All over the years, blood pressure has not been a problem like it represents nowadays. In a recent study, about 1.1billion of people on this planet suffer from high arterial blood pressure. So, it became a must for the doctors and inventors to find a solution to this big problem.
High blood pressure is a condition that affects millions of people in the world. In America, it is estimated that approximately 32% of the population suffer from this condition, which translates to one in three Americans. Unfortunately, only about 54% of the affected persons are on pressure-management treatment. The treatment of heart and blood pressure is demanding as the costs are pretty high. Hypertension is the main cause of various conditions, some that can be fatal, such as kidney diseases, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.
Heart and blood pressure drugs are designed to lower the high pressure, thereby guarding body organs, such as the heart, kidney and the brain, from possible damage. Proper management of hypertension has been associated with up to 40%, 25% and 50% of stroke, heart attacks, and heart failure complications, respectively. While there are many drugs to manage heart and blood pressure, the surest way to keep your pressure in check is to make lifestyle changes like proper dieting, smoking cessation, and regular exercising. Research shows that risks of high blood pressure increase with age.
The surest way to manage and prevent high blood pressure is through lifestyle changes and choices. The following are the most common ones:
The way people respond to treatment varies from one person to another. However, the aforementioned measures will not only help you lower your blood pressure, but also go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of heart and blood pressure treatment.
The following are the main drugs used to treat heart and blood pressure:
1. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
ACE inhibitors work by blocking the angiotensin effect, which is the chemical responsible for the narrowing of arteries. Angiotensin can only make blood vessels contract when it binds with a receptor. This effect is blocked by ARBs, making it impossible for angiotensin to contract the blood vessels, leaving them open that eventually lowers the blood pressure. ARBs are common drugs due to their effectiveness. They however may cause dizziness and shouldn't be taken during pregnancy. Other side effects include skin rashes, possible, but rare kidney damage, chronic cough, and loss of taste. These medicines shouldn't be used during pregnancy as they can harm the mother and the unborn child. The newborn can suffer from complications, such as hyperkalemia, kidney failure, and even death.
Diuretics work by ridding the body of excess water and sodium (salt), thereby controlling blood pressure. They are in most cases prescribed alongside other prescription drugs. A number of these medicines may lower the levels of potassium in the body. You should therefore watch out for symptoms such as leg cramps and weakness. It is therefore advisable that you consume foods rich in potassium to avoid deficiency. Alternatively, a doctor may recommend a potassium supplement. There are also some diuretics that don't affect the potassium levels, such as Amiloride (Midamar), Triamterene (Dyrenium), and Spironolactone (Aldactone). Though not common, long use of diuretics can cause gout attacks. These drugs can also increase sugar levels in blood in diabetics.
Beta-blockers work by lowering the heart rate, which helps reduce the heart's workload and blood output, which in turn helps reduce blood pressure. Some of the common drugs in this class include Acebutolol (Sectral), Atenolol (Ternomin), Betaxolol (Kerlone), Caretolol Hydrochloride, and Penbutolol Sulfate, among others. Some drugs such as Bisoprolo and Hydrochlorothiazide are a combination of beta-blockers and diuretics. Common side effects of these drugs include insomnia, depression/exhaustion, cold hands and feet, insomnia, asthma symptoms, and possible impotence.
4. Calcium channel blockers
Drugs in this class work by blocking calcium from entering the arteries or heart's smooth muscle cells because their presence hardens and strengthens contractions of the heart. Therefore, their absence allows the heart to contract with ease that when coupled with wide blood vessels helps lower the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Some of the drugs in this class include Bepridil (Vosocor), Diltiazem, Felodipine, and Nisoldipine, among others. These drugs have been associated with side effects such as dizziness, swollen ankles, headaches, palpitations, and constipation.
5. Alpha blockers
Alpha blockers work by reducing the resistance of the arteries, which eventually helps relax muscles, allowing free flow of blood. Some of the drugs in this class include Doxazosin Meslylate, Prazosin Hydrochloride, and Erazosin Hydrochloride. These medicines have been associated with dizziness, fast heart rate, and low blood pressure, especially when standing up.
6. Alpha-2 receptor agonists
These drugs work by lowering the functioning of the sympathetic, which is responsible for the production of adrenaline, part of the involuntary nervous system. With less adrenaline, blood pressure drops. A common medicine in this class is methyldopa. The drug can adversely affect the fetus and therefore shouldn't be taken by pregnant women. They might also cause dizziness or drowsiness.
7. Combination of alpha and beta-blockers
There are cases when a combination of beta and alpha-blockers may be used, especially in high blood pressure cases with high heart failure risks. Some of the drugs in this category include Carvedilol and Labetalol Hydrochloride.
8. Central agonists
These drugs help reduce or prevent the ability of blood vessels to contract. Their mechanism differs from that of beta and alpha-blockers, but they achieve the same purpose of reduced blood pressure. Some of the drugs in this class include Alpha Methyldopa and Clonidine Hydrochloride. These medicines, especially Alpha Methyldopa, have been found to cause an extremely low blood pressure, especially in a standing position. They can also cause fever, anemia, sluggishness, and dryness of the mouth. Other side effects include drowsiness and constipation.
9. Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors
These drugs block neurotransmitters from communicating constriction messages to the brain. This helps lower blood pressure. These medicines are only used in rare occasions, especially after the other therapies have been found to be ineffective.
10. Blood vessels dilators and vasodilators
This class of drugs relaxes the muscles in blood vessel walls, making it possible for them to dilate, which paves way for easy flow of blood. They include Minoxidil and Hydralazine Hydrochloride.
The effectiveness of the drugs in any of the above classes is pegged on a number of factors. Your doctor will prescribe the most ideal therapy upon thorough assessment of your condition, especially the primary cause of the heart and blood pressure. Adhere to the dosage instruction for the best effect.