General Information about High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious medical condition associated with numerous complications. It affects both genders and millions of people around the world. A person may be suffering from high blood pressure without even knowing it. The condition does not have to cause any symptoms and signs and is generally found accidentally during routine measuring of blood pressure. Only in case blood pressure is extremely high or one develops hypertension crisis there are certain problems a person is complaining about. It is essential to set the diagnosis as soon as possible and start with treatment since unregulated high blood pressure, particularly if it lasts long enough, leads to serious damage to many organs and organ systems.
Hypertension is classified as primary and secondary. In case of primary hypertension there is no identifiable cause while secondary hypertension develops due to already existing medical conditions such as kidney problems, adrenal gland tumors, defects in the blood vessels and it may also develop as a side effect of certain medications or is associated with intake of certain drugs (cocaine and amphetamines). 120/80 mm Hg is the ideal blood pressure. However, in people who are suffering from additional illnesses the goal of the treatment would be to reduce the pressure to a level that may be a bit higher comparing to a standard one.
Therapy for High Blood Pressure
Depending on the measurements the doctor will choose an appropriate treatment. Initially some patients only stick to lifestyle changes (dietary changes and exercise) and achieve proper control over hypertension and if this is not possible they are prescribed with suitable medications.
There are several groups of medications prescribed to patients suffering from high blood pressure. Diuretics, for example, assist in elimination of excess of fluid from the body and this way reduce the volume of the blood and subsequently reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers are another group of medications used for hypertension. They reduce the workload on the heart and widen blood vessels. ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-cenverting enzyme) cause relaxation of blood vessels. Similar effects are achieved with angiotensin II receptor blockers. Calcium channel blockers are also highly effective in relaxation of blood vessels. And finally renin inhibitors reduce the production of renin, an enzyme responsible for the increase of blood pressure.
In case none of the previously mentioned drugs provide with desirable effects doctors may opt for second line therapy with the following medications: alpha blockers, alpha-beta blockers, central-acting agents or vasodilatators.
And finally, in many cases patients are prescribed with a combination of drugs. Such combinations achieve better results and the dose of each drug is much smaller comparing to therapy with a single medication.