Why Do You Need to Take Medicine for Hypertension?
Dr. Geeta Aurangabadkar

Dr. Geeta Aurangabadkar

Sep 27Hypertension

Why Do You Need to Take Medicine for Hypertension?

This article is compiled by Sanjana Varma, a freelance writer at Proactive For Her.

Hypertension in India

Nearly 63 percent of all deaths in India are caused by non-communicable diseases, with cardiovascular disease accounting for 27 percent of all deaths in the 40-69 age range. One of the most major risk factors for Cardiovascular diseases is high blood pressure. Furthermore, it is poorly controlled due to a lack of understanding about hypertension, a lack of proper primary care, and a lack of follow-up.

What is hypertension?

High blood pressure is referred to as hypertension in medical terms. The pressure that blood exerts on the inside walls of arteries is referred to as blood pressure. Blood is transported from the heart to other organs and areas of the body via arteries.

Your blood pressure tells you how well your heart is operating and how well your arteries are in condition. Your blood pressure rises as the amount of blood your heart pumps out rises or when your arteries get rigid.

What is the best way to tell whether I have high blood pressure?

Blood pressure can be checked at a doctor's office, at home, or even at your neighbourhood drugstore or grocery shop. A sphygmomanometer is a device that measures blood pressure. The measurement of blood pressure is in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

The majority of people have no symptoms, however, others may have:

  • headache that is severe
  • breathing problems
  • nosebleed
  • anxiety that is severe
  • pulsating sensations in the neck or head

How is my blood pressure measured?

Your blood pressure is measured by a sphygmomanometer. Sphygmomanometers come in two varieties: manual and digital. Manual sphygmomanometers require the use of a stethoscope and are only used in the office by qualified employees. Digital sphygmomanometers don't require any specific training or a stethoscope to use. Digital sphygmomanometers are a good choice for home use because they are easy to use.

Two numbers make up your blood pressure. For instance, your doctor might inform you that your blood pressure is "150 over 90." The systolic pressure is the first (or top) value. When your heart contracts, this is the pressure inside your arteries (at the time of a heart beat). The diastolic pressure is the second (or bottom) number. When your heart is resting, this is the pressure inside your arteries (between heartbeats). Both figures are significant. Blood arteries grow stiff or rigid as we age, making them less able to dilate or expand when blood arrives from the heart. As a result, systolic pressure tends to rise with age.

Blood pressure should be less than 120/80. You have high blood pressure if your systolic pressure is 120 to 129 and your diastolic pressure is less than 80. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is defined as a blood pressure reading of 130/80 or higher. Inquire with your doctor about what constitutes high blood pressure and what your target blood pressure should be.

What other diseases are related to hypertension?

High blood pressure is a condition that puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. Untreated high blood pressure increases the strain on the heart and arteries, and eventually damages the heart, brain and kidneys.

What causes hypertension?

The majority of persons have “primary hypertension,” which means they have high blood pressure for no apparent reason. Secondary hypertension affects a tiny percentage of individuals, indicating that there is an underlying and potentially treatable reason, most commonly a kidney or hormone issue. If you have high blood pressure, your health care professional will decide if it is curable.

Primary hypertension is thought to be influenced by genetics, obesity, a high salt diet, and mental stress. The following factors are responsible too:

  • Uncontrolled alcohol consumption and smoking
  • sleep apnea
  • herbal remedies, diet pills, and other stimulants
  • lack of exercise

How is hypertension treated?

Hypertension can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.

Some ways to keep your blood pressure in check is to:

  • eat healthily
  • lower salt intake
  • weight management
  • reduce drinking and smoking
  • exercise 5-6 days a week
  • make it a routine to check your blood pressure at home
  • take medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • go for a routine checkup

Types of Blood Pressure Medications

There are several types of blood pressure medications available on prescription.

Antihypertensive drugs, often known as blood pressure meds, are available by prescription to help people with excessive blood pressure (HBP or hypertension). There are several kinds of high blood pressure medications, each of which includes a variety of pharmaceuticals. The various types of blood pressure drugs are described in detail.

Here are summaries of some of the most often prescribed cardiovascular drugs. The classes of hypertension medicines are:

Diuretics: Diuretics aid in the elimination of excess sodium (salt) and water from the body, as well as the management of blood pressure. They're frequently taken in conjunction with other prescription medications.

