Are Your Blood Pressure Meds Making You Sick
By | Submitted On December 24, 2009
Blood pressure medicines are available only by prescription. Why not over the counter? Simply because they are dangerous drugs and their use must be monitored by a physician. Just how dangerous are they? Here are some of the side-effects: fluid retention, nausea, diarrhea, leg cramps, skin rashes, impotence, extreme tiredness, weakness, insomnia, headache, low potassium levels, lack of sleep and frequent urination.
According to the National Institutes of Health , high blood pressure can affect all kinds of people. Individuals have a higher risk of HBP if they have a family history of the disease. HBP is more common in African Americans that Caucasians, and old age is a factor too. Among the other risk factors leading to HBP are smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity and diabetes.
The NIH states that blood pressure readings are measured in millimeters of mercury and usually given as two numbers. For example, 120 over 80 . The top number is your systolic pressure, the pressure created when your heart beats. It is considered high if it is consistently over 140. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, the pressure inside blood vessels when the heart is at rest. It is considered high if it is consistently over 90.
Either or both of these numbers may be too high.
Keep in mind that results may vary among individuals. Always consult your doctor before stopping medications.
How Did Stress Factor Into Higher Blood Pressure Numbers During The Pandemic
Dr. Laffin says that stress could have slightly contributed to the elevated numbers.
We know that elevated sympathetic activity, or periods when the sympathetic nervous system gets revved up, can increase blood pressure in some people for a short time. However, for some individuals, that can be a more chronic issue that ultimately leads to elevated blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure once in a while because of a stressful situation is not particularly harmful. But chronically, elevated blood pressures are worrisome.
How High Blood Pressure Could Make Covid
While the study didnt examine this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that high blood pressure could make you more likely to get severely ill should you contract COVID-19.
The American Heart Association says that elderly people with coronary heart disease or high blood pressure may be more susceptible to the coronavirus and more likely to develop more severe symptoms. This is also why its so important to make sure that your blood pressure is under control and that youre checking in with your doctor as recommended.
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Secondary High Blood Pressure
Some cases of high blood pressure are the result of underlying factors or cause and this is known as secondary high blood pressure.
Underlying factors include:
- kidney conditions, such as a kidney infection, or kidney disease
- narrowing of the arteries
- hormonal conditions, such as Cushing’s syndrome
- conditions that affect the bodys tissue, such as lupus
- medication, such as the oral contraceptive pill, or the type of painkillers that are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen
- recreational drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and crystal meth
Occasionally, a rise in blood pressure can result from taking herbal remedies, such as herbal supplements.
Good Sleep Can Prevent And Manage High Blood Pressure
Most people experience a dip in blood pressure during the deepest stage of sleep , which is the body’s normal and healthy reaction to sleep. Not having that nighttime dip is a risk factor for heart disease and may increase daytime blood pressure.
Typically people spend 90 minutes to two hours in slow wave sleep per night. A recent study published in Hypertension found that men who got less slow wave sleep each night were a higher risk for hypertension than men who got more deep sleep.
While sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, and age can both affect the amount of deep sleep you get, there are steps you can take to ensure a good night’s sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and being more active during the day can help improve the quality of your sleep.
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Check With Your Healthcare Provider To See If Your Blood Pressure Medications Should Be Adjusted
As we change, our medical conditions change. This is especially true when it comes to blood pressure. Dr. Laffin says it increases as we get older and that has to do with the stiffening of the larger arteries within our body. So, its very common to have to escalate therapy. If youre taking blood pressure medicine, check in with your doctor to make sure youre taking the right formula or dosage.
Most people will not be on the same blood pressure medication regimen for a long time. Its normal for a healthcare provider to make adjustments here and there. This can be attributed to our lifestyles. They dont stay the same over time so neither will the medications were taking. So, medication changes often correspond with lifestyle changes, Dr. Laffin explains.
