High blood pressure, also known as high BP, is a cardiovascular condition that results in increased pressure on the heart in order to pump blood to the rest of the body. High blood pressure, if not corrected, may end up in the formation and prevalence of several consequential health and cardiac issues, such as episodes of heart attack, failure of the heart, stroke, and kidney malfunctioning.
The early detection and management of high blood pressure are vital in order to prevent such health problems. There are several kinds of medications that have the potential to aid in the treatment of high blood pressure. These medications and drugs are referred to as antihypertensives. Antihypertensive drugs have been classified into various categories due to their different mechanisms of action as well as side effects. Since there are quite a lot of antihypertensive medications available today, finding the right fit may require multiple tests and diagnostic tools. This will eventually help the healthcare provider to suggest the most effective antihypertensive drug.
What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
When a patient is diagnosed with high blood pressure for an extended period of time, they are known as hypertensive patients. The symptoms of high blood pressure vary between individuals; nevertheless, there are a few classic symptoms of high blood pressure that are mentioned below.
What Are the Different Categories of Blood Pressure Medications?
Antihypertensives or high blood pressure medications are divided into several categories based on their route of action and the side effects they may prevail. Mentioned below are the different categories of blood pressure medications.
Diuretics - A diuretic is one of the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive medications used to correct high blood pressure. Diuretics work by helping the kidneys to discard excess sodium and water in the body. This drastically drops the quantity of blood that passes through the blood vessels and thus helps in dropping blood pressure. Diuretics are of three types- potassium sparing diuretics, thiazide diuretics and loop diuretics. Out of all these diuretics, thiazide is the one that has the least amount of side effects when prescribed in a lower dosage.
Beta-blockers - The electrical signals to the heart are slowed down by the beta-blockers. This helps the heart to beat at a more regular pace and decreases the amount of force. Eventually, the blood pressure is reduced since the heart has to pump less volume of blood.
ACE Inhibitors - Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or ACE inhibitors do not allow the body to freely form a hormone called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II inhibitor hormone results in the blood vessels turning narrow and thus increases blood pressure. Hence, blood pressure is reduced and maintained by decreasing the action of this particular enzyme.
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers - This is a kind of medication that prevents the blood vessels from getting in contact with angiotensin II. Angiotensin II works by attaching itself to the receptor site. Angiotensin II receptor blockers get in between these receptor sites and thus avoid the binding of this particular hormone which eventually drops the blood pressure.
Calcium Channel Blockers - All muscles require calcium in order to move and function. Calcium flows in and out of the muscular cells. Calcium channel blockers are the drugs that block the entry of calcium into the smooth muscles of the heart as well as blood vessels and thus lower the blood pressure because the heart is made for relaxing.
Alpha-blockers - Catecholamines are the hormones produced within the body in certain circumstances. Catecholamines tend to bind to alpha receptors, a crucial part of the cells. This binding of the cell and hormone results in an increased heart rate. Alpha-blockers are medications that block the mechanism of catecholamines, and thus they do not bind with the alpha receptors. Due to this, blood can flow at a normal pace within the blood vessels, and thus the blood pressure is maintained on the lower side.
Alpha-2 Receptor Agonists - A combined effect of blocking the catecholamines from binding to the cells or alpha as well as beta receptors is brought about by alpha-two receptor agonists, also called alpha beta-blockers. The blood vessels do not constrict, and the heart does not require a lot of force to pump blood. This leads to a decrease in blood pressure.
Aldosterone Receptor Antagonists - These drugs bring about their action by blocking a chemical compound in the body called aldosterone. The blocking results in reducing the bodily fluids from being retained and thus lowers the blood pressure.
Central Agonists - These medications control the brain and instruct it not to produce or release a hormone called catecholamines. Due to this instruction from the central nervous system, the heart does not have to work with much force, and thus the blood flows with a reduced pressure onto the blood vessels.
Direct Renin Inhibitors - DRI or direct renin inhibitors are the latest kind of medication to lower blood pressure. The main mechanism of action of these drugs is to block the chemical referred to as renin in the body. As a result, the blood vessels widen up, giving the blood a free flow and thus reducing high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a cardiovascular condition where the heart and the blood vessels exert more force in order to function efficiently. This condition must be corrected and reversed else it may lead to permanent injury to the heart. Lowering blood pressure can be done with several high blood pressure medications. At times, the healthcare provider may combine two kinds of high blood pressure medications for a more direct and immediate change. Living a healthy and active lifestyle may be an added advantage in decreasing high blood pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions