If you have a newly diagnosed case of high blood pressure, you’re not alone.
Hypertension is easily one of the country’s most common conditions, and threshold targets for drug treatment keep getting tighter and tighter.
But did you know your recent diagnosis could be because of a prescription drug that you’re already taking?
Let me explain…
These common drugs influence blood pressure
Fact: Nearly one in five American adults with high blood pressure is taking a prescription drug that raises blood pressure. At least, that’s the takeaway of an analysis of data from more than 27,000 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
This research focused on subjects with blood pressure readings of at least 130/80 mmHg. And get this: 25 percent of the women and 14 percent of the men were taking at least one drug known to raise blood pressure. Among subjects with diagnosed hypertension, four percent were taking two or more drugs known to raise blood pressure.
The most common drugs were:
- Antidepressants—taken by nearly nine percent of subjects.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—used by 6.5 percent of subjects.
- Steroids, estrogens, and other agents—culprits in another five percent of cases.
I must say, that’s a pretty eye-opening finding. And it may be exactly what’s standing in your way of achieving and maintaining healthy blood pressure.
In fact, estimates project that more than two million Americans haven’t been able to effectively control their blood pressure. And provided what this study just found, it’s not hard to see why.
Kick culprits to the curb—if you can
Unfortunately, this study didn’t look much at all of the other over-the-counter (OTC) medications that people pop like candy. (Though I’m glad they at least factored NSAIDs into the equation.)
And sadly, a lot of mainstream medical doctors fail to look at the interactions that both OTC and pharmaceutical drugs have on each other. Just because some drugs can be safely taken together, doesn’t mean they aren’t causing certain side effects.
This leads to the hamster wheel of taking one medication to combat the effects of another drug. (And let’s be honest—isn’t this exactly what Big Pharma wants?)
While certain medications may have no substitutes, reducing your use of NSAIDs is something that’s entirely under your control. And really, you should be making an effort to avoid these drugs anyway.
Supposedly “safe” drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen increase your risk of bleeding, stomach ulcers, and of course, liver failure. They can also boost blood pressure by as much as three points—which may not sound like a lot, but makes a big difference to your body.
That three-point increase is as big as the reduction you can achieve through certain nutritional supplements and through exercise. So as always, I encourage you to take control of your blood pressure the old-fashioned way: Eat right, exercise regularly, get good sleep, and supplement wisely. (And remember, when it comes to blood pressure, too low can be just as deadly.)
But also don’t forget to take a serious look at the prescription meds you’re on… and work with your doctor to kick any hypertension culprits to the curb, if you can.
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“Hypertension Worsened by Commonly Used Prescription Meds.” Medscape Medical News, 05/07/2021. (medscape.com/viewarticle/950724)