Blood Pressure Medication

Blood pressure medication is used to control an individual’s blood pressure. Blood pressure is the medical term for the tension in your arteries and if it is too high, it can cause a number of medical problems, including heart disease and eye damage. If it is too low, the individual affected could faint or have trouble with feeling weak.

High blood pressure is far more damaging than low blood pressure and it can be managed with medication. Usually, the aim of medication is to bring the blood pressure down to a safe level of below 140/90.

Causes of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure usually comes in one of two forms – essential hypertension, which is when high blood pressure is the main disease, and secondary hypertension, whereby high blood pressure is secondary to another disease or has been caused by another disease.

Essential hypertension is caused by a number of things – one thing that we do know is that hypertension or high blood pressure only develops in groups or individuals that have a high salt intake – that is, over 5.8g of salt per day. We also know that obesity is a high risk factor, as is having parents who also have high blood pressure – up to 30% of cases of high blood pressure can be attributed to genetics.

Also, the vast majority of high blood pressure patients are thought to have an abnormality of their arteries in that their arteries have an increased resistance in them compared to that of a person with normal blood pressure.

Treatment of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is usually treated with medication, in conjunction with some lifestyle changes –  including losing weight if you are obese and change your eating habits so that you take in less processed food. Reduce your salt intake and use low-sodium salt in all cooking. Try to cook all food from scratch and be careful with your cooking methods.

There are five general classes of blood pressure medication and you’ll be given your medication depending on what is causing your blood pressure. Some of the medications that are used to control high blood pressure are as follows:

ACE Inhibitors – this medication works by reducing a chemical in your blood called angiotensin II. This chemical tends to have a narrowing effect on your arteries, therefore having less of this chemical in your blood stream helps to widen and relax your blood vessels, ultimately lowering your blood pressure. Some ACE inhibitor drug brands are: captopril, cilazapril, enalapril, fisinopril, lisinopril, perindopril, quinapril, ramipril, and trandolapril.

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers – These drugs work to minimise the angiotensin’s effect on your blood vessels, so they work in a similar way to ACE inhibitors. Some angiotensin receptor blocker drug brands are: candesartan, eprosartan, irbesartan, losartan, olmesartan, telmisartan and valsartan.

Diuretics – these drugs work by increasing the amount of salt and sodium that you pass through your urine. This helps to widen your blood vessels as you have less sodium in your body. Some diuretic drug brands are: bendroflumethiazide, chlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, cyclopenthiazide, hydrochlorothiazide, and indapamide.

Calcium Channel Blockers – these drugs affect the way that calcium is used in the blood vessels, having a relaxing effect on the vessels meaning that your blood pressure is ultimately lowered. Some calcium channel blocker drug brands are: amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, isradipine, lacidipine, lercanidipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, nisoldipine, and verapamil. Calcium channel blockers can also be used to treat angina.

Beta-blockers – these drugs work by slowing the heart rate and slowing the force of the heart – these actions help to lower blood pressure. There are many different brands of beta-blockers and some of them are as follows: acebutolol, atenolol, bisoprolol, metoprolol, oxprenolol, pindolol, propanaolol, sotalol, and timolol.

For more information on blood pressure medication, speak to your doctor.