Cardiovascular disease covers a range of heart and circulation problems that can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. These include:
- high blood pressure (hypertension) can damage your artery walls and increase stress on your heart, as well as increasing pressure on smaller blood vessels, such as those in the kidneys, which can lead to kidney damage.
- heart failure, which is when the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently.
- coronary heart disease when arteries of the heart become blocked and hardened.
- angina causing shortness of breath chest pain due to reduced oxygen supply to the heart muscle.
- Atherosclerosis, which is when cholesterol is deposited in the arteries causing them to become narrowed and hardened.
A heart attack is caused by restricted blood flow to the heart muscle, resulting in heart muscle cell damage. A stroke is the result of a blockage in a blood vessel in the brain or a bleed into the brain, which can cause brain cells to die if not treated quickly.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include having high blood cholesterol levels, lifestyle factors like obesity and smoking, and conditions like diabetes.
Medications for cardiovascular conditions and how they work
We sell a wide range of generic Heart Meds, which are classed according to how they work. Some of these medications are used only for a specific condition, but others can be used for several conditions. For some conditions, more than one class of heart medication can be used together for increased effectiveness.
Our generic Heart Meds include:
- ACE inhibitors like enalapril and ramipril are used to treat hypertension and congestive heart failure. They work by inhibiting the action of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme, which relaxes and widens blood vessels, reduces blood volume, lowers blood pressure, and helps the heart to pump more efficiently relieving symptoms of heart failure.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB) like valsartan and losartan, are used to treat hypertension and congestive heart failure. They work by blocking the hormone angiotensin II binding to its receptor, which relaxes and widens blood vessels, reduces blood volume, lowers blood pressure, and helps the heart to pump more efficiently, relieving symptoms of heart failure.
- Calcium channel blockers like diltiazem, amlodipine, and felodipine, are used to treat hypertension and angina. They work by blocking calcium ions entering smooth muscle cells of blood vessel walls, allowing blood vessels to relax and widen.
- Diuretics like the hydrochlorthiazide torsemide, are used to treat hypertension and congestive heart failure. They work by acting on the kidneys to promote the removal of salts and water from the blood, which reduces blood volume, lowers high blood pressure, and helps remove fluid retention in the tissues (oedema).
- Anti-clotting drugs like clopidogrel are used to prevent blood clot formation (thrombosis). They work by inhibiting platelet aggregation, which reduces the risk of a clot forming in the arteries that can cause heart attack or stroke if it travels to the heart or brain.
- Vasodilators like minoxidil are used to treat poor circulation, hypertension and angina. They act directly on blood vessel walls, causing them to relax and widen, which allows blood to flow more freely.
- Beta blockers like propranolol and atenolol are used to treat hypertension, angina and arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders). They work by blocking the action of certain hormones like adrenaline that act on beta receptors in the heart, which slows the heart rate, widens blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and increases blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart.
- Antiarrhythmics like amiodarone are used to treat heart rhythm disorders, including irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and rapid heartbeat (tachycardia). They work by correcting the abnormal electrical activity in the heart.
- Heart rate lowering drugs called cardiotonic drugs like ivabradine are used to treat coronary artery disease, which is narrowing of blood vessels that supply the heart. They work by acting directly on the heart muscle to reduce the heart rate.
- Anti-angina drugs like ranolazine are used to treat chronic stable angina, which is a symptom of heart disease. They work by acting directly on the heart muscle to slow down the rate of muscle contraction, which reduces the need for oxygen and relieves symptoms of angina.