Medications to Treat Various Cardiovascular Diseases
Millions of people in the United States take some kind of heart medicine. People require various cardiac medicines to strengthen their hearts, lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, or stabilize heart rhythms. The cardiac medicines are usually life-giving and powerful. A small drop in your blood pressure reading can reduce your risk of having a heart attack.
Heart disease is caused when the blood vessels of the heart are damaged due to blockage or are diseased. Fatty acid gets deposited in the blood vessels known as plaque that leads to blood clots or blockage of the vessels. These can lead to serious heart problems like heart attack, heart rhythm problems, or congestive heart failure. Treating heart disease is important as it can lead to failure of the heart ultimately leading to death.
Treatment of heart disease involves lifestyle changes including exercise, food habits, and daily routine along with medication to treat the blockage or damage.
Common medication for cardiac diseases:
Beta Blockers – These are helpful to treat heart attack, heart failure, some arrhythmias, and angina pain. In a stressful situation, the beta-blockers block the effect of adrenaline. They are also effective in the treatment of high blood pressure as they lower the heart rate and reduce the strength of heart muscle contraction. These medicines help improve blood flow to the heart, reduce chest pain, and prevent more damage to the heart. Common beta-blockers used are atenolol (Tenormin), propranolol (Inderal), metoprolol (Betaloc), bisoprolol (Cardicor), and sotalol (Betapace).
There are various risks involved in taking beta-blockers like they may make it difficult for people with diabetes to recognize signs of low blood sugar like a rapid heartbeat. The beta-blocker should not be stopped abruptly as it increases the risk of heart problems. The doctor will stop the beta-blockers gradually.
Anti-coagulant or blood thinners – Plaque formation is the main problem with heart diseases. These help in the prevention of coagulation of blood thus prolonging the clotting time, thus preventing the formation of blood clots. Due to delayed clotting time, the blood does not form clots in the vessels. Some anticoagulants prevent the body from making clotting factors. The anticoagulants do not break the existing clots but prevent their formation. Common anti-coagulant used is warfarin, heparin, dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban. Some herbs that contain salicylate (cinnamon, cayenne pepper, dill, ginger, turmeric, and thyme) also help in blood thinning.
Calcium channel blockers – Calcium is essential for the movement of all muscles, including the heart. These help in regulating the amount of calcium in blood vessels and muscles of the heart. Thus, reducing the blood pressure and relaxing the vessels. Calcium regulation makes the heartbeat less force and relaxes the muscles of the heart. Calcium channel blockers are used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain (angina) caused by the reduced blood supply to the heart muscle, and some arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Common medicines for calcium regulation are - amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem), and nifedipine (Procardia).
Lowering Cholesterol – High Level of cholesterol causes the plaque to built-up which leads to narrowed or blocked blood vessels. The blocked blood vessels or narrowing can cause heart attack, stroke, or other serious problems. Plaque deposition leads to serious heart problems like stroke or heart attack. Statins are the most commonly used medicine to Lower “Bad” cholesterol or LDL and increase the amount of “Good” cholesterol or HDL. It is available under brand names like Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor.
ACE inhibitors - Angiotensin-converting enzyme reduces the artery-constricting hormone angiotensin. ACE inhibitors help in relaxing the arteries and controlling blood pressure. These help in keeping the blood vessels open and prevent narrowing or constriction of the arteries. These are given to patients with recent heart attacks, congestive heart failure, or hypertension. These are available under the brand name Prinivil and Accupril.
Vasodilators – These help in relaxing the blood vessels and prevent the blood pressure to fall. They also help in increasing the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Often used for the treatment of high blood pressure, heart failure, angina, and heart attacks. Also known as nitrates. Commonly used vasodilators are isosorbide, dinitrate, and hydralazine.
Diuretics – It helps in reducing the excess fluid and sodium in the body thus reducing the load on the heart. It also decreases the fluid deposition in the lungs as well as other parts of the body. Doctors usually prescribe diuretics to control blood pressure and reduce swelling in the body. Commonly available under the medical name as amiloride, chlorothiazide, Lasix, Lozol, and Aldactone.
Digitalis – This is a combination of diuretics and ACE inhibitors. It helps in increasing the amount of calcium required by the cells of the heart, thus increasing the amount of blood pumped by the heart. These also work by slowing certain electrical signals sent within the heart. Commonly used for heart failure or atrial fibrillation. Available under brand name digoxin (Lanoxin).
How are medicines taken?
Heart medicines come in many shapes and sizes.
By mouth or orally: Major heart medicines are taken orally such as tablets, capsules, or liquids, which you swallow or take dissolved in water.
Under your tongue or sublingually: The tablet is put under your tongue and allowed to dissolve, or you spray the medicine directly under your tongue.
Into the vein or intravenously: The heart medication is injected directly into a vein, or given in a diluted form through an intravenous drip.
Into the muscle or intramuscularly: The heart medication is injected into the muscle, like the buttock or thigh.
Under the skin or subcutaneously: It is given by an injection just under the skin.
Self-adhesive patch: These are put as a patch containing the medicine on your skin, and the medicine is absorbed gradually.
Aerosol spray: You spray the medicine under your tongue.
The medication for heart disease makes a huge difference in the health of the heart and the condition of the patient. It is important to make lifestyle changes to prevent heart diseases from occurring again as well as strengthen the heart. The medications are available at leading online pharmacies and delivered to the patient’s doorstep.
All heart medicines may cause side effects. But, these are usually temporary and disappear after a short time. You should contact your consultant if you’re experiencing side effects. The consultant might adjust the dosage or prescribe a different medication to improve the side effects you’re experiencing. The cardiac medicines can help keep your symptoms under control and prevent or treat a heart condition.
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If you or anyone you know is suffering from cardiovascular disease, our expert providers at ASP Cares will take care of your health and help you recover.