During the course of my illness, I made it a habit to research everything that my doctors would tell me. IIt is not that I didn't trust them. Just making sure that everything said was validated by researches I made. Four years ago I did try to find out what hypertension drugs were. When were they used, what were the side effects?
The following was part of my research:
There were different types of hypertension drugs namely:
1. Anti angina drugs
Antiangina drugs are medicines that relieve the symptoms of angina pectoris (severe chest pain). The dull, tight chest pain of angina occurs when the heart's muscular wall is not getting enough oxygen. By relaxing the blood vessels, antiangina drugs reduce the heart's work load and increase the amount of oxygen-rich blood that reaches the heart.
These drugs come in different forms, and are used in three main ways:
• taken regularly over a long period, they reduce the number of angina attacks.
• taken just before some activity that usually brings on an attack, such as
climbing stairs, they prevent attacks.
• taken when an attack begins, they relieve the pain and pressure.
2. ACE – Inhibitors (this is what was prescribed to me)
Angiotensin II is a very potent chemical that causes the muscles surrounding blood vessels to contract and thereby narrows the blood vessels. The narrowing of the vessels increases the pressure within the vessels and can cause high blood pressure (hypertension). Angiotensin II is formed from angiotensin I in the blood by the enzyme, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). ACE inhibitors are medications that slow (inhibit) the activity of the enzyme, which decreases the production of angiotensin II. As a result, the blood vessels enlarge or dilate, and the blood pressure is reduced. This lower blood pressure makes it easier for the heart to pump blood and can improve the function of a failing heart. In addition, the progression of kidney disease due to high blood pressure or diabetes is slowed.
ACE inhibitors are used for controlling blood pressure, treating heart failure and preventing kidney damage in people with hypertension or diabetes. They also benefit patients who have had heart attacks. In studies, individuals with hypertension, heart failure, or prior heart attacks who were treated with an ACE inhibitor lived longer than patients who did not take an ACE inhibitor. Because they prevent early death resulting from hypertension, heart failure or heart attacks, ACE inhibitors are one of the most important group of drugs. Some individuals with hypertension do not respond sufficiently to ACE inhibitors alone. In these cases, other drugs are used in combination with ACE inhibitors.
3. Beta blockers
Beta blockers, also called beta-adrenergic blocking agents, treat a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma and migraines. Find out more about this class of medication. Beta blockers reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers work by blocking the effects of the hormone epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. As a result, the heart beats more slowly and with less force, thereby reducing blood pressure. Beta blockers also help blood vessels relax and open up to improve blood flow.
Uses for beta blockers
Doctors prescribe beta blockers to prevent, treat or improve symptoms in a variety of conditions, such as: High blood pressure; Irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia); Heart failure; Chest pain (angina); Heart attacks; Glaucoma; Migraines; Generalized anxiety disorder; Hyperthyroidism; Certain types of tremors.
4. Calcium antagonists
Calcium channel blockers, or calcium antagonists, treat a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, migraines and Raynaud's disease. Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering cells of the heart and blood vessel walls. This results in lower blood pressure. Calcium channel blockers, also called calcium antagonists, relax and widen blood vessels by affecting the muscle cells in the arterial walls. Some of the medications in this class have the added benefit of slowing your heart rate, which can further lower blood pressure.
Uses for calcium channel blockers
Doctors prescribe calcium channel blockers to prevent, treat or improve symptoms in a variety of conditions, such as: High blood pressure; Chest pain (angina); Migraines; Brain aneurysm complications; Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia); Raynaud's disease; Pulmonary hypertension.
Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, treat a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma and edema. Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, help rid your body of sodium and water. They work by making your kidneys excrete more sodium in urine. The sodium, in turn, takes water with it from your blood. That decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, which reduces pressure on the walls of your arteries.
Diuretics are the first choice to treat high blood pressure and heart problems related to high blood pressure. In addition, doctors prescribe certain diuretics to prevent, treat or improve symptoms in a variety of conditions, such as: Congestive heart failure; Edema; Polycystic ovary syndrome; Certain kidney disorders, such as kidney stones; Diabetes insipidus; Female hirsutism; Osteoporosis.
A future post shall feature the side effects of each drug type.