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Blood Pressure Medications: Do They Prevent Heart Attacks?

By    |   Sunday, 19 October 2014 01:43 PM

Some blood pressure medications can do double duty to prevent heart attacks, according to research.

High blood pressure can contribute to heart attacks by damaging and hardening your arteries, which lowers the blood flow and could cause a heart attack.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic explain, "Your heart pumps blood to your entire body. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage your heart in a number of ways."
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High blood pressure can cause a handful of heart issues, like coronary artery disease, which narrows the arteries; enlarged left heart, in which high blood pressure causes the heart to work too hard; and heart failure, which occurs when there's strain on an overworked heart.

Blood pressure medications indirectly prevent heart attacks by reducing the risk factors high blood pressure causes over time. Several medications for treating high blood pressure are also used to directly treat heart disease or heart attack patients.

There are many different blood pressure medications, and it may be necessary to take two or three medications to get blood pressure to a desired level. The reason you may need more than one medication is that the drugs work on your body in different ways. Doctors will also advise lifestyle and diet changes, which include exercise, keeping a healthy weight, and reducing salt intake to lower blood pressure as well.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved drugs in six different categories to reduce high blood pressure and keep blood flowing freely. Among the drugs are those designed to decrease blood volume, relax blood vessels, cause the heart to beat with less force, and those that work on the nervous system to prevent blood vessels from tightening.

Some drugs used to regulate high blood pressure also have uses for helping ailing hearts.

Beta Blockers have many uses related to the slowing of the heart rate. The drugs, which cause the heart to beat with less force, are given in hospitals to people having heart attacks. Research shows these drugs can lower the risk of another heart attack.

Diuretics are used to help keep blood flowing freely in high blood pressure patients. They are also used to treat congestive heart failure by reducing the amount of fluid in the body and consequently reducing the workload for a failing heart.

Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are also used to treat heart failure. They generally help relax blood vessels. "Preventing blood vessels from narrowing helps improve blood flow, reduces the backup of blood in the heart and lungs, and decreases the pressure that the heart's left chamber (ventricle) must pump against," WebMD explains.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Some blood pressure medications can do double duty to prevent heart attacks, according to research.
blood pressure, medications, prevent, heart attacks
Sunday, 19 October 2014 01:43 PM
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