High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the pumping heart to all the tissues and organs of the body. High blood pressure does not mean excessive emotional tension, although emotional tension and stress can temporarily increase blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80; blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called "pre-hypertension", and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high.

There are many causes of high blood pressure, from genetic predisposition to obesity to poor diet, and many other reasons. Some cases are not bad enough to warrant anything more than some suggestions from your doctor about lifestyle and diet choices, while other cases of high blood pressure are so dangerous that you need to be on medication to regulate it. If this is true in your case, here is some simple information to help you better understand commonly prescribed medications:

Diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin antagonists, calcium channel blockers, alpha-blockers, alpha-beta blockers, nervous system inhibitors and vasodilators are the high blood pressure medications that you can take as recommended by your doctor. You can take any of these medications, but often, two or more of these drugs work better than one, as long as they are according to your doctor’s recommendation.

Angiotensin II receptor antagonists

Angiotensin II receptor antagonists, also known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) or AT1-receptor antagonists, are a group of pharmaceuticals which modulate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Their main use is in hypertension, diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage due to diabetes) and congestive heart failure. No drugs in this class are currently available in generic formulations. Losartan (Cozaar) is the oldest drug in this class and will most likely be the first of the ARBs to become available generically.

Calcium-channel blockers

These drugs affect the way calcium is used in the blood vessels and heart muscle. This has a relaxing effect on the blood vessels. Again, there are various types and brands. For example, amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, isradipine, lacidipine, lercanidipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, nisoldipine, and verapamil. Calcium-channel blockers can also be used to treat angina.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors prevent the formation of a hormone called angiotensin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow. The ACE inhibitors cause the vessels to relax and blood pressure drops.


Hyzaar is a medication used mostly to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) by not only lowering blood pressure but it may decrease the risk of stroke in certain hypertension patients. Hyzaar is a combination drug--angiotensen II receptor blocker and diuretic. It works by relaxing the blood vessels and helping the kidneys to get rid of fluid and sodium in the body. It is often referred to as a water pill.

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