Hypertension is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting humans. This prevalence is now increasing thanks to regular medical checkups, which detect it since it is mostly silent- and because of the unhealthy lifestyle, we are now leading. This has prompted the advent of many medications that treat blood pressure, also called antihypertensive medications.
There are many mechanisms by which hypertension occurs which involve the heart, the blood vessels, and the kidneys, and therefore, different medications exist to treat it. A combination of different medications may also be needed to achieve optimal results and your doctor can change the type of your blood pressure medication to suit your needs during routine physical checks. As such, there is no single best medication to treat hypertension in everybody. However, some medications are more commonly used than others owing to their efficacy and a large number of people for whom they are suitable.
The most commonly used antihypertensive medications include:
1) ACE Inhibitors
ACE inhibitors, or Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors, are a large family of blood pressure medications including Captopril, Enalapril and Lisinopril. ACE inhibitors are usually used in all patients who are diagnosed with hypertension before the age of 50. They are also very useful in patients with heart failure and diabetes. ACE inhibitors work by decreasing the level of a certain hormone called Angiotensin. This hormone causes the body to retain salt and water and causes the blood vessels to constrict, elevating the blood pressure. ACE inhibitors have another desirable effect which is the decrease of protein excretion in urine, which is a side effect of diabetes and high blood pressure, which in itself causes kidney damage.
The main side effect of ACE inhibitors is dry cough, which is manageable by changing them to another similar group of medications called Angiotensin Receptor Blockers or ARBs.