Diuretics are a common first treatment for lowering blood pressure. ACE inhibitors, Beta blockers, nitrates, and statin
drugs are also common medications used to treat cardiovascular disease.
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What medicines are used for heart disease?
Dr. Amy Epps: Very common treatments for High Blood Pressure are medicines such as Diuretics. Those are medicines that help you eliminate fluid, especially the salt that you take in in your diet. Salt can be a very common trigger of High Blood Pressure, so you really need to watch the salt in your diet.
These diuretics help you eliminate some of that salt in fluid that will help lower your blood pressure. So that's a common first-line blood pressure medicine. You may have heard terms such as Hydrochlorothiazide, Furosemide or Lasix, very commonly used blood pressure medicine.
The next type of medicine such as Ace Inhibitors, or something we call Angiotensin to receptor blockers, and those are medicines very good for blood pressure, and for the heart itself. These type of medicines are also used to help treat weak heart muscle as well, so help treat patients with a congestive heart failure.
They help your heart grow stronger, they prevent some of the scarring that happens as your heart muscle gets weaker, and they also lower blood pressure. So those are very good medications for your heart, not only from the blood pressure standpoint, but also from your heart muscle standpoint.
Another medicine that you may be on or hear about from your doctor are Beta blockers. Beta blockers are medications that help lower your heart rate. They lower your blood pressure by dilating your arteries, and by lowering your heart rate and dilating your arteries, you are allowing your heart more time to fill with blood between each beat and to relax, and then when it does beat, it will be able to get a nice strong contraction to beat, because it's very relaxed, and it's been able to pump again to lower blood pressure. So that's where Beta blockers are very beneficial for patients with coronary disease and with heart failure, or heart muscle disease
The other good thing about Beta blockers is they are very helpful in patients with Arrhythmias. They help stabilize the heart rate, and they actually have an Antiarrhythmic property to help stabilize any excitable conduction prompts that may be going on in your heart. So they're very good drugs on many levels for different types of heart disease.
Other medications that you may be on or hear about are Nitrates, such as Nitroglycerin, or which is a short-act - it can be found in a short-acting form that if your are having a chest pain, or feel like you are having a heart attack, if you have Nitroglycerin, put one under your tongue, or spray at the back of your throat, that can also save your life and get you keep you alive till you get to the hospital.
There's also longer-acting forms of Nitroglycerin that help lower your blood pressure, dilate your arteries, and really help treat people with more chronic coronary artery disease that may otherwise have daily chest pain.
And then certain medications to treat diabities and smoking cessation, and then the cholesterol medicines which I mentioned briefly. They are also good medications that I like to look at has been heart related therapies as well.
Cholesterol medicines, very, very important, certainly you do want to try diet and exercise first, and you would want to talk to your physician about this. Because diet and exercise can lower your cholesterol, can lower your blood pressure. But a lot of people that have a genetic predisposition to higher cholesterol or have done as much diet and exercises they can do, and still have elevated cholesterol, need to be on some type of medicine.
And the most common are the Statin drugs, such as Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, if you have heard those name before, and they are very very effective drugs in lowering the bad cholesterol and raising the good cholesterol. So your doctor will probably bring those up to you if you have some of these risk factors.
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