Long-Term Effects of Blood Pressure Medicine on Men

old woman with tonometer checking blood pressure
Someone is checking their blood pressure at home. (Image: dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images)

High blood pressure puts patients at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Chronically elevated blood pressure allows cholesterol to accumulate in the arteries, resulting in atherosclerosis; it also makes the heart work harder to pump blood, resulting in a greater chance of heart failure. There are a number of medications that can be used to treat high blood pressure, but long-term use can cause a number of side effects in men.

Low Potassium levels

Diuretics, also known as water pills, are used to treat high blood pressure. They help decrease the amount of unnecessary fluid and salt in the body by increasing urine output. Diuretics can result in low potassium levels, the American Heart Association explains, particularly if they are used for extended periods of time. Lack of potassium can cause muscles to cramp or weaken, and can also result in chronic fatigue. Taking potassium supplements can treat low potassium levels, also known as hypokalemia.

Impotence

Impotence is a side effect that can be caused by many different kinds of blood pressure medications, HighBloodPressureMed.com reports. While diuretic medications reduce the amount of liquid in the bloodstream, they can also prevent adequate blood flow to the penis. Men taking this type of blood pressure medication may become impotent as a result. Beta blockers, which relax the muscle around blood vessels, are also used to treat hypertension, and can similarly decrease blood flow to the genitals, resulting in problems with achieving and/or maintaining an erection.

Dizziness

Another long-term effect of blood pressure medication use in men is dizziness and drowsiness. Blood pressure medications, such as alpha blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers and calcium channel blockers work by dilating blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. However, this can result in diminished blood flow to the brain, resulting in dizziness, Johns Hopkins notes. The dizziness can be especially noticeable when the patient stands up from a reclining position.

High Blood Sugar

Men who are currently being treated for diabetes also may have their blood sugar control affected over time as a result if taking medications for hypertension. Patients who take beta blockers or diuretics for the treatment of their high blood pressure may discover that the medications they take for diabetes become less effective. As a result, diabetic men being treated for high blood pressure may need to have their diabetes treatments reevaluated in order to keep their blood sugar levels from becoming dangerously high.

Cold Sensitivity

Men who take medications for the treatment of high blood pressure may become more sensitive to cold temperatures over time, according to Johns Hopkins. This problem can be ameliorated by wearing adequate covering and clothing during the winter, and by making sure the ears, hands and feet are protected when cold is expected.

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