Medical Treatments for Hypertension

Research and empirical evidence has suggested that a combination of relatively small dosages of several different medicines is often far more effective than a large dosage of just one, hence many doctors will adopt this approach.

When you first visit your doctor to seek medical attention for high blood pressure problem, you must always tell them your full medical history, focusing in particular on liver or kidney problems, diabetes, gout, allergies and urinary problems. All of these conditions may have some effect on the medicines that your doctor prescribes, so it is absolutely essential to make sure that they are in possession of a complete medical history before you seek medical treatment for high blood pressure.

Diuretics

Thiazide diuretics are medications that help your kidneys expel sodium and water which in turn helps to reduce blood volume. In many cases, diuretics are often the first medicine that will be prescribed to deal with hypertension because it is very common to find that reducing the amount of fluid in the body is an effective way of reducing blood pressure at the same time.

Drugs of this nature can make you dizzy and lightheaded, particularly when you first start taking them. Blurred vision, a loss of appetite, headaches and a general feeling of weakness and ennui may be encountered, especially in the early days, but these feelings should pass relatively quickly. If they do not do so, you need to report the fact to your doctor as he (or she) may need to change the medication.

Beta blockers

Beta blockers work by reducing the workload on your heart whilst also opening up your blood vessels at the same time. In this way, they cause your heart to beat more slowly and with less force which obviously reduces your blood pressure. For some people, beta blockers on their own are not especially effective for reducing hypertension but they are more effective when taken in combination with diuretics.

There are many different beta blockers that you doctor may prescribe including Acebutolol (Sectral), Bisoprolol (Zebeta), Nadolol (Corgard) and Propranolol (Inderal LA) to name but a few.

In general, all of these medicines have the ability to make you feel dizzy, listless, lightheaded and generally fatigued. As they also reduce your blood pressure, you might also find that you suffer from cold hands, fingers or toes as the blood flow to the extremities of your body gradually decreases with the lowering of your blood pressure.

Less commonly, patients who are taking beta blockers sometimes experience difficulty sleeping, a shortness of breath, depression and a lack of sex drive.

Once again, all of these side-effects should wear off relatively quickly so if they do not do so, you need to consult your medical attendant to seek further attention.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

These are medicines that help to relax your blood vessels whilst also making them more flexible by inhibiting the growth of a natural chemical that otherwise restricts blood flow through these vessels by narrowing them. ACE inhibitors are another group of medicines that work best when taken in combination with diuretics rather than on their own.

Another closely related group of medicines are the Angiotensin II receptor blockers which limit the production of Angiotensin II. This is another powerful chemical enzyme which your body produces that tightens the muscles surrounding your blood vessels, thereby constricting them.

Hence, by taking inhibitors that limit the production of both Angiotensin and Angiotensin II, you minimize the risk of your blood vessels being narrowed as they would be if you were not inhibiting the production of these enzymes.

In both cases, your doctor is unlikely to prescribe either of these inhibiting medicines if you are pregnant or if you have suffered (or are still suffering) renal arterial stenosis. Furthermore, anyone else who has previously suffered a strong reaction to ACE inhibitors of any kind is probably best advised to avoid taking them.

For other people, the most common side-effects of taking these inhibitors are coughs, headache, weakness, drowsiness and rashes. In some people, the side-effects can be tasted as normal food or drink tastes become excessively salty or metallic, whilst ACE inhibitors will sometimes reduce blood pressure too far and cause elevated potassium levels.

In all of these situations, should adverse side effects arise, you must seek immediate medical attention.

Renin inhibitors

Renin is a natural chemical enzyme that regulates the mean arterial blood pressure of your body. If you have too much renin being produced, it leads to high blood pressure, so taking a renin inhibitor such as Aliskiren (Tekturna) slows down the production of the enzyme and therefore helps to reduce hypertension.

The drug works by stopping rennin from starting the processes that lead to the increased production of blood. However, as Tekturna is still a relatively new arrival on the market, it is still being studied to ascertain ideal dosages and long-term effects.

For the same reason, the possible adverse side effects of taking the drug are not completely established or understood either although it is suggested that the most common side-effect is likely to be diarrhea, although other people have suffered allergic reactions – swelling in the face and lips – or rashes.

On the flipside of the coin, it is reported on the Medical News Today website that this particular drug might have additional benefits for people whose hypertension is a result of being overweight or obese.

Calcium channel blockers

Calcium channel blockers are an effective treatment for hypertension in older people or those who have difficulty reducing their sodium intake as they work by slowing your heart rate whilst also relaxing the muscles in the blood vessel walls at the same time. Through this combination of effects, calcium channel blockers reduce the amount of blood being pumped around the body whilst also ensuring that restricted blood vessels do not increase pressure either.

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