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High Blood Pressure: Causes and Treatments

Sep 6, 2008
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the most common health problems in adults. Although health care professionals are unsure of the causes, there are numerous options for medication to treat hypertension, and therefore the disease is quite manageable.

Blood pressure is measured when by two number, diastolic pressure and systolic pressure. Each time the heart beats, blood is pushed through the arteries, and the pressure against the artery walls is increased. In the moments in between when the heart beats the pressure lessens. Systolic pressure is the point in which the pressure is the highest and diastolic pressure is the point at which the pressure is at the lowest.

There is no known cause for high blood pressure, doctors and scientists are baffled by the condition - but some medications such as birth control pills are thought to heighten the chances of one developing high blood pressure.

Age, family history and genetic predisposition may all be contributing factors to the development of hypertension. Race and lifestyle are also contributing factors.

There are many things that we can do within our lives to decrease blood pressure, and increase our health. Losing weight and partaking in regular exercise is an important part of any treatment program because it reduces the pressure on the heart, and the arteries. Eating a healthy diet, as well as reducing alcohol intake can also decrease the stress from the heart.

When lifestyle changes aren't enough, it could be time to ace a medical intervention with pharmaceuticals. These medications are often prescribed by health care professionals and are often a life time commitment.

There are six main classes of drugs indicated to treat hypertension, these are; diuretics, beta blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and alpha-adrenergic blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers. When these medications are combined with proper lifestyle changes, it can often bring blood pressure levels back to normal.

Diuretics work by increasing the fluids that are excreted from the body in urine, sweat and other fluids and therefore decrease the blood volume. Diuretics are known to have the least amount of side effects of any blood pressure medication.

Beta blockers are a class of medication that health care professionals are unsure of how they work - aside from this; they are one of the most effective blood pressure medications. Those who are taking beta blockers should not stop on their own, as serious side effects can occur.

Calcium channel blockers relax the muscles that surround the blood vessels, which eventually result in vasodilatation resulting in lower blood pressure.

Alpha-adrenergic blockers come in two forms - one type of the alpha-adrenergic blockers blocks activities in the brain which reduces the heart rate, and thereby reduces the blood pressure. The other works outside of the brain to lower the blood pressure. Both are effective at low doses in treating mildly high blood pressure.

Common side effects of hypertension medications include; abnormal heart rate, and increased urinary incontinence as well as swelling in the extremities.

One of the benefits of hypertensive medication is that often a solution can be found without any side effects because treatments can be adjusted, and a medication can be found without any side effects.
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