Treatment of High Blood Pressure

At one time the treatment of high blood pressure (Hypertension), followed a very rigid approach. Nowadays doctors are much more relaxed about the way they approach the treatment of hypertension or high blood pressure in their patients, preferring a much more patient centred approach.

It is recognised that those people who have pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular damage, kidney disease or stroke present with their own set of individual problems which all need treating on an individual basis; therefore it's important that any medical or drug treatment is carefully tailored around them.

The first treatment of choice for those suffering with high blood pressure is usually a lifestyle change. For those who are overweight, smoke, lead very stressful lives or don't exercise, sometimes this is the only wake up call they need. Once they make the lifestyle modifications required, they will often find their blood pressure will lower itself too a more normal limit.

As long as they keep these lifestyle changes, there shouldn't really be any reason why they need to worry about their blood pressure later though of course it should be carefully monitored on a regular basis.

The following types of medications are available to treat high blood pressure:
¢ Diuretics: Diuretics are sometimes called water pills because they work in the kidney and flush excess water and sodium from the body, lowering blood pressure.
¢ Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers reduce nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels. This makes the heart beat slower and with less force. As a result of these drugs, the blood pressure drops and the heart works less hard.
¢ ACE inhibitors: Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors prevent the formation of a hormone called angiotensin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow. The ACE inhibitors cause the vessels to relax and blood pressure goes down.
¢ Angiotensin antagonists: Angiotensin antagonists shield blood vessels from angiotensin II. As a result, the vessels become wider and blood pressure goes down.
¢ Calcium channel blockers (CCBs): CCBs keep calcium from entering the muscle cells of the heart and blood vessels. This causes the blood vessels to relax and pressure goes down.
¢ Alpha-blockers: Alpha-blockers reduce nerve impulses to blood vessels, which allows blood to pass more easily, causing the blood pressure to go down.
¢ Alpha-beta-blockers: Alpha-beta-blockers work the same way as alpha-blockers but also slow the heartbeat, as beta-blockers do. As a result of using these drugs, less blood is pumped through the vessels and the blood pressure goes down.
¢ Nervous system inhibitors: Nervous system inhibitors relax blood vessels by controlling nerve impulses, and this causes the blood vessels to become wider and the blood pressure to go down.
¢ Vasodilators: Vasodilators directly open blood vessels by relaxing the muscles in the vessel walls, causing the blood pressure to go down.

Unfortunately it's often found that one drug which treats a particular disease, has an adverse effect on another drug treating a different medical problem, so getting the balance right when prescribing medication to those suffering a variety of different illnesses can be difficult.

Clinical trials can prove useful for some people who find the drug regime they have been on is unsuitable. Many doctors will ask specific patients who they are having difficulty treating with conventional drugs, if they will participate in clinical trials for new drugs.

These drugs are not available to the general public (sometimes not for a year or so), and the temptation to try a new treatment can be an irresistible lure, especially to someone who is not responding to the treatment they have been given.

There have been some very satisfactory outcomes for those who have agreed to participate in clinical trials.

Blood Pressure Guide


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