Beta-blocking medications, also known as nitroglycerine or beta-sitosterol, are the most common form of medication used for very high blood pressure (hypertension). Beta-blocking is commonly used to treat angina, but it can also be used for other purposes. In addition to treating hypertension, beta-blocking drugs are sometimes prescribed to reduce cholesterol, ease kidney function, prevent or lessen asthma attack and to lower low blood sugar levels. In some cases, beta-blocking agents are also used to reduce depression, nausea and vomiting, and to normalize cholesterol levels in patients taking statins. While beta-blocking agents are commonly prescribed to treat very high blood pressure or hypertension, some patients with very high blood pressure do not respond to this form of treatment and need other forms of therapy.
In a study published in Clinical Infectology, British researchers reported that long-term beta-blocking therapy was not effective in reducing blood pressure in patients with borderline hypertension. Among these patients were patients with very high stress levels and severe coronary artery disease. The investigators concluded that beta-blocking drugs should be added to the treatment of people with hypertension only if they have no other effective treatment options. Other types of therapy, including lifestyle changes, may be more helpful in patients with hypertension.
For many years, doctors recommended that patients with hypertension take diuretics to prevent fluid retention and to strengthen heart pumps. But they did not add diuretics to the prescription list until they observed that high blood pressures often had a parallel side effect of increased fluid retention. Doctors realized that if patients with hypertension took diuretics, then they would exacerbate their condition by retaining too much water in the body, which could cause serious health problems.
Doctors also usually prescribed a beta-blocking antihypertensive drug, together with several other medicines, such as anti-platelet agents and ion-channel blockers. Together, these medicines reduce the amount of sodium that flows into the blood vessels, which causes them to become thick. As a result, they may stop the heart from pumping blood through them completely. If your blood pressure is so high, you may need surgery to correct your problems with your heart.
Recently, doctors have been able to develop a new noninvasive monitoring method for very high blood pressure patients. Called echocardiography, this new equipment records details about the movements of your heart during different parts of your workout routine. A special echocardiogram device is affixed to your artery so that the physician can record details about your heart’s movement as it pumps blood through your body.
There are two kinds of echocardiograms available on the market. The first kind is called an ambulatory catheterization. In this kind of device, your doctor will attach a catheter through a vein to your heart. This way, he can record details about your heart’s movement inside your body. Your doctor may also use this data to monitor your progress.
The other type is called an electrocardiograph (ECG). An EKG basically uses electrical stimulation to record information about your heart’s electrical activity. Doctors use both kinds of devices to monitor your progress very carefully. Your doctor may set very high and very low blood pressures, as well as target specific groups of people with either very high or very low blood pressures.
If you’re diagnosed with hypertension, you should try to improve your overall health. To do this, you should make lifestyle changes. Try to avoid smoking and eat a healthy diet. You should make these lifestyle changes slowly over time and consult with your doctor about your progress. He can recommend medicines to help lower your blood pressure and other treatments that might work.