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Is Your Blood Pressure Medication Increasing Your Cholesterol?

Sunday, July 23rd 2023 10:00am 4 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Blood pressure medications play a crucial role in managing hypertension, a prevalent cardiovascular condition affecting millions of individuals worldwide. However, it is important to be aware that some medications, such as beta blockers and hydrochlorothiazide, may have potential side effects on lipid profiles. This article delves into the impact of these medications on bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, shedding light on the underlying mechanisms and providing insights based on peer-reviewed research.

I. Beta Blockers and Cholesterol Metabolism
A. Mechanism of Action

Beta blockers work by blocking the beta-adrenergic receptors, reducing the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline on the heart.
Evidence suggests that beta blockers may interfere with lipid metabolism and promote adverse lipid changes.

B. Effect on LDL Cholesterol Levels

Several studies have shown that beta blockers can elevate LDL cholesterol levels.
A study conducted by Leenen et al. (2001) found that patients taking beta blockers had significantly higher LDL cholesterol levels compared to those on other antihypertensive medications.
Mechanistically, beta blockers may decrease LDL receptor activity, impairing the clearance of LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.

C. Triglyceride Levels and Beta Blockers

Research indicates that beta blockers can also increase triglyceride levels.
A study by Sahin et al. (2016) demonstrated that patients receiving beta blockers had elevated triglyceride levels compared to a control group.
The underlying mechanisms involve decreased lipoprotein lipase activity, reduced fatty acid oxidation, and impaired triglyceride clearance.

II. Hydrochlorothiazide and Lipid Profiles
A. Mode of Action

Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) belongs to the thiazide diuretic class of medications, which work by inhibiting sodium reabsorption in the kidneys.
While HCTZ is considered an effective antihypertensive drug, its impact on lipid profiles deserves attention.

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