Heart And Circulation - part 3

Antihypertensive medicaments

Blood pressure is actually the evaluation of the power with which blood circulates through the arteries. Two separate evaluations are done while measuring blood pressure: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. While the systolic pressure specifies the force with which the ventricles of the heart contract, the diastolic pressure is the force with which blood gushes out when the ventricles are relaxed. The reading of the diastolic pressure is higher compared to the systolic pressure. It may be noted that blood pressure varies in different people and usually it rises as one ages. When the blood pressure in an individual is above normal, no less than on three different instances, physicians may diagnose the condition as hypertension.

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The blood pressure of a person may go up owing to any basic health problem that the physician will endeavor to make out. However, normally it is quite impossible to detect a reason for the raised blood pressure. When this occurs, the condition is definitely hypertension.

While people with hypertension usually do not have any symptoms, an exceptional rise in the blood pressure may cause headaches, heart palpitations and a common feeling of being unwell. Lowering raised blood pressure is essential, as it may result in grave effects, counting damaged kidneys, heart attack, stroke and heart failure. Specific group of people has more chances of developing hypertension. Such people may include smokers, people with diabetes, people whose blood encloses high fat concentration and people who have a damaged heart from before. It is interesting to note that compared to those having a fair complexion those with black complexion are more likely to suffer from hypertension.

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It is possible to reduce high blood pressure by means of weight loss, taking foods that contain less salt and by undertaking work-outs on a regular basis. However, people having very severe hypertension may need to take one or additional anti-hypertensive medicines. Medications belonging to many dissimilar types possess anti-hypertensive attributes, counting calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, centrally acting anti-hypertensive medications, sympatholytics, and ACE inhibitors (also called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors).

It may be noted that blood pressure is not only subject to the power with which blood is pumped by the heart, but also depends on the width of the blood vessels as well as the volume of blood that is being circulated. Therefore, it is very normal that the blood pressure will raise when the blood vessels are constricted or when a high volume of blood is in circulation.

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Anti-hypertensive medications work to lower the blood pressure by causing the blood vessels to dilate (expand) or, alternately, by lessening the volume of blood in circulation. Different anti-hypertensive medicaments act in dissimilar ways and some of them have several actions.

As majority of the people with hypertension and very few, if at all they have any symptoms, the side effects of using anti-hypertensive drugs are likely to be more discernable compared to any instantaneous beneficial consequences of using these medications. However, use of a number of anti-hypertensive medicaments may result in light-headedness and fainting during the initial stage of the therapy, as they occasionally cause the blood pressure to fall drastically. Hence, it is possible that the physician may take some time before he/ she is able to determine the right dosage of the medication that will not cause such unpleasant side effects.

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Even if you feel that your condition is well under control, you should continue taking the anti-hypertensive medication strictly as you have been directed, because from time to time your physician would require knowing the precise manner in which a specific medication is effecting your high blood pressure, including the benefits of taking the drug as well as the side effects caused by it. People taking anti-hypertensive medications continuously for a prolonged period are not advised to discontinue them abruptly, because if you stop taking them suddenly it may result in the recurrence of hypertension in a precarious manner. Therefore, if you need to discontinue taking anti-hypertensive drugs you should first talk to your physician and reduce the dosage of the medication(s) slowly over a period of time under the control of your physician or healthcare provider.

Lipid-lowering medicaments

Blood encloses various different kinds of fats, which are also called lipids. A number of these fats are helpful, while many others, especially the saturated fats like cholesterol present in dairy products and meat, may prove to be detrimental for our health if their amount is high in the bloodstream. People who have high deposit of such fatty substances (known as atheroma) inside the arteries face the risk of developing a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atheroma or fatty deposits in the arteries not only restrict, but also disturb normal blood circulation. Most probably this may result in development of atypical blood clots causing health problems that may turn out to be fatal, for instance heart attack or stroke.

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In fact, majority of the people are able to avoid the risk of developing atherosclerosis simply by taking foods that contain less fat. But in the case of other people, usually people who have inherited a propensity to have elevated fat levels in the bloodstream (also known as hyperlipidemia), it is important to undergo therapy with medications that lower the lipid levels in blood.

Most of us are aware that bile salts enclose high levels of cholesterol and they are usually secreted into the alimentary canal to assist in digestion and are once again put in blood circulation. As a number of the lipid-lowering medicines, especially colestipol, cholestyramine and neomycin, block the absorption of these bile salts containing cholesterol by the bloodstream again, they help to augment cholesterol elimination from our body, thereby reducing the blood level of saturated fats. A number of other lipid-lowering medicines, for instance, clofibrate, niacin, gemfibrozil, and probucol, work in the liver to thwart the process of converting the fatty acids into lipids. On the other hand, medications called statins impede the actions of an enzyme that makes cholesterol inside the liver, thereby lowering the levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

However, medications that help to lower the lipid levels are not effective in curing the basic reason responsible for increased levels of saturated fats in our bloodstream. Hence, generally people having high levels of blood cholesterol need to continue treatment with these medications for an infinite period. It has been found that discontinuing lipid-lowering medications almost invariably results in the recurrence of elevated levels of lipids in the blood.

As atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia (presence of high levels of saturated fats in the bloodstream) do not cause any visible symptoms, it is unlikely that people having these conditions will observe any immediate benefits of using these medicines. Since many lipid-lowering medications enhance the bile quantity in the alimentary canal, their use may often result in queasiness as well as constipation (for instance, cholestyramine and colestipol) or even diarrhea (for instance, niacin, probucol and clofibrate).

Since the lipid-lowering drugs neomycin, colestipol and cholestyramine are not taken up into circulation from the alimentary canal they may cause some unpleasant side effects. However, these medications may possibly restrict the incorporation of particular vitamins that dissolve in fats; it is advisable that people using them should take dietary supplements to compensate for such vitamins. In addition, these medications may get into the way of assimilation of other different medications.

Other medicaments that lower the level of lipids in the bloodstream and work in the liver, especially clofibrate, possess the aptitude to enhance one's vulnerability to have gallstones. In addition, at times, these medications may also disturb the balance of various kinds of lipids present in our bloodstream. Therefore, it is advisable that people taking these drugs should have their blood samples monitored on a regular basis. People whose liver functioning is impaired should use these medications with additional caution. It is important to note that lipid-lowering medicaments that obstruct the formation of cholesterol, for instance, all statin medicines, ought to be given along with the evening meal in order to get the utmost benefits of using them.

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