Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a potentially dangerous health condition that could lead to stroke and heart problems if it is not kept under control. There are various ways in which blood pressure can be lowered and controlled, and these could include the implementation of lifestyle adjustments and/or antihypertensive drugs. Anti-hypertensive treatment needs to be started as soon as possible to avoid the condition from doing any long-term or lasting damage.
Most people with high blood pressure don't realise that they might require antihypertensive drugs, because the condition isn't likely to cause you to experience any symptoms. Many people only discover they need anti-hypertensive treatment if their health starts deteriorating as a result. This is why it's so important to go for regular check-ups with your doctor, as this makes early detection possible.
In general a person with high blood pressure who is at risk of developing further complications may be recommended an anti-hypertensive treatment as well as a list of applicable lifestyle changes. If your blood pressure is slightly higher than normal, anti-hypertensive drugs aren't recommended straight away, but only after lifestyle adjustments have proven to be ineffective.
There are five main types antihypertensive drugs used. They are:
Ace inhibitors are types of antihypertensive drugs stop arteries from narrowing and causing pressure on the heart by preventing the production of a hormone known as angiotensin II. Angiotensin II receptor antagonists work in a similar way. However, instead of stopping their production they simply block the effect they have, thus allowing blood vessels to relax and allowing the blood to flow more freely.
Beta-blockers prevent hormones such as adrenalin from affecting blood vessels and causing them to narrow. Alpha-blockers lower blood pressure because they help regulate heartbeats, preventing the heart from working too hard and avoiding placing too much pressure on the blood vessels.
Calcium channel blockers prevent the transportation of calcium in muscles, including those muscles that cause blood vessels to expand. Calcium plays a part in the contraction of arterial muscles, which can inhibit the flow of healthy oxygenated blood. Thiazide diuretics act to remove salt from the blood, drawing out all the water and transferring it to the kidneys. By reducing the volume of liquid in the blood, the pressure on the blood vessels is alleviated.