High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the most prevalent diseases among both men and women in the United States. Men tend to be more affected by the disease, while children and young adults are rarely affected. High blood pressure is regarded as a ‘silent killer’ because it can continue to exist for years without any symptoms. However, it can be dangerous to allow the disease to persist without treatment.
A prolonged state of high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Therefore, it is important to diagnose the disease and treat it in order to keep the blood pressure within normal levels. Obesity, constant stress and anxiety, smoking, excessive alcohol, and family history are some of the common risk factors of hypertension. Nearly one in three adults in the U.S. suffers from this disease.
The symptoms of high blood pressure may not show up easily. Therefore, in adult age, it is advisable to go for regular medical check-ups, which will include monitoring of blood pressure. In most cases, the disease is diagnosed during a routine medical check-up. In some cases, the blood pressure may shoot very high, causing cold sweats, palpitations, or disturbed sleep. In such situations, it is important to assess blood pressure and seek a definite diagnosis.
If the condition of high blood pressure is left untreated, it may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. The goal of treatment in case of hypertension is to bring down the blood pressure to a normal level and prevent damage to critical organs such as the heart, brain, and kidneys.
Medical advancements in recent decades have led to the development of various types of drugs that can treat high blood pressure effectively. These drugs cannot cure or eliminate the problem in most cases, but they can manage the disease and keep the blood pressure within normal range. Most drugs are prescribed for long-term use, but the strength and composition of dosage may be changed from time to time.
Some of the leading drugs to successfully treat high blood pressure include the following:
- Beta blockers
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Alpha blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Renin inhibitors
- Alpha agonists
- Combination drugs
Diuretics or ACE inhibitors are usually recommended as the first line of treatment for most people who suffer from high blood pressure.