Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is a chronic condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is too high. This condition is now considered a part of metabolic syndrome co-existing with chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.
The commonly used anti-hypertensive agents that treat high blood pressure include -
- Diuretics - work in the kidney and flush excess water and sodium from the body.
- Beta-blockers - reduce nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels making the heart beat slower and with less force. This causes lowering of blood pressure.
- ACE (Angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors - prevent the formation of a hormone called angiotensin II that narrows blood vessels and causes high blood pressure.
- Angiotensin antagonists or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) – shield the blood vessels from angiotensin II, thus making them more relaxed.
- Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) – do not allow calcium to enter the muscle cells of the heart and blood vessels, thus causing the blood vessels to relax and reducing the force of contraction of the heart.
- Alpha-blockers – lower blood pressure by reducing nerve impulses to blood vessels and allow blood to pass more easily.
- Alpha-beta-blockers – reduce nerve impulses to blood vessels and also slow the heartbeat to lower blood pressure.
- Nervous system inhibitors - relax blood vessels by controlling nerve impulses.
- Vasodilators - open blood vessels by relaxing the muscle in the vessel walls.