Hypertension is a long-term health condition in which the pressure of the blood in arteries persistently rises beyond the normal level. The long-term high blood pressure increases the risk of health problems such as coronary artery diseases, chronic diseases like kidney defects, heart failure, and stroke among others (Go et al., 2014). Such diseases cause long-term effects on the victims that eventually result in death. The treatment of hypertension is, therefore, a crucial step that must be practiced to stabilize the blood pressure levels. For adults of age 60 years and above, any treatment technique should aim at reducing pressure to less than 150/90 mmHg. The blood pressure of those below 60 years old should be maintained below 140/90 mmHg. Moreover, the ideal pressure goal for a healthy individual should 120/80 mmHg, a level that requires adequate treatment and care to attain (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). Different methods can be applied to deal with hypertensions of different stages. The treatment methods range from engaging oneself to healthy lifestyles through the intake of balanced diet and regular exercise to the administration of medical techniques. Currently, many medications can be utilized to stabilize the blood pressure in patients who experience hypertension. This paper discusses specific drug classes that include diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and beta-adrenergic antagonists.
Diuretics, which are also known as water pills, are applied on the hypertensive patient to assist the kidney in getting rid of surplus water and sodium salts from the body. By eliminating the two substances to some percentage, the quantity of fluids that flow within the blood vessels reduces, and therefore the overall blood pressure falls (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). The reduction in blood pressure occurs due to fewer molecular contacts on the walls of blood vessels. Diuretics come in three different types, that is, thiazide, potassium- sparing, and loop diuretics (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). Thiazide diuretics such as Hygroton and Lasix are only recommended for treating hypertension at early stages of development. They have fewer side effects and therefore may not help treat severe hypertension. Potassium- sparing and loop diuretics like Aldactone and furosemide can be used for all stages of hypertension. Different types of diuretics can be combined to form combination diuretics that may have a greater effect on the patient.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors assist in relaxing the patient’s blood vessels by inhibiting the formation of angiotensin hormone. Angiotensin is a substance in the body that causes narrowing (Fahey, Murphy, & Hart, 2004). When blood vessels are narrow in size, the blood forces itself when passing through such passages. A lot of molecular contacts are experienced on walls of arteries, veins, or capillaries that result in high blood pressure. Therefore, this medication method decreases hypertension by helping blood vessels to expand and allow smooth flow of blood in the body. Some of the ACE inhibitors that doctors frequently prescribe include benazepril hydrochloride (Lotensin), captopril, enalapril maleate, fosinopril sodium, and Lisinopril (Go et al., 2014).
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) is another class of drugs that help in dealing with conditions of high blood pressure. The ARBs help in relaxing the blood vessels, and this leads to the reduction of blood pressure making it easier to pump blood (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). Angiotensin II, a hormone that is obtained through conversion of angiotensin I, raises the blood pressure by different ways including vasoconstriction and nervous stimulation. The hormone binds to a receptor site on the blood vessel, and this makes the vessel tight hence inhibiting the smooth flow of blood. The role of the ARBs is, therefore, to protect the blood vessels from angiotensin II. In the absence of angiotensin II, the blood vessels relax leading to a fall in blood pressure. Some of the angiotensin II blockers include candesartan, eprosartan mesylate (Tavern), losartan potassium (Cozaar), and valsartan (Diovan) among others (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016).
Application of calcium channel blockers is another anti-hypertensive medication. It is essential for calcium ions to move into and out of muscle cells to allow for the contraction of such muscles. When calcium enters the smooth muscle cells such as those of the heart and blood carriers, they cause blockage and constriction resulting in an increased blood pressure (Go et al., 2014). The calcium channel blockers are therefore administered to prevent the entrance of calcium into smooth muscle cells. They make the heart beat with ease and helps in relaxation of blood vessels leading to a reduction in blood pressure. Examples of calcium channel blockers include felodipine (Plendil), isradipine, and amlodipine besylate (Norvasc). For patients with systolic heart failure, administration of amlodipine and felodipine is always recommended (Go et al., 2014). These drugs have some side effects such as drowsiness and constipation.
Beta-adrenergic antagonists or beta-blockers also help in fighting hypertension. They work by blocking the effects of adrenaline hormone. Adrenaline increase heart rate and causes enlargement in the size of surrounding blood vessels by combining with A1 and B2 receptors respectively (Fahey, Murphy, & Hart, 2004). This result in more blood being pumped from leading to hypertension. The receptors are readily found all over the body on different blood vessels. When beta-blockers are administered, they inhibit the combination between epinephrine (adrenaline) and the receptors, and this leads to the reduction of heart rate. Examples of beta-adrenergic antagonists include metoprolol such as Lopressor and Toprol-XL, nadolol (Corgard) and betaxolol.
In conclusion, hypertension is a serious problem that continues to kill many people across the world. The anti-hypertensive medications should be applied accordingly depending on the status of hypertension and the age of the victim. Proper administration of the anti-hypertensive drugs would result in the reduction of such cases.