High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure medications help make a healthy heart
Your health doesn’t have to be at risk anymore because of high blood pressure, now that we have a variety of high blood pressure medications. Ask your doctor for the one that is right for you.
By Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, MD
High blood pressure medication are from different families. The aim of treatment for high blood pressure is reduce it to below 130/80 mmHg; some doctors allow this to be up to 140/90. (But the lower number, 130/80, is especially important to reach, should you have a cardiovascular disease, kidney disease or diabetes). We doctors select that high blood pressure medication that is right for you, based on your past medical problems or conditions, ethnicity, potential side effects, your age and several other considerations.
High blood pressure medication
One type of high blood pressure medication is "Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors." There is a chemical in the blood, called angiotensin II, which tightens the blood vessels. The narrowing of the vessels increases the pressure within the vessels and can cause high blood pressure.
The ACE Inhibitor medications work by reducing the amount of this chemical in the bloodstream. As a result, the blood vessels enlarge or dilate, and the blood pressure is reduced. This lower blood pressure makes it easier for the heart to pump blood and can improve the function of a failing heart. In addition, the progression of kidney disease due to high blood pressure or diabetes is slowed.
ACE inhibitors are used for controlling blood pressure, treating heart failure and preventing kidney damage in people with hypertension or diabetes. They also benefit patients who have had heart attacks. In studies, individuals with hypertension, heart failure, or prior heart attacks who were treated with an ACE inhibitor lived longer than patients who did not take an ACE inhibitor. Because they prevent early death resulting from hypertension, heart failure or heart attacks, ACE inhibitors are one of the most important group of drugs. Some individuals with hypertension do not respond sufficiently to ACE inhibitors alone. In these cases, other drugs are used in combination with ACE inhibitors.
Another important family of high blood pressure medication is the "Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)." ARBs work by blocking the effect of angiontensin II and allow the blood vessel walls to relax.
ARBs are used for controlling high blood pressure, treating heart failure, and preventing kidney failure in people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Since these medications have effects that are similar to those of ACE inhibitors, they are often used when an ACE inhibitor cannot be tolerated by patients.
Another type of high blood pressure medication is the Calcium-Channel blockers. These too have a relaxing effect on blood vessels.
Diuretics, or water tablets, work by increasing the amount of fluid and salt your body excretes in your urine. This allows for better circulation that will reduce blood pressure. They can also work to relax blood vessels. Only a small dose is needed to produce results.
Beta-blockers are used to slow the heart rate and reduce the force of the heart in order to lower blood pressure. These are commonly used to treat conditions such as angina, or chest pain.
High blood pressure medications are important. They can help save hearts, kidneys, eyes, brains and lives. Find out if you have high blood pressure, if you need medications, and what the best combination of medications for yourself might be.