Some of the common generic names are:

  • thiazide diuretics
  • chlorthalidone Hygroton
  • triamterene Dyrenium

The possible side effects from diuretics are:

  • may decrease mineral potassium
  • weakness
  • leg cramps
  • fatigue

Potassium-rich diets may help to prevent substantial potassium loss. If your doctor advises it, you can prevent potassium loss by taking a potassium-containing beverage or tablet with your diuretic. After taking diuretics for a long time, some patients have gout attacks. This is a rare adverse effect that can be addressed with other treatments. Diabetics may find that diuretic medications raise their blood sugar levels. In most situations, a change in medicine, diet, insulin, or oral antidiabetic dosage corrects this.

Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers lower blood pressure by lowering the heart rate, effort, and blood output of the heart.

Some medicines from this class are:

  • acebutolol Sectral
  • atenolol Tenormin
  • carteolol hydrochloride Cartrol

Side effects may include:

  • insomnia
  • cold hands and feet
  • tiredness
  • depression
  • slower heartbeat
  • asthma-like troubles

If you have diabetes and are on insulin, have your treatment responses closely evaluated. If you've been taken beta-blockers, talk to your doctor before getting pregnant if you're thinking about it or if there's a chance you might get pregnant. If you find out you're pregnant, go to your doctor as soon as possible to figure out the safest drug for you at this time.

ACE inhibitors: Angiotensin is a hormone that induces narrowing of the arteries, particularly in the kidneys but also throughout the body. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is a protein that converts angiotensin II into angiotensin II. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) help the body produce less angiotensin, which helps the blood arteries relax and open up, lowering blood pressure.

Common medicines are:

  • enalapril maleate Vasotec
  • fosinopril sodium Monopril
  • lisinopril Prinivel, Zestril

Side effects are:

  • rashes on the skin
  • no taste
  • dry cough
  • kidney damage

Women taking ACE inhibitors or ARBs for high blood pressure should avoid getting pregnant while taking these medications. If you suspect you could be pregnant while taking an ACE inhibitor or an ARB, call your doctor right away. During pregnancy, these medicines have been demonstrated to be harmful to both the mother and the baby. They can result in low blood pressure, serious kidney failure, potassium excess (hyperkalemia), and even neonatal mortality.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) block the effects of angiotensin, a substance that causes arteries to narrow. To constrict a blood vessel, angiotensin requires a receptor, a chemical to bond with. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ARBs) block receptors, preventing angiotensin from constricting blood vessels. Blood arteries remain open, and blood pressure is decreased as a result.

Generic name s are:

  • candesartan Atacand
  • eprosartan mesylate Teveten
  • telmisartan Micardis

Noted side effects are dizziness and less absorption of calcium.

During pregnancy, ARBs should be avoided. A developing fetus can be injured or even killed by medications that operate directly on the renin-angiotensin system. Consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you suspect you're pregnant.

Calcium channel blockers: This medication inhibits calcium from entering the heart's and arteries' smooth muscle cells. Calcium produces a greater and harder contraction in these cells, hence lowering calcium causes the hearts to contract less forcefully. Calcium channel blockers reduce heart rate and blood pressure by relaxing and opening restricted blood vessels.

Some medicines are:

  • amlodipine besylate Norvasc, Lotrel
  • felodipine Plendil
  • nisoldipine Sular

These medications may cause:

  • heart palpitations
  • swollen ankles
  • constipation
  • headache
  • dizziness

Alpha-blockers: These medications lower artery resistance by relaxing the arterial walls' muscular tone.

Some medicines are:

  • doxazosin mesylate Cardura
  • prazosin hydrochloride Minipress
  • terazosin hydrochloride Hytrin

Possible side effects:

  • faster heartbeat
  • dizziness
  • drop in blood pressure when you stand up

Vasodilators: Vasodilators, or blood vessel dilators, relax the muscle in the walls of blood vessels (particularly the arterioles), allowing the vessel to dilate (widen). This makes it easier for blood to flow.

Common medicines are:

  • hydralazine hydrochloride Apresoline
  • minoxidil Loniten

Side effects of vasodilators are:

  • Headache
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Heart palpitations
  • Joint pain
  • Fluid retention
  • Excessive hair growth

Bottom Line

It's critical to talk to your doctor about all of the medications you're taking and to understand their intended and unintended effects. Never stop taking a medicine or modify the dose or frequency of your prescription without visiting your doctor first.

The most important thing you can do if your doctor has recommended medicine to decrease your blood pressure is to take it exactly as directed. Do not stop taking the drug if it causes side effects. Instead, talk to your doctor about the side effects you're experiencing. It's possible that your dose will be reduced or that your medication will be altered. It's possible that taking your blood pressure medication will save your life!

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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