Drugs Classification

Cardiovascular system

ACE inhibitors

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Alpha-blockers

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Angeotensin receptor blockers

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Angioprotectors

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Antianginal drugs

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Antiarrhythmic Drugs

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Beta-blockers

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Calcium channel blockers

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Cardiac glycosides

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Cardiotonic drugs

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Centrally acting adrenergic drugs

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Diuretics

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Hypocholesterolemic drugs

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Peripheral vasodilators

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For thousands of years people have been impressed by the structure and functions of cardiovascular system. This is obvious as life for humans and other living organism is always associated with a heart beating. In ancient and medieval times people could not explain the exact mechanisms and structure of cardiovascular system. Only in beginning of 17th century the scientist William Harvey showed that cardiovascular system represents a complex structure consisting of heart which pumps blood to the

body and deoxygenated blood to the lungs. Later it was discovered that the main function of cardiovascular system is to carry oxygen and nutrients to all of the cells in the organism and pick up waste products and carbon dioxide for their elimination out of the organism.

Cardiovascular system include four important components:

  • Heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Blood
  • Nerves and hormones (they act as control mechanisms)

Cardiovascular system is closely referred to a term circulation system that combines heart, blood vessels and blood. Circulation system consists of:

  • Pulmonary circulation is responsible for transporting of deoxygenated blood to the lungs and returns of oxygenated blood back to the heart. Then oxygenated blood is pumped out from the left ventricle though the aorta to systemic circulation.
  • Systemic circulation carries oxygenated blood away from the heart to every part of the organism and returns oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart.
  • Coronary circulation system is responsible for blood supply to the heart. It supplies oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Coronary circulation belongs to systemic circulation.

For the recent fifty years modern society has faced a problem when cardiovascular diseases became the main cause of mortality all over the world.

Cardiovascular diseases include more than 60 disorders that affect heart or blood vessels (arteries, veins, capillaries). According to WHO statistics nearly one-fourth of the population in the developed countries have or had some form of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

Cardiovascular diseases that affect heart are more commonly known as heart diseases. The most common heart diseases include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Angina pectoris
  • Arrhythmias
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Myocarditis
  • Myocardia infarction also known as heart attacks
  • Pericarditis
  • Syncope
  • Cardiac tumor

Another type of cardiovascular diseases is blood vessels disease which affects arteries, veins, capillaries, and lymphatic system. The most common blood vessels diseases include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Aortitis
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Aortic dissection
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Veins diseases (thrombosis, thrombophlebitis)

As we can see there a lot of diseases which affect heart and blood vessels.

Let's try to describe shortly the most common cardiovascular diseases:

Atherosclerosis is a condition when inner walls of blood vessels becomes narrower due to formation of plaques. Plaques consisting of fat, cholesterol, calcium are deposited on the surface of the blood vessels and may decrease or block blood flow. This can provoke heart attacks and strokes. The risk factors for atherosclerosis include:

  • Insufficient physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol

The treatment of atherosclerosis include lifestyle modifications, medications, special procedures.

Coronary heart diseases (CHD) or coronary artery diseases is the number one cause of mortality in the USA. The disease affects coronary arteries (heart arteries). CHD may provoke heart attacks and angina. The risk factors of coronary heart disease are similar to atherosclerosis: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, not being physically active and others. The treatment includes medications, life style changes and certain surgical procedures.

Angina usually refers to chest pain. It occurs when cardiac tissue does not receive enough blood. Patients with angina complain on pressing chest pain. Pain can sometimes irradiate to back, neck, arms, jaw. The most common angina triggers include: physically exertions, smoking, alcohol, extreme cold or heat. Angina treatments include: antianginal medications, life style changes, procedures.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure occurs when pressure inside blood vessels becomes higher than normal. The normal blood pressure is considered 90-120 mmHg for systolic blood pressure, and 60-80 for diastolic blood pressure. Hypertension typically develops over many years. At the beginning it does not cause any significant problems. However, over time the decrease of elasticity (hardening) of the blood vessels may significantly increase the risk of atherosclerosis development. If not treated, hypertension can lead to:

  • Renal damage
  • Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes or heart problems

Treatment of high blood pressure includes:

  • Healthy diet
  • Weight loosing
  • Reducing in salt consumption
  • Avoid frequent alcohol drinking
  • Quit smoking
  • Moderate physical exercising

Heart Failure

Heart failure develops when the heart is not able to pump blood for normal vital functions. Heart failure develops over the years and can have a large negative impact on a person's life. Heart failure is divided into chronic and acute.

Congestive heart failure treatments include medications (cardiotonics), mechanical heart pumps, heart transplants, life style changes.

It is important to understand that most common cardiovascular diseases can be prevented. By learning about cardiovascular health and following some instructions and recommendations may significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The health of cardiovascular system begins with understanding of cardiovascular system and diseases, learning about risk factors and trying to modify your life style to minimize these risks.

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