If you've been diagnosed with heart disease, you and your doctor have probably discussed heart disease medicines you need to maintain your heart health.
Your doctor has hundreds of different heart disease medicines to choose from. These medicines work in a variety of ways to help your heart work better. What are the different types of heart disease medicines? How do they help? Here is a list of the types of heart disease medicines:
Atherosclerosis is the process of narrowing and hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup in the inner lining of arteries. It's the key cause of heart attacks and strokes and the No. 1 killer in the U.S.
When it comes to developing health risks from atherosclerosis, some people are at higher risk than others. But because atherosclerosis is silent until it's advanced, estimating one's health risk takes some educated guesswork.
How can you determine your risk? The risk factors are easy...
Let's take a closer look at each group of heart disease medicines. Read on to learn more about each type and how it helps maintain your heart health.
Anticoagulants are sometimes called "blood thinners." This type of heart disease medicine helps prevent clots from forming in your blood vessels. This can help prevent a heart attack or stroke, which are often caused by clots. However, anticoagulants can't make existing clots go away.
This type of heart disease medicine helps prevent clots from forming in blood vessels. It accomplishes this by preventing blood platelets from clumping together.
Your doctor may prescribe antiplatelet medication in these cases:
You have had a heart attack
You have unstable angina
You have had strokes, including TIAs (transient ischemic attacks)
You have another type of heart disease
Your doctor has noted plaque buildup in the blood vessels of your legs
You are at high risk for heart attack or stroke
Examples of antiplatelet medicine include aspirin, Brilinta, Clopidogrel, and Effient. Some people may not be able to take antiplatelet medications if they are at risk for bleeding.
Alpha-blockers can help lower your overall blood pressure. They do this by reducing nerve impulses that tell your vessels to tighten. Your blood vessels remain relaxed, lowering your overall blood pressure. Cardura (doxazosin) and Minipress (prazosin) are two examples of alpha-blockers.
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
This type of heart disease medicine can help in these ways:
Lower your blood pressure
Make the heart's work easier
Help the heart work more efficiently
Here's how ACE inhibitors work: They prevent your body from making angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a hormone that makes blood vessels tighten. Because ACE inhibitors lower the amount of this hormone in your body, your blood vessels remain relaxed. Blood flows more easily through the vessels, lowering your overall blood pressure. Your heart doesn't have to work so hard to pump blood through your vessels.
Capoten (captopril), Vasotec (enalapril), Lotensin (benazapril), and lisinopril are examples of ACE inhibitors.