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Hypertension Treatment: Medicine

Overview

The goal of treating hypertension is to reduce blood pressure to within the normal range and maintain it there while keeping any adverse effects of medical treatment to a minimum. Management of hypertension involves lifestyle changes and medication.

Lifestyle changes, such as quitting cigarettes, losing weight, and increasing exercise, can dramatically reduce blood pressure. If lifestyle changes fail to reduce blood pressure, or if you can't make these alterations, many effective drugs are available. Sometimes you need to experiment with a few to find one that agrees with you. Many times more than one drug is needed to control blood pressure.

Blood pressure medicines must be taken daily. Do not stop taking your medicine on your own. If you develop side effects, notify your doctor. She may be able to adjust the treatment such as by changing the dose or choosing another drug to help minimize side effects while controlling your blood pressure.

Prescription medications for hypertension include:

  • Diuretics
  • Beta-blockers
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors)
  • Angiotensin II antagonists
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Alpha-beta blockers
  • Centrally-acting nervous system drugs
  • Vasodilators

Treatments

Effect of Diuretics on Hypertension

Diuretics lower blood pressure by helping the kidneys get rid of excess water and sodium. This is why these medicines are sometimes referred to as “water pills.”

Read more about Hypertension and Diuretics.

Effect of Beta Blockers on Hypertension

Beta-blockers help treat hypertension by lowering blood pressure. They also reduce demands on the heart by reducing the rate and force of contraction.

Read more about Hypertension and Beta Blockers.

Effect of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors on Hypertension

ACE inhibitors relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure by blocking the production of angiotensin, a hormone that causes the blood vessels to constrict.

Read more about Hypertension and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors.

Effect of Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) on Hypertension

ARBs relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure by shielding the blood vessels from angiotensin, a hormone that causes the blood vessels to constrict.

Read more about Hypertension and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors.

Effect of Calcium Channel Blockers on Hypertension

Calcium channel blockers relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure by blocking some activities of heart and blood vessel muscle cells.

Read more about Hypertension and Calcium Channel Blockers.

Effect of Alpha Blockers on Hypertension

Alpha-blockers lower blood pressure by decreasing nerve impulses to the blood vessels. This relaxes the blood vessels and helps lower blood pressure.

Read more about Hypertension and Alpha Blockers.

Effect of Alpha-Beta Blockers on Hypertension

Alpha-beta blockers lower blood pressure by decreasing nerve impulses to the blood vessels. They also slow the heart rate and decrease the force of contraction. This decreases the workload of the...

Read more about Hypertension and Alpha-Beta Blockers.

Effect of Centrally Acting Adrenergic Drugs on Hypertension

These nervous system drugs lower blood pressure by controlling nerve impulses and relaxing blood vessels.

Read more about Hypertension and Centrally Acting Adrenergic Drugs.

Effect of Vasodilators on Hypertension

Vasodilators lower blood pressure by directly relaxing blood vessel walls.

Read more about Hypertension and Vasodilators.

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