The sympathetic nervous system may initiate or maintain hypertension, and a range of approaches that reduce sympathetic activity is often of value in management. These may include nonpharmacological methods, such as the various forms of behavioral therapy (e.g., meditation, relaxation, and biofeedback techniques); weight reduction and avoidance of particular foods and agents that stimulate sympathetic activity (including caffeine and alcohol), and regular physical exercise. Pharmacological therapy includes centrally acting drugs such as alpha-methyldopa, clonidine, and reserpine; ganglionic blockers such as hexamethonium; agents acting on sympathetic nerve terminals such as guanethidine and debrisoquine; and drugs that may act at multiple sites, such as the beta-adrenergic blockers. The role of reducing sympathetic activity in the current management of hypertension and its complications is considered in this overview.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association