A potent chemical that is formed in the blood which causes surrounding muscles of the blood vessels to contract which narrows the vessels are called Angiotensin 11. Once narrows, the pressure in the vessels increases that causes hypertension or high blood pressure. ARBs or Angiotensin 11 receptor blockers are medicines that work by blocking the action of angiotensin 11 to bind to angiotensin 11 receptors on the surrounding blood vessels of the muscles. This can lead to enlarged blood vessels (dilated) which can thereby reduce blood pressure. When the blood pressure is reduced it aids the heart not to work hard to pump blood. This can help improve heart failure. ARBs may have a similar effect like ACE inhibitors but the latter works by preventing angiotensin 11 formation and not blocking the angiotensin 11 binding to muscles of the blood vessels.
Uses of ARBs
The medicines are used to normalize blood pressure, kidney failure prevention to patients with diabetes, and heart failure treatment. It may also prevent the risk of having diabetes and can even reduce stroke in patients with enlarged heart and hypertension. Recurrence of atrial fibrillation can also be prevented by taking ARBs.
Considering the similar effect of ACE inhibitors, this medicine is often prescribed to those who cannot tolerate the use of ACE inhibitors, for instance having an excessive cough.
– Hyperkalemia or elevated level of potassium
– A cough (less often to occur than with ACE inhibitors)
– Low blood pressure
– A headache
– Metallic or salty taste
– Orthostatic hypotension
– Increased level of blood glucose
– Flu-like symptoms
– Upper respiratory tract infection
There are also times when serious side effects may be experienced like hepatitis, kidney failure, decreased WBC (white blood cells) and blood platelets, serious allergic reactions, and tissue swelling.
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