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Cardiovascular Care: 5 Of The Foremost Heart Medications

by Victoria Marian Belmis / Apr 21, 2022 04:51 PM EDT
This is an 81mg baby Aspirin, not for babies, just a smaller dose of Aspirin

Heart disease occurs when the blood vessels of the heart are either damaged or diseased. This can cause many major health problems such as heart attack, congestive heart failure, or heart rhythm problems. All of these health issues can result in death, so treating heart disease is important.

Lifestyle changes, such as an exercise program, are often recommended by doctors. Many types of medication are also available to help heart disease patients in various ways. With the right and proper prescription, medications can improve quality of life by preventing attacks and strokes.

Here are 5 of the foremost modern heart medications used today:

ACE inhibitors 

ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors help by preventing the body from producing angiotensin, a hormone that causes your blood vessels to constrict or get smaller, which increases your blood pressure. Arteries relax with ACE inhibitors and this lowers blood pressure. They are prescribed for patients to treat congestive heart failure, a recent heart attack, and hypertension.

Antiplatelet agents

Antiplatelet medications help prevent blood clots in a different way. They prevent your body from making a substance, called thromboxane, which tells platelets to stick together to form a clot. Aspirin is a popular longstanding example of an antiplatelet drug, as well as clopidogrel (Plavix) and prasurgel (Effient). 

A standard dosage of aspirin for heart patients is 81 mg a day. It makes sense for people who already have heart disease, but not necessarily for individuals who just have risk factors. Cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD, emphasizes "that it's really not recommended for primary prevention unless the ischemic benefit outweighs the bleeding risk."


Beta-blockers block the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine), which develops in response to stressful situations. This lets the heart beat more slowly and less forcefully. They are usually prescribed to treat these four conditions: angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and abnormal heart rhythms. Your doctor can adjust your dosage and will monitor you for dizziness (due to low heart rate) kidney and liver problems.

Cholesterol-lowering medications

High cholesterol levels in the blood can cause plaque to build up, leading to narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can cause heart attack, stroke, or other serious problems. Cholesterol medications help by lowering the levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol and raising levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol. This method lowers the risk of plaque buildup. 

Statins are one example of this, with seven different medications available to doctors depending on a patient's need. They lower the "bad" LDL cholesterol levels by 20 to 60% and also reduce inflammation. 


Anticoagulant medications are blood thinners; they reduce the risk of clotting in people who have had a heart attack. Unlike antiplatelets, they operate by affecting the coagulation factors that are also involved in the blood clotting process.

One type of anticoagulant is warfarin, a stronger anti-clotting agent than aspirin and clopidogrel. Warfarin was widely used in the past to prevent the formation of clots if you have atrial fibrillation, an artificial heart valve, or if you have blood clots in your legs.

According to Dr. Cho, Warfarin is no longer the first-line medication choice for afib or a blood clot in the leg or lungs; it's now primarily used for heart valve disease. Due to how it reacts to other medications and diets, it also requires close monitoring by a physician.

These medications work to save lives by preventing heart attacks and strokes. Patients diagnosed with or who are at risk of coronary heart disease usually take one or more of these medications. It's vital to be familiar with your medications and work together with your doctor to get a safe and effective combination.

Notably, you should not use heart attack medications to treat an acute myocardial infarction. A heart attack is a life-threatening emergency. There is no appropriate heart attack emergency treatment at home and it requires immediate treatment in an emergency room. KPTown offers a pack (10 bottles) of KwangDong Woo Hwang Chung Sim Won at 20% off. It temporarily lowers high blood pressure and provides anxiety and stress relief. 

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