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Types of high blood pressure medication

  1. ​Angiotensin convertin​g enzyme inhibitor​s (ACEIs)

    ACE inhibitors is a type of high blood pressure medicine that helps prevent an enzyme in yo​ur body from producing angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a potent vasoconstrictor which makes your blood vessels smaller and increases blood pressure. ACE inhibitors will help reduce the narrowing of your​ blood vessels, thus decreasing your blood pressure.​ ACE inhibitors are particularly beneficial for patients with diabetes or kidney problems.​​

    Side effects: Dry cough is the most common side effect. Other known side effects include dizziness and head​ache.

  2. ​​​Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)

    ​ARBs block the action of a hormone, called angiotensin II, which constricts blood vessels. This blocking effect relaxes your blood vessels and lowers your blood pressure, making it easier for your heart to pump blood. Patients will be prescribed with ARBs when they are intolerant to ACE inhibitors. ​

    Side effects are fewer with ARBs. However, possible side effects include headache, dizziness and lightheadedness.

  3. C​alcium channel blockers

    This agent prevents calcium from entering cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, producing vasodil​atation, resulting in lower blood pressure. The calcium involved is different t​o the ones responsible in keeping your bones strong.

    Side effects may include headache, constipation, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and possibly swelling at the feet and lower legs.

  4. Vasodilators​​

    Vasodilators is a type of blood pressure medicine that work directly on the muscles in the walls of your arteries. It prevents the muscles from tightening and the walls from narrowing. This effect helps in lowering your blood pressure.

    Side effects include fluid retention, headache, dizziness and rapid heartbeat.

  5. Alpha-blockers​

    Alpha blockers work by keeping the hormone noradrenaline from tightening the muscles of smaller arteries and veins. Hence, the blood ​vessels remain open and relaxed. This improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Alpha-blockers can help improve urine flow in older men with prostate problems.

    Side effects include hypotension, headache, pounding heartbeat and nausea.

High blood pressure is a challenging public health problem. If it is not well managed, more serious complications such as atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack will arise. Hence, with ​active public health prevention, awareness education, lifestyle modifications and medication compliance, one can potentially decrease both hypertensive prevalence and its complication risks.

See previous page for more types of high blood pressure medicines.

Ref: Q15​​