Hypertension aka high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer.” Why? It can cause significant damage to your heart and arteries—without you knowing!
This can lead to various complications, including death. In fact, it causes up to 60,000 deaths every year in the United States.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can treat the condition. For one thing, there are medications that you can take to keep your blood pressure under control. Certain lifestyle changes can also help.
Want to know what the different types of blood pressure medications are? If so, you’re on the right page! We’ll be going over everything that you need to know below.
Keep reading to learn more!
What is High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension is a chronic condition in which there’s too much pressure in your blood vessels. That is, there’s too much force against your artery walls.
Left untreated, it can lead to various health problems such as heart disease. That’s why early detection is so important.
How common is it? More common than you think. According to the ACC, nearly half of all Americans have the condition.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Hypertension causes no obvious symptoms. It’s not uncommon for people to go for many years without realizing that they have the condition.
In severe cases, however, it can lead to headaches, dizziness, chest pain, nosebleeds, and visual changes. Visit the doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
The last thing that you want is to wait until there's significant damage to the body!
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
There are two main types of hypertension—primary and secondary.
Primary hypertension is the most common type of hypertension. It generally develops over time with no identifiable cause.
However, researchers believe that it might have something to do with genes. That is, some people may be genetically predisposed to having high blood pressure.
Physical changes may play a part as well. For example, changes in kidney function can disrupt the body’s balance of salts and fluid, which can elevate blood pressure.
Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that results from an underlying medical condition. More often than not, it will occur quickly.
For example, it might be due to kidney disease, congenital heart defects, obstructive sleep apnea, alcohol abuse, or adrenal gland problems. Certain medications may also increase blood pressure as a side effect.
Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is relatively easy to diagnose. A doctor will take a reading, usually as part of a routine visit.
If your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor will request that you have more readings done over the next few days. This will let them know whether or not it’s a sustained problem.
If your blood pressure remains high, they’ll likely conduct more tests (e.g. urine test, ultrasound, EKG) to rule out other conditions.
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers. The first, or top number, represents systolic pressure. That’s the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart pumps out blood.
The second, or bottom number, represents diastolic pressure. That’s the pressure in your arteries when your heart is filling with blood.
A healthy blood pressure reading is anything below 120/80 mm Hg. Generally speaking, anything above 130/80 will require treatment.
5 Types of Blood Pressure Medications
There are several types of medications that you can take for hypertension. Here are some of them:
Beta-blockers are a type of drug that makes your heart beat more slowly with less force. This reduces the amount of pressure in your arteries.
In addition to that, it also helps open up your arteries and veins, which improves blood flow. Common side effects include fatigue and weight gain.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s not suitable for those with asthma as it can increase airway reactivity.
Diuretics are drugs that promote sodium excretion. They do this by increasing urine production in the kidney.
In doing so, there will be less fluid in your body, which will reduce blood pressure. Common side effects include headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, and increased thirst.
3. ACE Inhibitors
ACE inhibitors are often used for hypertension and heart failure. They prevent an enzyme from producing a substance that narrows your blood vessels.
This helps to relax your arteries and veins, which lowers blood pressure. Not only that, but they also reduce your heart’s workload by increasing blood flow.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) block the actions of a specific hormone that narrows your blood vessels. This allows your arteries and veins to relax, which lowers blood pressure.
Aside from hypertension, they are also effective in treating chronic kidney disease and heart failure. Possible side effects include dizziness, hyperkalemia, and angioedema.
5. Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium channel blockers work by slowing the movement of calcium into the heart muscle. This not only widens your arteries, but it also makes it easier for the heart to pump blood.
As a result, your heart won’t have to work as hard, which will lower your blood pressure. Common side effects include drowsiness, constipation, and lightheadedness.
Hopefully, that gives you a better idea of how to treat hypertension. As you can see, there are various types of blood pressure medications that you can take to keep things under control!
Looking for a place to fill your prescription? Feel free to make an order through our site!