There is an assortment of weight-loss pills on the market, and most of them contain a cocktail of ingredients that range from caffeine to hoodia. While the best way to maintain low blood pressure is to not be overweight, many pills will raise your blood pressure in the interim. It is important to know which pills are safe to take when you have high blood pressure to ensure no permanent damage occurs.
The two Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved weight-loss supplements on the market are Meridia and Xenical. Both pills affect your body in different ways. Meridia is an appetite suppressant; it works similarly to antidepressants such as Prozac. It inhibits your brain from reabsorbing serotonin, making you think you are fuller for a longer period of time. However, this type of drug has the chance of increasing your blood pressure and is not recommended for people who have high blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, Xenical blocks your body from absorbing up to 30 percent of the fat you consume, meaning that instead of being absorbed, the fat will just pass through your bowel movements. Although it has many side effects, including uncontrollable bowel movements, raising your blood pressure is not one of them, making it safe for consumption. As always, consult your doctor and describe all your conditions in detail to ensure your blood pressure wont go higher.
Diuretics, or water pills, are a safe method of achieving weight loss. However, because diuretics flush your system's excess fluid, the weight loss is usually short term. While diuretics won't raise your blood pressure, they do take a toll on your kidneys and could cause damage if taken consistently without monitoring.
Over the counter
Most weight-loss pills taken are purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy and general nutrition store. Yet, despite their claims, almost all of them are not tested or approved by the FDA and the ingredients they contain could be harmful, especially for people with high blood pressure. Most weight-loss pills work by increasing your metabolism, which increases your heart rate and, subsequently, your blood pressure. Also, many of these pills include ingredients that have similar effects to ephedra---the banned weight-loss ingredient---and can dramatically affect your cardiovascular system. The only over-the-counter weight-loss supplement that is FDA approved and does not have blood pressure side effects is Alli, the over-the-counter version of Xenical.
Ingredients to avoid
While there may be a pill out there that is effective in helping you lose weight and does not affect your blood pressure, there are certain ingredients you should avoid at all cost. Guarana, which can be found in many popular sports drinks and diet pills, is similar to caffeine and could increase your blood pressure and heart rate. Synephrine, most popularly labeled as bitter orange, is similar to ephedra and is known to increase blood pressure. Ephedrine, the active ingredient in ephedra, is still legal and comes in many pills under various names, including heartleaf. It is important to research all the ingredients in your pill before consuming it because no matter the name, it could contain something potentially dangerous.
Although there are certain pills that you need to avoid, it is important to consult your doctor before starting any regiment. Your doctor knows what causes your high blood pressure and how these other pills may affect your body.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Caleb
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