Different Kinds of Heart Disease Medications

Did you know there are a whole variety of heart disease medications?

There are a variety of medical conditions found in the body which impact your heart and blood vessels and can lead to heart disease or a heart attack.

If you or your loved one is prescribed a heart disease medication, it’s essential that you read the label, take as instructed, and understand the possible side effects or drug interactions.

Share Lawyers has compiled a list of common heart disease medications and how they work.

Common Heart Disease Medications

ACE Inhibitors

Used primarily for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure, this group of medications have many different names, but all work similarly: they widen arteries to lower blood pressure and allow the heart to more easily pump blood.

Aldosterone Inhibitors

Aldosterone is a chemical in the body that causes salt and fluid build up which, in turn, restricts blood flow and stiffens the heart muscle. Spironolactone and eplerenone block aldosterone - with spironolactone prescribed in low doses for patients with advanced systolic heart failure, and eplerenone prescribed for patients who have developed left ventricular dysfunction after experiencing a heart attack.

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)

Angiotensin is a chemical found in the body that narrows your blood vessels. This narrowing can increase blood pressure, making your heart work harder to pump blood. Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) relax the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and allowing for the heart to more easily pump blood.

Beta-Blockers

Some beta-blockers affect the heart, others affect the heart and blood vessels. These medications are prescribed to lower blood pressure by blocking the effects of adrenaline (which can cause the heart to become overworked). For those with heart disease, this medication causes the heart to beat more slowly and with less force, ultimately reducing blood pressure.

Calcium Channel Blockers

When calcium enters cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, this can result in higher blood pressure. Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium buildup and relax and widen blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

When there is excess cholesterol in the blood, it can build up in the walls of the arteries - this can cause atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease where the arteries become narrowed, blocking or slowing down the blood flow to the heart muscle. Statins are a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs prescribed to individuals at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Diuretics and Potassium or Magnesium

Unneeded water and salt in the body can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood and to control blood pressure. Diuretics - also known as water pills - aid the body in expelling superfluous water and salt through the urine.

Potassium and magnesium are often prescribed to individuals taking diuretics to replace the electrolytes lost through the urine.

Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin Kexin Type 9 (PCSK9) Inhibitors

PCSK9 inhibitors help to lower cholesterol in the body. They are synthesized proteins designed to target other proteins in the body, especially the liver. Liver cells have receptors that sweep away excess cholesterol and the PCSK9 inhibitors destroy them.

Vasodilators

Vasodilators dilate (open) blood vessels, preventing the muscles from tightening and the walls from narrowing and allowing blood to flow more openly through the vessels. This, in turn, reduces blood pressure and encourages the heart not to pump as hard.

Warfarin

Blood clots can occur in people with conditions like irregular heartbeat and after an artificial heart valve surgery. Blood clots are extremely dangerous, as they can move through the body unnoticed and cause heart attacks. Warfarin is a medication that prevents clots from forming or growing. It cannot, however, dissolve an existing blood clot.

Always talk to your doctor about the right medication for you, and what other lifestyle changes you can make to ensure your best heart health!


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