctor may also change your medicine and have you try lifestyle changes that include limiting salt and alcohol, increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you eat, exercising regularly, and abstaining from smoking.

+ What can I do to help manage resistant hypertension?

Aside from taking your medicines the way your doctor has told you to, you should

  • Avoid taking supplements or medicines that can increase blood pressure, such as diet pills, cyclosporine, natural licorice, painkillers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and celecoxib
  • Cut down on salt. Stay away from salty processed foods and read labels to see how much sodium is included
  • Exercise more to lose weight and improve your overall health
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol intake
  • Reduce stress. For tips on stress reduction, download the fact sheet

+ What's the difference between blood pressure and heart rate?

Heart rate is the number of times your heart beats a minute. Blood pressure is the force of the blood in your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. Measuring your heart rate doesn't tell you anything about your blood pressure. During exercise, your heart rate may go up, but that doesn't mean your blood pressure goes up, too. The only way to tell if your blood pressure is high is to take a reading.

+ If my blood pressure readings are lower for a while, can I stop taking my medicine?

No. High blood pressure can be a lifelong condition. Your doctor is your best source for information on the right treatment plan for you, including how long you need to take your medicine. Don't stop taking your blood pressure medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Record your readings and bring them to your appointment so your doctor can see how you're doing.

+ My doctor told me to increase my potassium. What does that have to do with high blood pressure?

Potassium decreases the effect of salt (sodium), which is why it's important to include potassium-rich foods in your diet. The recommended daily dose of potassium is about 4700 mg per day. Foods that are high in potassium include sweet and regular potatoes, greens, bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, fat-free yogurt, tuna, halibut, and molasses.

+ I've heard about the DASH diet. What is that?

DASH is short for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension." Rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts, this eating plan is scientifically proven to lower blood pressure. Talk with your doctor to see if you might benefit from starting the DASH eating plan.

+ Why does EDARBYCLOR have 2 medicines in it?

Many people with high blood pressure need more than one medicine to lower their numbers. EDARBYCLOR® (azilsartan medoxomil/chlorthalidone) has an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) and a diuretic ("water pill") in one pill. It works to help relax your blood vessels and to flush out extra fluid in your body. EDARBYCLOR has been shown to work better than if you took EDARBI® (azilsartan medoxomil) and the diuretic chlorthalidone as separate pills.

+ What's the difference between EDARBI and EDARBYCLOR?

EDARBI contains an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). ARBs help relax your blood vessels, which allows your blood to flow more freely and lowers blood pressure. Some people need more than one medicine to lower their numbers. EDARBYCLOR combines the same ARB as EDARBI with a diuretic ("water pill") called chlorthalidone. This combination helps relax your blood vessels and flush out extra fluid in your body.

+ Can I take EDARBI or EDARBYCLOR if I already take another blood pressure medicine?

When prescribed by your doctor, both EDARBI and EDARBYCLOR are safe to use with other blood pressure medicines. Always tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including medicines for other conditions and supplements. Medicines that lower your blood pressure may also lower your chances of having a stroke or heart attack, but they don't work alone. They should be part of a complete treatment plan.

+ Can I get a discount on EDARBI or EDARBYCLOR?

Both EDARBI and EDARBYCLOR are available at a discount for eligible patients. If you qualify, you could pay as little as $25 for your prescription. You can download a savings card here.

Important Safety Information

WARNING: EDARBI and EDARBYCLOR can cause harm or death to your unborn baby. If you become pregnant while taking EDARBI or EDARBYCLOR, tell your doctor right away. If you plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about other treatments to lower blood pressure.

  • Before taking EDARBI or EDARBYCLOR, tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Discuss with your doctor other ways to lower your blood pressure. It is not known if EDARBYCLOR passes into breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will take EDARBI or EDARBYCLOR or breastfeed. You should not do both.
  • Do not take EDARBYCLOR if you make less urine because of kidney problems (anuria).
  • Do not take aliskiren-containing products with EDARBI or EDARBYCLOR if you have diabetes.
  • Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you have heart problems or stroke, have gout, or have liver or kidney problems. Kidney problems may become worse in people that already have kidney disease. If you have kidney problems, you may need blood tests, and your doctor may need to lower your dose or may need to stop treatment with EDARBYCLOR.
  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take other medicines to treat your high blood pressure or heart problem; water pills (diuretics); lithium; or digoxin.
  • EDARBI and EDARBYCLOR may cause serious side-effects including low blood pressure (hypotension) which may cause you to feel faint and dizzy. Vomiting and diarrhea, a low salt diet, sweating a lot, or not drinking enough fluid can also lead to low blood pressure.
  • If you feel faint or dizzy, lie down and call your doctor right away. If you pass out (faint) have someone call your doctor or get medical help. Stop taking EDARBYCLOR.
  • If you have fluid and body salt (electrolytes) problems, tell your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms: dry mouth, confusion, thirst, lack of energy/weakness, drowsiness, passing very little urine or passing large amounts of urine, seizures, muscle pain/cramps, restlessness, muscle tiredness (fatigue), fast or abnormal heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, or constipation.
  • People who have increased levels of uric acid in the blood may develop gout. If you already have gout tell your doctor about worsening of your gout symptoms.
  • In clinical studies, the most common side effect seen with EDARBI was diarrhea (2.0%).
  • In clinical studies, the side effects seen with EDARBYCLOR included dizziness (8.9%) and tiredness (2.0%).

Please talk to your healthcare professional and see complete Prescribing Information for EDARBI and EDARBYCLOR.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Indications

EDARBI and EDARBYCLOR are prescription medicines used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Your doctor may prescribe other medicines for you to take along with EDARBI or EDARBYCLOR to treat your high blood pressure. EDARBYCLOR is used when one medicine is not enough or as the first medicine if your doctor decides you are likely to need more than one medicine. Medicines that lower your blood pressure may lower your chances of having a stroke or heart attack, but they don't work alone. They should be part of a complete treatment plan.