Monday, June 27, 2022

Medication and High Blood Pressure - What You Need to Know

About 75% of people over the age of 60 have high blood pressure, and this increases their risk of having a heart attack or stroke.  If you are one of those people, and you have been trying without success to lower your blood pressure by eating healthy and getting exercise, you may be surprised to discover that the real problem could be some of the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs.  

How can you find out which drugs are most likely to cause your blood pressure problems?  Is there a way to reduce your risk?

Over-the-Counter Medications which Raise Blood Pressure

Two common NSAIDS which can raise your blood pressure, especially when taken in high doses or for a long time, are Ibuprofen and Naproxen.  In addition, they can also reduce the effectiveness of the medications your doctor might prescribe to help you lower your blood pressure.  

Other medications which raise blood pressure are things you might pick up at your local grocery store or pharmacy, including cold and cough medicines, decongestants and certain antacids which are high in sodium. Carefully read the labels to see if any over-the-counter medication you are taking should not be used by someone with high blood pressure.

You should also avoid weight-loss stimulants, as well as some herbal remedies and dietary supplements.

If you take any of these over-the-counter medications, your doctor may not be aware of it.  Make sure he knows exactly what you are taking, how much of it, and for how long.  Make a list of everything you take, including over-the-counter medications, and bring it with you to your doctor appointments. Your physician may be able to help you find a safer option. 

Prescription Drugs Which Can Raise Blood Pressure

If you are struggling with high blood pressure and cannot understand why it is so hard for you to control it, you might also ask your pharmacist or doctor to go through your list of prescription medications with you and see if one of them could be causing your problem.

Antidepressants, including fluoxetine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants, are one category of drugs which could raise your blood pressure.  Even if you successfully took one of these antidepressants for years, you may have to change to a different one as you age and develop new health problems.

Another category of drugs which raise blood pressure are the oral steroids which are often prescribed to treat conditions such as gout, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammation. 

If you have an autoimmune disease or cancer, your doctor might prescribe immunosuppressants, central nervous system stimulants, or other drugs to treat your condition. These drugs can also increase your blood pressure.


How to Protect Yourself from Dangerous Medication Combinations

If you have high blood pressure and other indications that you are developing heart problems, you may want to try reading the highly rated book shown here: "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease."  (Ad)  It could help you learn how to counteract some of the health issues you have been experiencing, and get you back on the road to feeling better.

In addition, discuss your health treatments with your physician. Obviously, if you are taking a life-saving drug to help you deal with depression, cancer or some other serious illness, that may be more important than a minor increase in blood pressure. However, if your blood pressure becomes seriously high, you may want to talk to your doctor about potential alternatives.

Do not forget that your pharmacist is also a valuable resource. Try to fill all prescriptions at one pharmacy.  Their computer system will automatically alert the pharmacist if you are prescribed a drug which might be inappropriate for you.  Most pharmacists are also willing to spend time discussing your prescriptions with you and may be able to recommend alternatives that your doctor does not know about. If you are regularly taking an over-the-counter medication, or trying to find something to take for a cough, cold or allergies, your pharmacist may be able to make recommendations which will not raise your blood pressure.

Knowledge is power. We all need to be aware of how the things we put in our bodies can affect us, and be willing to take advantage of all the resources available to us.  

Source of facts: AARP Bulletin, October 2021


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