Hypertension or high blood pressure is directly related to the contraction of muscles. There are three known types of muscles; the skeletal, the smooth, and the cardiac. The skeletal muscles are attached to bones and can be controlled. Muscles in the arm, face, and legs are examples of skeletal muscles. The smooth muscles are not consciously controlled. Muscles that support the intestines and blood vessels are examples of smooth muscles. The cardiac muscle is also known as the heart muscle.
Muscles expand and contract. When you stretch your arms, biceps expand, and when you flex your arms, biceps contract. When muscles contract, they are shortened, and this can be up to a third of its original length. To contract a muscle, the muscle cell releases a substance called calcium.
If no calcium is released, the muscle cannot contract. If too much calcium is released, the muscle may be in constant contraction, pushing blood vessels, especially the arteries, to tighten the blood passages. This increases blood pressure. High blood pressure is related to other illnesses such as kidney failure or hyperthyroidism.
If blood pressure is high, the heart muscle must also work extra hard to pump blood. And so, the foremost goal of any medication against hypertension, is to relax the heart muscle and the muscle tone in the arteries and, in order to decrease blood pressure.
Responsible cat owners must consider having the blood pressure of their pets checked. When the systolic blood pressure reaches 160 mmHg or higher, the cat needs hypertension treatment.
Amlodipine besylate, as a hypertension medication, works by inhibiting the release of calcium in the muscles. This is why it is also known as “calcium channel blocker”. As it relaxes the muscles, the blood vessels dilate, allowing more volume of blood to circulate freely. This leads to a drop in blood pressure.
Amlodipine is used both on people and pets, but it is now the popular and often-sought medication for cats with hypertension. It is not effective, however, on dogs.
Amlodipine is usually administered once a day, with no exceptions. Missing one day can result in a drastic climb of blood pressure. The cat’s blood pressure will be periodically checked by your veterinarian. This drug is known to cause headaches in people, as a side effect.
Unfortunately, headaches in cats cannot be detected. But signs such as lethargy, weight loss, and a drop in blood potassium levels have been known to occur in cats taking this medication.