There are many medications available today to help in the fight against heart and blood vessel disease. Below is a listing of some of the more commonly used medications along with a brief description of how they work or why they might be ordered.
- ACE Inhibitors belong to the class of medicines called high blood pressure medicines (anti hypertensives). They are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). They block an enzyme in the blood that is necessary to produce a substance that causes blood vessels to tighten. As a result, they relax blood vessels. This lowers blood pressure and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.
- Antiarrhythmics are used to treat irregular heart beats and help the heart beat become regular.
- ARBs are used alone or with other medicines to treat high blood pressure by blocking the action of a hormone that causes blood vessels to narrow. As a result, blood vessels may relax and open up. This makes it easier for blood to flow through the vessels, which reduces blood pressure.
- Beta Blockers are used for a number of heart and blood vessel diseases such as angina, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, and migraine headaches to mention a few. Often times your doctor will order a beta- blocker after a heart attack.
- Calcium channel blockers help relax the blood vessels of the heart and the body. They help the heart muscle receive more blood and oxygen.
- Digoxin is given to strengthen myocardial contraction allowing the heart to beat stronger.
- Diuretics are often referred to as “water pills" and help remove fluid that has gathered in the lungs and body. This makes it easier for your heart to pump blood.
- Nitroglycerine is given to treat or prevent angina (chest pain).
- Statins are used in conjunction with low fat dietary changes to reduce elevated total cholesterol levels in the blood. These medications help prevent certain heart and blood vessel diseases in people who are at risk.
- Vasodilators work by relaxing the smooth muscle of blood vessels, which opens up (dilates) the blood vessels. This allows blood to flow more easily and lowers blood pressure.
For more information, contact The Reading Regional Heart Center: 610-988-HELP.