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Understanding Your Blood Pressure Medication

Jan 14, 2008
There are many different types of blood pressure medications, and it's important that you understand what's been prescribed for you before you begin taking them. Some have serious side effects that you need to inform your doctor about, and others will cause drug interaction or allergic reactions if you do not communicate these things to your doctor as well. Most blood pressure medications work to slow your heartbeat, lessen the constriction of blood vessels, or cause your blood to become thinner. And while it's impossible to cover all the various medications and recommendations your doctor may give to you, we can give you some basic information about the most commonly prescribed blood pressure medications here:


Angiotensin is an enzyme in the body that causes the blood vessels to constrict. Sometimes this is necessary, but too much of this element will cause them to become too narrow, which will necessitate your heart working harder to pump your blood through. Often a body produces too much of this enzyme, probably through genetics or simply imperfection of the circulatory system. Many blood pressure medications work to block this enzyme or the overproduction of it.

ACE inhibitors and ARB receptor blockers are two such blood pressure medications. By not allowing the overproduction of this enzyme, the blood vessels will not be overly constrictive and will allow the blood to flow much more freely.


Nitrates work by relaxing blood vessels throughout the entire body so that the heart, again, does not need to work as hard to pump the blood through. Nitrates are very common blood pressure medications. Some are not meant to be taken regularly but only when a patient feels the pain in the chest that happens when the heart is pumping too hard. These pills are often placed under the tongue in such emergencies. Some however will get nitrate pills, sprays, and even patches which will release this blood pressure medication in a regular dosage. This is important because this pain that signals the heart working too hard can be easily mistaken for indigestion or muscle cramps.


These blood pressure medications work by causing the blood vessels to open up or dilate. Vasodilators are never used on a permanent basis or on their own, as eventually the kidneys would respond to these dilated blood vessels by retaining more water. It's important to be aware of the side effects of headache, rapid heart rate, and even sweating; if these become severe, you need to talk to your doctor. They can also cause fainting and dizziness, especially upon standing up.

Other Medicines

Other blood pressure medications may include diuretics, which cause the body to lose water and therefore thin the blood, making it easier to push through the circulatory system, and beta blockers, which cause the heart to beat slower than normal. Whatever medication you've been prescribed, use it exactly as directed and tell your doctor of any side effects you're having.

Common Vitamins and over the counter products can help with heart disease such as Sytrinol, Policosanol, Potassium, Pectin, and M.S.M.

Sytrinol are known to be useful in helping maintain a healthy cholesterol level in the body by reducing triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels.

Policosanol is a natural supplement derived from sugar cane. Policosanol promotes healthy platelet function and helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels in the human body.

Potassium is essential for proper functioning of the heart muscle and for regulating proper fluid balance. Bananas are a good source of potassium.

Pectin limits the amount of cholesterol the body can absorb. High pectin count in apples may be why "One a day keeps the doctor away".

M.S.M maintains the development of the body's protein by forming flexible disulfide bonds between certain amino acids and in maintaining the strength of connective tissue. This allows water and nutrients to flow freely into cells and allows toxins to flow freely out of the cells. M.S.M increases athletic stamina and helps eliminate muscle soreness. M.S.M is a natural supplement that is getting a lot of attention due to its role in tissue healing at the cellular level. It is a natural organic sulfur that comes from rain fall and is found naturally in the human body.

If you are at risk from Heart Disease then find a good health care professional prior to starting any type of home treatment.

Always consult your doctor before using this information.

This Article is nutritional in nature and is not to be construed as medical advice.
About the Author
David Cowley has created numerous articles on heart disease. He has also created a Web Site dedicated to heart disease and how to treat them. Visit Heart Disease
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