High Blood Pressure Medication, Drug Treatment
Medication for high blood pressure will generally be prescribed to individuals with either moderately high or an exceptionally high BP. In some cases of mild hypertension, sufferers may also be forced to resort to blood pressure medication when lifestyle changes do not result in satisfactory reductions in blood pressure levels.
Common types of blood pressure medication can generally be divided into five classes. These are diuretics, vasodilators, calcium antagonists, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors. Less common antihypertensive drugs include Alpha blockers, Alpha- beta Blockers, Ganglion Blockers, Chemoreceptor Depressant Drugs, CSN Depressants and Adrenergic Neurone Blocking Drugs.
Diuretics, commonly known as water tablets, work by flushing excess water and sodium from the body through the increased production of urine. The reduction of sodium in the blood vessel walls allows for them to dilate, thereby reducing overall blood pressure. Diuretics are sometimes known to result in the depletion of potassium levels in the body and it is therefore advisable to increase one's intake of potassium rich foods, or alternatively invest in potassium supplements whist taking diuretics.
Vasodilators cause the arteries around the body to dilate, thereby reducing hypertension. Well known vasodilators include minoxidil, diazoxide and hydralazine. In addition to causing a rapid heart beat, vasodilators have also been known to cause skin rashes and increased body and facial hair in women. It is recommended that a multivitamin and sometimes diuretics be taken in conjunction with vasodilators.
Calcium Antagonists are widely used in the treatment of hypertension and it is estimated that over 6 million individuals are currently using calcium blockers in order to reduce elevated blood pressure levels. This type of blood pressure medication works by preventing the absorption of calcium into the walls of the heart and blood vessels. This causes the blood vessels to relax and blood pressure to decrease. Side effects of this type of medication include dizziness, flushing, headaches and in extreme cases heart palpitations and failure.
Beta blockers lower the number of nerve impulses in the heart and blood vessels resulting in a slower heart rate and a reduction in overall blood pressure. These drugs have been known to result in fatigue, depression and memory loss, and are believed to be substantially less effective than ACE Inhibitors in patients with a history of kidney problems and disease. ACE or Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors work by hindering the effectiveness of a certain kidney produced hormone which constricts blood vessels and elevates blood pressure. Common examples of ACE Inhibitors include lisinopril, captopril, and enalapril.
Of the less common types of medication used to address the causes of high blood pressure, alpha and alpha-beta blockers are by far the most widely used. Both work by reducing the impulses of the body to constrict the walls of the arteries around the body. Ganglion Blockers, Chemoreceptor Depressant Drugs, CSN Depressants and Adrenergic Neurone Blocking Drugs are only prescribed in very specific cases, and are becoming less and less popular both due to there ineffectiveness and certain side effects which they invoke.