Hypertension Treatment

Drugs for Treating Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is usually known as the silent killer. There are certain symptoms which may indicate high blood pressure. These are not conclusive and may indicate other conditions. Since the consequences of hypertension, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure, can be quite serious, it is advisable to treat the condition as early as possible.

Early identification of this disease makes it possible to minimize the risk factors involved and treat the disease at an early stage.  Such risk factors include excess weight, lack of exercise and smoking. There is little you can do to minimize other risk factors such as age, race and genetic predisposition. You can however alter your lifestyle and change certain bad habits to minimize the risks of hypertension.
Lifestyle changes are undoubtedly very important. The core treatment of hypertension is through medication.  Medications are a critical means to bring down and control rapid rise in blood pressure. Although blood pressure medicine can not completely cure the disease, it is very essential in the treatment of life threatening situations which are a result of rapid rise in blood pressure.

There are five categories of hypertension drugs that are prescribed for high blood pressure. These are diuretics, beta blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. The five types of hypertension drugs and their functioning are briefly described below:

1. Diuretics- Diuretics work by increasing the rate of bodily urine excretion, thus ridding the body of excess water and salt. Increase in the amount of urine lessens the quantity of fluid in the bloodstream, and reduces the pressure on the artery walls. Some of the diuretic medicines are chlorothiazide (Diuril), furosemide (Lasix), spironolactone (Aldactone) and hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix, HydroDIURIL).

2. Beta blockers are another type of hypertension drugs that block the action of the involuntary nervous system on the heart. These drugs reduce heartbeat, force of heart muscle contraction and thus reduce the strain on the heart. Some of the Beta blockers are Propranolol (Inderal), atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor), carvedilol (Coreg) and bisoprolol (Zebeta).

3. ACE inhibitors are a group of drugs which reduce the action of the angiotensin converting enzyme. This in turn reduces the amount of angiotensin II, helps the blood vessels to dilate or expand and bring down blood pressure. Some of the ACE inhibitors are benazepril (Lotensin), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), perindopril (Aceon) and others.

4. There are also Calcium channel blockers that work by widening the arteries and reducing obstruction in the flow of blood. Some of the calcium channel beta blockers are amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor XR, Tiazac), isradipine (DynaCirc), nimodipine (Nimotop) and others.

5. Another new drug, Angiotensin II receptor antagonists lessen blood pressure by obstructing angiotensin from fastening to receptor sites in the soft muscles of the blood vessels. Some of them are valsartan (Diovan), eprosartan (Teveten), losartan potassium (Cozaar), telmisartan (Micardis) and others.

The above types of drugs are the result of scientific and clinical research and testing. They are tried and tested solutions which have life-saving properties. They also may be prescribed in combination for blood pressure. No doubt, they are the most important types of medications for hypertension.