Cardiovascular medications are used to treat or prevent a variety of different aspects of heart disease, such as high blood pressure, tachycardia, angina and a number of other disorders associated with the cardiovascular system. Heart disease patients may take a combination of cardiovascular medications, depending on the form of heart disease they have and the level of severity. Because there are a multitude of disorders involving the cardiovascular system, there are also many different medications used. While it would be hard to list them all, they are each defined by category. The following is a comprehensive breakdown of the most common categories of cardiovascular drugs and the reasons they may be prescribed.
Diuretics are designed to help alleviate water retention which can be one of the main symptoms associated with high blood pressure. The human heart must work much harder when there is an excess of water in the body which could lead to significant heart distress or damage.
Anticoagulants, also called blood thinners are used to prolong the amount of time in which it takes for blood clots to form. People who are at a risk for stroke, have had a history of blood clots, or have certain heart, vessel or lung diseases may be prescribed anticoagulants to help prevent blood clots from occurring, or to help keep existing blood clots form growing larger. These drugs are not intended to dissolve blood clots, and will not work for that purpose.
This category of cardiovascular drugs is used to lower cholesterol in people who have been diagnosed with high LDL cholesterol. If patients show an inability to lower their cholesterol levels through change in diet and a fitness program, many doctors will prescribe one of the many types of statins.
These drugs are used for the same purpose as anticoagulants; however they are much milder and therefore preferred if possible, in contrast to stronger, more aggressive blood thinners. Aspirin falls into the anti-platelet category but there are a number of different prescription strength forms of this class of cardiovascular medications.
Beta blockers are used for a number of different heart conditions. They can be used to lower blood pressure as well as help reduce the chest pain that is associated with Angina. In addition, beta blockers can significantly slow a rapid heartbeat associated with arrhythmia. These drugs are widely used in the prevention of heart attacks by helping to control a number of symptoms.
Calcium Channel Blockers.
These drugs, much like beta blockers can be used to treat certain forms of angina, as well as decreasing the myocardial oxygen demand by lowering the heart rate. In addition, calcium channel blockers are often used to treat high blood pressure and arrhythmias.
Angiotenisn Converting Enzymes (ACE).
These drugs are prescribed to help decrease some of the blood flow to the heart, resulting in a reduced workload. In addition, these medications are used to lower blood pressure and increase the overall function of the cardiovascular system.
Because there are so many different types of cardiovascular drugs, it is very hard to give an accurate report on the side effects that may be associated with each one. For example, diuretics may lead to dehydration by removing too much water from the system. Anticoagulents could lead to excessive bleeding as they are blood thinners. For a much more detailed description of the different side effects associated with each category of cardiovascular medications, it is always best to consult with a physician or other health care worker.