The benefits of treating hypertension in terms of reduction of morbidity and mortality are well established. However, it is debatable whether this benefit is derived entirely from the effects of a reduced blood pressure or whether these agents exert effects over and above blood pressure reduction on the endothelium. Hypertension is associated with adverse changes (whether damage or dysfunction) in the endothelium. Indeed, endothelial damage/dysfunction has have been demonstrated to be a reliable prognostic indicator of future cardiovascular events in hypertension. Of the various drug classes, calcium channel blockers and the ACE inhibitors have significant direct effects on the endothelium. This is in contrast to the beta blockers and alpha adrenergic blockers that appear to indirectly influence endothelial function solely as a result of lowered blood pressure. Antioxidants may have a beneficial effect on endothelial function as well, although their clinical use does not seem to translate into clinical benefit.
- Antihypertensive treatment
- Endothelial function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)