Medications for Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
When you are diagnosed with Hypertension or high blood pressure, your doctor will first try to control it without medicine, while he examines you and performs all necessary tests to determine what caused their blood pressure levels to rise. To do so he will prescribe a nutritional plan, increase your physical activity, reduce your body weight, and modify your lifestyle. If this doesn’t work, your doctor will prescribe you one or more drugs to adequately control your blood pressure. Drugs lower blood pressure by reducing blood volume, decreasing the heartbeat’s strength and speed or decreasing resistance of the vessels to blood flow.
If your systolic pressure is between 140 and 159 mmHg, and diastolic between 90 and 99 mmHg, you have stage one high blood pressure. In this case, your doctor may prescribe one of the following drugs:
- Diuretics- Diuretics, or water pills, make your kidneys expel more water and salt. This reduces the volume of blood flow, and, therefore, blood pressure.
- Beta blockers (metoprolol, nadolol and atenolol) – These block the effects of the autonomic nervous system on the heart, making your heart beat milder and less frequent, thus reducing blood pressure.
- Calcium channel blockers (amlodipine, diltiazem and nifedipine) – this cause blood vessels to relax and dilate simultaneously, preventing calcium from entering the heart muscle cells, reducing blood pressure.
- Antagonist Angiotensin II (Losartan, Candesartan and Valsartan) – This drug has been shown to have a renal protective effect, by blocking the Renin-Angiotensin Aystem (RAS) which helps reverse or prevent kidney damage at an early stage (microalbuminuria) as well modify hypertension levels.
- Statins are a drug that block liver enzyme, thereby inhibiting liver cholesterol production. Statins are prescribed to those with high blood cholesterol levels or who are at risk of circulatory system diseases, particularly atherosclerosis.
In the case of second stage blood pressure, which occurs when your systolic pressure is greater than 160 mmHg, or your diastolic pressure is greater than 100 mmHg, or both are high, your doctor may prescribe a combination of at least two of the above drugs.
All medicines may cause side effects, but to reduce these, many manufacturers tend to combine two agents in a single tablet, such as an ACE inhibitor and a diuretic, here the dose of each is so small that the adverse effects are limited, while hypertension is effectively controlled. Sometimes two drugs with opposing side effects are combined, for example, a diuretic which causes your body to lose potassium, with another one that preserves it. Pill combinations offers some advantages, but it also causes your physician not to be so flexible when changing the doses of any of them.
In the event that any of these drugs or combinations don’t effectively lower your blood pressure, then your doctor may recommend taking alpha blockers or vasodilators, which inhibit secretion of certain chemicals that tighten blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure. One should note that these medications are strong and can cause more side effects than the other previously mentioned drugs.
Also one should keep in mind that if blood pressure is too high, it has to be controlled quickly, as it may cause arterial damage, kidney damage and heart failure. Therefore your doctor may recommend treatment with up to 3 different medications in order to control your blood pressure.
Your doctor is the only one who can prescribe medication to control your high blood pressure, as only he knows your medical history and individual requirements. When your doctor prescribes you medicine, he has to inform and warn you about any possible side effects and he’ll tell you what to do in each case, supervising you strictly during the first weeks of treatment to make sure everything is working properly. Never take a drug somebody else has recommended, as this could cause serious health problems.
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