February 20, 2019
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you probably take one or more prescription medications to lower your numbers. When choosing a medicine to treat your hypertension, the doctor considers many factors, including the cause of your high blood pressure, how high your readings are, and if you have any other underlying conditions that could be contributing to your high readings.
These medications, known as anti-hypertensives, will not cure your condition; however, they will work to bring your blood pressure back to a normal range. There are a few classes of anti-hypertensives, and each one works in a particular way to lower your blood pressure.
This classification of drugs slows your heart rate and keeps your heart from squeezing too hard. It allows the blood to flow through your vessels with less force, which lowers your blood pressure. Common beta-blockers include metoprolol (Lopressor) and propranolol (Inderal).
Blood vessels rely on messages from your brain to send a signal when they need to tighten in order to increase your blood pressure. Alpha-blockers work by stopping these messages, which allows your vessels to stay relaxed and keep your blood pressure low. Common alpha-blockers include doxazosin (Cardura) and terazosin (Hytrin).
Your body releases a hormone called Angiotensin II. This hormone tells your blood vessels to tighten. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors stop this process, which lets your blood vessels stay open so blood can pass through easily. Common ACE inhibitors include quinapril (Accupril) and enalapril (Vasotec).
Diuretics, also known as water pills, help your kidneys remove salt and water from your body through your urine. As these elements are removed from your body, the total amount of fluid decreases in your vessels, which keeps blood pressure lower. Common diuretics include furosemide (Lasix) and chlorothiazide (Diuril).
Calcium Channel Blockers
Your heart needs calcium to squeeze adequately and pump blood. Medicines in the calcium channel blocker classification keep calcium out of your heart and blood vessels, making it harder for electrical signals to pass into the cells. Some of these drugs keep blood vessels from tightening, while others slow down your heart, causing it to contract less forcefully. Common calcium channel blockers include nifedipine (Procardia) and amlodipine (Norvasc). It’s essential to keep your blood pressure in the normal range to avoid serious health conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.
If you’re having difficulty controlling your blood pressure or have a question about your anti-hypertensive medications, request an appointment today.
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