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What Is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)?

Hypertension, aka High Blood Pressure affects millions of Americans, not just elders but even teens and children. It is well known as the silent killer because it may affect anyone and when left untreated, may lead to attacks if not may lead to several complications. Hypertension is most likely to occur in people who have a family history of this disease, those who are overweight and not physically active, people who have vices such as smoking and alcoholism, as well as those people who are very fond of eating foods high in fat and sodium. Apart from that, Hypertension also has racial tendencies and most commonly affects Black Americans.

Drugs for Hypertension

Basically, there are two general classifications of hypertension - first is the Primary or Essential Hypertension which happens for no identified reason and is also considered the most common type of hypertension. Another less common type of hypertension is the secondary hypertension wherein there is a known cause, i.e. underlying disease process such as heart failure, liver diseases, etc.

There are several types of drugs used to treat hypertension and here are some of them:

Diuretics. Diuretics are also known as water pills. These drugs promote water from the body to be expelled. Since Hypertension also involves excessive body fluids in the circulation, so the lower the amount of fluid circulating in the system, the lower our blood pressure would be. Usually, this will be the first drug to be prescribed by your physician.

Commonly prescribed diuretics are Furosemide (Lasix) and Aldactone. Diuretics may affect the balance of our fluids and electrolytes that's why lab values of our blood should be monitored regularly. Excessive use of diuretics may affect our fluid balance as well that's why taking this drug should not be excessive.

Beta Blockers. Beta Blockers lower our blood pressure by making our heartbeat slow down. With our heart pumping hard and fast, the pressure inside our blood vessel builds up and makes the blood flow diminished. Thus, a beta blocker can help lower down the blood pressure by decreasing one's heart rate. Beta blockers usually end their generic name with -lol.

Alpha Blockers. This drug classification works by acting on the nerve impulses that cause our blood vessels to contract. Alpha blockers inhibit these nerve impulses thus; our blood vessels remain relaxed, thereby lowering our blood pressure.

ACE Inhibitors. ACE stands for Angiotensin Converting Enzyme. This enzyme acts by increasing the blood pressure in our body due to changes in our fluid status. The activation of this enzyme actually starts in the kidney, which is the organ responsible for signaling the body to produce such enzyme. Upon activation, our fluid status is restored to its normal parameters by inhibiting excretion of water from the body which leads to retention of water thus leading to an increase in blood pressure. ACE Inhibitors usually have the suffix -pril in their generic names.

Calcium Channel Blockers. These drugs block the reuptake of calcium in the heart muscles which lowers down the activity of the heart, which then leads to lowering of the blood pressure. CCB usually ends in -dipine.

These are just a few of the drugs that are prescribed for hypertension. Since these drugs affect our cardiovascular system, it is important to take them as they are prescribed to avoid side effects as well as its adverse effects. And just like any other drugs, it is best to consult your cardiologist about these drugs if you feel uncomfortable taking them.

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