|Here are the main
types of high blood pressure medications and how they work.
Often, two or more drugs work better than one.
If you were prescribed high blood
pressure medicine it is VERY IMPORTANT
that you take it as prescribed. Don't forget or skip days.
For more information, select the
type of medication from the list below:
Diuretics are sometimes called "water
pills" because they work in the kidney and flush excess water and
sodium from the body.
Beta-blockers reduce nerve impulses to
the heart and blood vessels. This makes the heart beat slower and with
less force. Blood pressure drops and the heart works less hard.
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)
inhibitors prevent the formation of a hormone called angiotensin II,
which normally causes blood vessels to narrow. The ACE inhibitors
cause the vessels to relax and blood pressure goes down.
Angiotensin antagonists shield blood
vessels from angiotensin II. As a result, the vessels become wider and
blood pressure goes down.
CCBs keep calcium from entering the
muscle cells of the heart and blood vessels. This causes the blood
vessels to relax and pressure goes down.
Alpha-blockers reduce nerve impulses to
blood vessels, which allows blood to pass more easily, causing the
blood pressure to go down.
Alpha-beta-blockers work the same way
as alpha-blockers but also slow the heartbeat, as beta-blockers do. As
a result, less blood is pumped through the vessels and the blood
pressure goes down.
Nervous system inhibitors relax blood
vessels by controlling nerve impulses. This causes the blood vessels
to become wider and the blood pressure to go down.
Vasodilators directly open blood
vessels by relaxing the muscle in the vessel walls, causing the blood
pressure to go down.