Hypertension treatments

Managing your high blood pressure correctly

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a health condition that can only be managed but not cured. If hypertension is due to an underlying condition, then treatment of the underlying condition can treat hypertension as well. There are a lot of methods to maintain blood pressure in a healthy range, and avoid dangerous consequences of hypertension.

Lifestyle Choices

The best way to manage hypertension is through proper lifestyle choices. A healthy diet with less sodium and more fibre can help maintain blood pressure. Giving up on unhealthy habits such as binge drinking and smoking can also improve high blood pressure levels and bring them down to a healthy range. However, sometimes lifestyle choices are not enough, and additional treatments may be required to keep the blood pressure under control.

Medication

There are a lot of medicines available for the treatment of hypertension, and they are classified into different categories. Based on your specific conditions, physicians might prefer one treatment over the other. Generally, these medicines fall into the following groups.

ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors (such as Lisinopril) are Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme inhibitors. Angiotensin is a hormone responsible for the release of aldosterone and the narrowing of blood vessels. ACE Inhibitors target this hormone and help stop the narrowing of blood vessels, improving blood pressure levels.

Aldosterone Antagonists

Aldosterone is a hormone that is responsible for the increase in blood pressure by increasing fluid and sodium retention in the body. Aldosterone antagonists block this hormone and contribute to high blood pressure regulation.

Alpha-Blockers

Alpha-blockers (such as Doxazosin) work on nerve impulses to improve blood pressure levels. Before any chemical or hormone is released, a nerve impulse needs to be stimulated. Alpha-blockers stop these nerve signals, thereby halting the release of responsible chemicals altogether.

Alpha-Beta Blockers

Alpha-beta blockers slow down the heart rate, eventually reducing the amount of blood pumped around the body. The reduction in blood flow reduces overall blood pressure.

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (such as Losartan), also known as ARBs, help in blood vessel relaxation, working similarly to the ACE inhibitors. While ACE inhibitors target angiotensin by blocking the production of angiotensin altogether, ARBs allow the production of angiotensin but block its function.

Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers (such as Bisoprolol) work on receptors in the blood vessels that are responsible for contracting the vessels. Beta-blockers can help lower the blood pressure levels by opening up the blood vessels and improving blood flow overall.

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers (such as Adalat) help relax the cardiovascular and skeletal muscles in the body. The relaxation of muscles helps the heart to work at a slower rate, helping reduce overall blood pressure. These blockers are beneficial for people older than 60 years of age.

Central-Acting Agents

Central acting agents work on a nervous system level and stops the brain from sending signals to the cardiovascular system for narrowing blood vessels and increasing heart rate under any condition.

Diuretic Medicines

Diuretic medicines (such as Bendroflumethiazide) can help filter out levels of unhealthy chemicals and sodium from the body. This removal, in return, reduces the volume of blood in the body lowering down hypertensive levels.

Vasodilators

Vasodilators are very commonly prescribed to patients with high blood pressure. They work at lowering the hypertensive condition by dilating the blood vessels in the body.

Alternative Medicines

While medicines are used mostly for blood pressure control, people often consider alternatives. These alternatives are often health supplements that can help regulate hypertension. However, these are not solely recommended for patients with severe hypertension cases.

  • Consumption of fibres, such as bran and psyllium husks
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplements such as fish oil and flaxseeds
  • Natural vasodilators such as garlic, arginine and cocoa
  • Mineral supplements such as potassium and magnesium

People also look up to meditation and yoga techniques for hypertension treatment. While it is not unhealthy to follow these treatments, it is always best to seek medical advice before starting any treatment.

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