11 Types of High Blood Pressure Medications

If the upper number on your blood pressure chart is anywhere above 130 and the lower one is beyond 80, your doctor would prescribe medications to lower the numbers. 

Each of these medications works differently and is prescribed according to your specific condition.

1. Diuretics

A high level of sodium is often the main culprit behind elevated blood pressure levels. 

Diuretics act as sodium guards. 

They flush out excess salt and water from the body. 

In the process, your body might lose potassium as well. 

Hence, typically potassium supplements and a potassium-rich diet are also prescribed.

2. Beta-blockers

When your blood vessels are narrow, your heart has to put in a lot of effort to pump blood into them. 

This results in elevated blood pressure. 

Beta-blockers reduce the heart’s work by slowing it down. 

It pumps less blood. 

This brings down the pressure on the arteries. 

Beta-blockers tend to slow down the heart rate as well. 

They might cause insomnia and fatigue in the process.

3. ACE inhibitors

There’s a chemical called angiotensin in the body. 

When the amount of this chemical increases, it causes the arteries to narrow down. 

As a result, blood needs to work harder to pass into the arteries. 

This increases blood pressure. 

ACE inhibitors ensure the body produces fewer amounts of this chemical. 

In the absence of this compound, blood vessels can relax. 

That’s when the blood pressure goes down. 

These inhibitors might cause skin rash and dry cough as side effects.

4. Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

We talked about angiotensin, but this chemical can’t narrow the arteries on its own. 

It needs a binding agent. 

Angiotensin II receptor blockers make sure an excess amount of these binding agents are not produced. 

In the absence of an agent, the angiotensin doesn’t cause any harm to the blood vessels. 

They remain relaxed and blood flows steadily. 

Thus, blood pressure is reduced. 

These blockers might cause some dizziness.

5. Calcium Channel Blockers

In many cases, when calcium deposits occur in the heart muscles, it could cause the heart to contract more. 

This again makes your heart get overworked. 

This puts extra pressure on the blood vessels. 

By blocking the calcium from entering the heart muscles, this medicine can help relax the pressure on the blood vessels. 

That’s how blood pressure levels come down. Palpitations and dizziness could be caused by the process.

6. Alpha-Blockers

Alpha-receptors are cells in your body that bind to certain hormones called catecholamines. 

This results in narrowed blood vessels. 

It causes increased blood pressure. 

Alpha-blockers prevent this binding from occurring. 

Hence, blood vessels stay relaxed and blood pressure stays normal. 

Alpha-blockers could cause some amounts of dizziness.

7. Alpha-2 Receptor Agonists

Your nervous system is also involved in your blood pressure imbalance. 

It produces hormones that control your unconscious reactions. 

Remember adrenaline? 

Such actions by the brain could cause elevated blood pressure numbers. 

The alpha-2 receptor agonists block the release of such hormones. 

The result is the lowering of blood pressure. 

This medication could cause dizziness.

8. Combined Alpha and Beta-Blockers

Sometimes if the blood pressure is too high, you might need a combination of alpha and beta-blockers. 

They work together to reduce blood pressure. 

This is achieved by lowering your heart rate and blocking binding agents. 

They’re usually prescribed during an emergency or if there’s a risk of heart failure. 

These drugs could cause blood pressure to fall rapidly.

9. Central Agonists

These drugs invoke the help of your nervous system again. 

They tell your brain to send messages through the nervous system for the blood vessels to relax. 

The brain also signals the heart to stop pumping so hard. 

These effects cause a reduction in blood pressure. 

There’s a chance your pressure might fall too low with the use of this type of medication. 

This might cause weakness and dizziness.

10. Peripheral Adrenergic Inhibitors

When your brain sends messages through neurotransmitters, some of them instruct the blood vessels to constrict. 

Further narrowing of blood vessels in those already dealing with hypertension causes more trouble. 

These drugs block those messages from the brain. 

As a result, blood vessels don’t constrict. 

Blood starts to flow normally through relaxed vessels. 

Hence, blood pressure is reduced. 

Diarrhea or heartburn could be side-effects of this drug.

11. Vasodilators

There are several smaller arteries in your body called arterioles. 

Each of them has muscles on their walls that contract heavily in hypertension. 

This causes less blood flow. 

Vasodilators ensure these muscles are relaxed. 

As a result, there’s a larger space for blood to flow through these arterioles. 

Thus, there’s a drop in blood pressure. 

These drugs could cause headaches and palpitations.

Knowing about the different kinds of blood pressure medications could ease your mind while talking to your doctor. 

Depending on the severity of your hypertension and your other medical conditions, your doctor might prescribe one or more of these drugs. 

Either way, don’t ignore high blood pressure numbers. 

Prescribed medications are often needed to get those numbers under control and prevent life-threatening situations.

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