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Blood Pressure Medications

Ace Inhibitors, Blood Vessels, Sympathetic

Blood pressure medications come in many different forms and types. Each type performs a certain function in the body and work differently for different people. This article will discuss the different types of blood pressure medications and how they work as well as the differences in them. High blood pressure (or Hypertension) is manageable. Read on.

Anti-hypertensives are a type of medication that is designed to lower blood pressure.


Diuretics rid the body of excess fluids and prevent excess water retention. This in turn lowers the sodium (salt) level in the body as well. A potassium supplement is often prescribed to accompany a diuretic because your potassium level could fall low while taking a diuretic.


Vasodilators cause the muscle in the walls of your blood vessels (mainly the arteries) to relax. Relaxation of the vessel will cause it to dilate (widen) thus making the blood flow through those vessels much easier.

Sympathetic Nerve Inhibitors

Another group of blood pressure medications are called sympathetic nerve inhibitors. What’s a sympathetic nerve? Sympathetic nerves go from your brain to all parts of the body. This includes your arteries. They cause the arteries to constrict and this RAISES your blood pressure. Sympathetic nerve inhibitors reduce blood pressure by inhibiting these nerves from constricting blood vessels.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

(ACE) inhibitors work on the chemicals in your body that are involved in regulating your blood pressure. One of these chemicals and the most important is called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II narrows blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Angiotensin II is produced in the body by conversion of another chemical called angiotensin I. It is the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) that makes this reaction possible. By blocking the action of that enzyme, the conversion to angiotensin II is interrupted and your blood pressure is lowered.

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Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers block the action of angiotensin II. This enzyme occures naturally in your body and t is responsible for causing the blood vessels to relax and narrow. When your blood vessels are relaxed, your blood pressure is lowered.

Calcium Antagonists (Calcium Channel Blockers)

Calcium is an essential element that we all need. Calcium passes through your heart and into your blood stream. Calcium channel blockers slow the rate at which calcium passes into the heart muscle and into the vessel walls. The effect is a relaxation of those blood vessles. The relaxed vessels let blood flow more easily through them, thereby lowering blood pressure.

Below are some popular medications of each type.


Hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), chlorothiazide (Diuril), furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex), spironolactone (Aldactone), triamterene (Dyrenium), metolazone (Zaroxolyn), combination agents (Dyazide)


Isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil), hydralazine (Apresoline), nitrates

Sympathetic Nerve Inhibitors

candesartan (Atacand), irbesarten (Avapro),losartin potassium (Cozaar),valsartan (Diovan)

(ACE) Inhibitors

Captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), ramipril (Altace), lisinopril (Prevental, Zestril), quinapril (Accupril), fosinopril (Monopril), benazepril (Lotensin), moexipril (Univasc)

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

Losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), irbesartan (Avapro)

Calcium Channel Blockers

Amlodipine besylate (Norvasc), diltiazem hydrochloride (Cardizem CD, Cardizem SR, Dilacor XR, Tiazac), felodipine (Plendil), isradipine )DynaCirc, DynaCirc CR), nicardipine (Cardene SR), nifedipine (Adalat CC, Procardia XL), Nisoldipine (Sular), Verapamil hydrochloride (Calan SR, Covera HS, Isoptin SR, Verelan).

Hypertension (or High Blood Pressure) is a serious ailment but treatable. Following your doctor’s orders, exercise, a healthy diet, and taking your medications as prescribed can enable your blood pressure to stay within the normal and healthy limits.

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