Calcium Channel Blockers


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Calcium Channel Blockers

Amlodipine, nifedipine, diltiazem, bepridil, nimodipine, felodipine, flunarizine, nicardipine, verapamil, and isradipine are not chants of a cult group. These terms are actually a group of medication called calcium channel blockers.

This type of medicine, also known as calcium antagonists, is used to aid in the widening of the blood vessels. This process is done by working on the muscle cells of the arterial walls. Tiny passages, called calcium channels, can be found in the membranes of the muscle cells, and serve as the flow path of calcium in the body. Muscle cells tend to contract as calcium flows, resulting in the narrowing of the arteries as well. Calcium channel blockers obstruct these channels, preventing the entrance of calcium in the muscle cells. This process helps in the expansion of the arteries which improves blood circulation and lowers the blood pressure.

Calcium channel blockers have two types. The short-acting type works fast but the effect does not last for long. The other type does not work right away, but the effect lasts longer. There are several calcium channel blockers in the market. But choosing the right one would depend on the patient's health condition and the type of health issue that need treatment.

Medical experts prescribe the use of calcium channel blockers as treatment of the following medical conditions: chest pains (angina), high blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, migraine, Raynaud's disease, unstable heart beats (arrhythmia), and problems linked with brain aneurysms.

Constipation, rapid heartbeats, headache, nausea, swollen ankles, feet and gums, drowsiness, and flushing are the most common side effects observed in patients who are taking in calcium channel blockers.

A person who has liver or kidney problems, heart failure, is breastfeeding or pregnant, extremely low blood pressure, and diabetes needs to use calcium channel blockers with caution. There are also certain calcium channel blockers that should not be used by people with heart failure, or those who suffered from heart attack within a month.

Some calcium channel blockers are not supposed to be taken in along with other medications. Also, grapefruit and its juice should be avoided as these can decrease the ability of the liver to remove the calcium channel blockers from the body. The failure of the liver can result in the blockers' accumulation that can possibly reach a toxic level.

Calcium channel blockers can only be bought with a doctor's prescription. This only means that it is not wise to self-medicate with these drugs. Otherwise, your health issues will be more than what you figured them to be.
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