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An Introduction to the Circulatory System
The circulatory system is an essential part of the body. The cardiovascular and circulatory systems work together to fight off disease, maintain body temperature, and balance the body’s systems. The circulatory system is made up of the heart, arteries, veins, and blood.
The heart keeps the circulatory system functioning and pumping blood constantly. Our blood is full of many important substances, like hormones, nutrients, and antibodies. The arteries move oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to other parts of the body. The veins bring back de-oxygenated blood to the heart, where the blood is funneled down into the lungs to receive more oxygen.
There are four chambers of the heart that hold and release blood. The four chambers include the right atrium, the right ventricle, the left atrium, and left ventricle. 
Blood pressure is a measurement of blood pushing against the blood vessel walls. When blood pressure gets too high, it can lead to several side effects and increase your heart attack and stroke risk. High blood pressure (HBP) is a fairly common condition, and you will likely be prescribed medications like Cozaar (losartan) and Aldactone (spironolactone) to control your blood pressure levels. Read on to learn more about the role of Cozaar in treating high blood pressure.
Understanding High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and recorded with the systolic number first and the diastolic after. Systolic pressure measures your blood pressure when the heart beats, and the diastolic number is measured when the heart rests between beats. You can learn more about high blood pressure on Canada Pharmacy Depot’s blog.  The American Heart Association recognizes five categories of high blood pressure. The five categories include:
Normal BP: A normal blood pressure (BP) measurement is considered anything less than 120/80 mm Hg. Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, but a healthy BP is typically within this range.
Elevated BP: Your blood pressure may be on its way to becoming a problem when it begins to creep up slowly. If your systolic pressure ranges from 120-129 and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. 
Hypertension Stage 1: This stage involves 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic. At this point, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, like altering your diet and exercise regime. Your doctor may also start you on blood pressure medication at this time.
Hypertension Stage 2: Stage 2 hypertension involves 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Your blood pressure is now entering a dangerous region, and your doctor will put you on a combination of blood pressure medications to lower the risk of HBP side effects.
Hypertensive crisis: It is essential to avoid a hypertensive crisis at all costs. This stage requires medical attention and involves measurement of 180/120 mm Hg. If your blood pressure is this high, you should seek medical help or call your doctor. Your heart cannot beat at this pressure for long periods, and a heart attack may occur. Symptoms of a hypertensive crisis can include:
- Numbness or weakness
- Change in vision
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Back pain 
Cozaar for High Blood Pressure
Cozaar, also known by its generic name losartan, is a drug used to lower blood pressure. Cozaar is part of a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). This is one of several medications that may be used to lower your blood pressure.
High blood pressure can narrow the arteries and lessen the efficiency of blood flow to the heart. ARBs like Cozaar work to block the effect of the chemical (angiotensin II) that makes blood vessels narrow. When this chemical is blocked, the blood vessels will widen and allow blood to flow more easily to and from the heart. ARBs are typically prescribed when other blood pressure medications like ACE inhibitors are not well tolerated. 
Along with high blood pressure, doctors may also use Cozaar to lower stroke risk for heart disease patients. It can also slow long-term kidney damage in those with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes patients are more likely to have high blood pressure, so Cozaar can benefit their treatment plan. 
Possible Side Effects of Cozaar
It is essential to take Cozaar as prescribed by your doctor. Make sure you read all directions on your prescription label to ensure you take the proper dose. It is unlikely that you will experience side effects, but it is important to know any possible allergic or drug reactions to this medication. You may be experiencing an allergic reaction to this drug if you experience swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. Common side effects of Cozaar include:
- Back pain
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
You may want to call your doctor if you suffer severe side effects, including:
- Pain or burning during urination
- High potassium levels that result in weakness, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, or loss of movement
- Kidney problems including rapid weight gain, painful urination, and swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles 
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