High Blood Pressure and Your Stroke

By Joe Flasher


There is a wealth of information available on high blood pressure (hypertension). In fact there is so much information that the subject and its treatment can become confusing but it is relatively simple. If you've had a stroke you are being monitored by your physician and very probably taking blood pressure medication even if you're not showing high blood pressure because these drugs can moderate or help prevent another stroke. By taking your blood pressure medication you are helping to control one of the risk factors for another stroke.


There are several drugs available for treating high blood pressure and the choice your physician makes depends upon several factors such as what is causing the condition and how high is your pressure. There are lifestyle changes that should be made to lower pressure; such as following a healthy eating plan, stop smoking, reducing salt intake, exercise, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight. The following is a list of the types of medications used and how they work.



These are sometimes called "water pills" because they work in the kidneys and flush sodium from the body.



These drugs block nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels. This makes the heart beat slower and with less force thus, blood pressure drops and the heart does not work as hard.



Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors prevent the formation of an enzyme called angiotennsin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow. The ACE inhibitors cause blood vessels to relax and pressure goes down.



This medication shields blood vessels from angiotensin II. As a result the vessels become wider and pressure comes down.



These keep calcium from entering the heart and blood vessels. This causes vessels to relax and pressure goes down.



These reduce nerve impulses to the vessel which allows blood to flow more freely which in turn causes pressure to go down.



These act the same way as alpha-blockers, but also slow the heart beat as beta-blockers do. As a result less blood is pumped through the vessels and the pressure goes down.



These relax blood vessels by controlling nerve impulses. This causes blood vessels to become wider and pressure to come down.



These open blood vessels by relaxing the muscle in the vessel walls causing the pressure to go down.



All of these types can be used eithe