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
Every time your heart beats, blood is pumped through arteries to the rest of your body. The force of the blood moving through the arteries is your blood pressure. Blood pressure readings are measured by two numbers, systolic pressure over diastolic pressure .When the heart beats, it contracts, and forces blood through your arteries, which makes your blood pressure go up. This is the systolic blood pressure. When the heart relaxes between beats, the pressure in the arteries goes down. This is the diastolic blood pressure.Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day and varies during activities. If you are sick, nervous or in pain, it is common for your blood pressure to be higher than usual. Blood pressure that is high only one time does not mean that you have high blood pressure .High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should. Even though you cannot feel it, elevated blood pressure can damage your arteries, increasing your risk for disease in many organs.You can have your blood pressure measured at PhysicianOne Urgent Care centers in Massachusetts and New York. This is a free service we provide and will not be billed to insurance.The following provides a general guide for blood pressure readings:
- Less than 120 and less than 80
- 120-129 and less than 80
- 130 139 or 80 89
- 140 and higher or 90 and higher
- Higher than 180 systolic or Higher than 120 diastolic
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If Youre Worried About The Safety Of Visiting Your Doctors Office At This Time What Should You Do
Try remote patient monitoring. Youll receive your own blood pressure monitor, and you can then check your blood pressure from home. Then, you either manually enter or automatically upload the results to a dashboard your provider can see.
Some patients have skipped their regular checkups for chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, but that isnt healthy. If you havent had a checkup in the last 6- 12 months, it may be a good idea to follow up with your provider. You may be able to use telehealth and visit over your phone or computer.
What Should You Do
Everyone needs to take precautions to prevent coronavirus. People with high blood pressure and other health conditions need to be extra careful.
The CDC offers this advice:
- Make sure you have enough medicine on hand to treat high blood pressure and other health conditions.
- Stock up on over-the-counter medicines to treat a fever and other symptoms if you get sick.
- Stay at home and limit contact with other people as much as you can.
- Avoid crowds and anyone who looks sick. Wear a face mask if you have to be in a public place where you cant stay at least 6 feet away from others.
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Six Things That Raise Your Blood Pressure
by Maggie Francis, American Heart Association
Keeping your pressure under control can mean adding things to your life, like exercise, that help lower it. But, you may not realize that it also means avoiding things that raise your pressure. A healthy blood pressure level means you’re less likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
If you or someone you care about is among the nearly 80 million U.S. adults with high blood pressure, you need to be aware of these six things that can raise blood pressure, and thwart your efforts to keep it in a healthy range.
The American Heart Association recommends people aim to eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. That level is associated with lower blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Because the average American’s sodium intake is so excessive, even cutting back to 2,400 mg per day can improve blood pressure and heart health.
People with high blood pressure should be aware that the use of may raise blood pressure. Many over-the-counter cold and flu preparations contain decongestants. Always read the labels on all OTC medications. Look for warnings for those with high blood pressure and who take blood pressure medications.
Hot Tubs & Saunas
People with high blood pressure should not move back and forth between cold water and hot tubs or saunas. This could cause an increase in blood pressure.
What Is The Connection Between High Blood Pressure And Nausea
While high blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” and many times comes with no symptoms, some people with prolonged high blood pressure may develop symptoms like nausea. High blood pressure and nausea may be closely related because the abnormal pressure causes a lack of oxygen to the brain. The heart of a person with high blood pressure has to work much harder to circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body. After a prolonged period of time, this basic task may become too much for the heart and parts of the body, such as the outer limbs and brain, begin to lose their oxygen supply.
Quite often, symptoms of high blood pressure do not occur until the patient has had the condition for long enough that organs have become damaged. Without a routine check of her blood pressure, that patient may have no idea she have high blood pressure until these symptoms appear, at which point it may be too late. If high blood pressure and nausea have not gone untreated for too long, then it may be possible to treat the conditions with simple lifestyle changes. Common changes include a diet low in fat and salt, a moderate exercise routine, and eliminating any drugs or alcohol.
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How Anxiety Affects Blood Pressure
- Anxiety has a complicated relationship to blood pressure.
- Typically, blood pressure changes from anxiety are not dangerous unless you have a pre-existing condition.
- We identify 4 different causes of blood pressure changes with anxiety.
- Those that frequently monitor blood pressure may also be giving themselves anxiety.
- Blood pressure varies throughout the day, even without anxiety, but an anxiety treatment plan offers a longer-term solution.
Make Sure You Are Taking Steps To Manage Your Blood Pressure
“Even if you’re taking medication to help lower your blood pressure, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a critical piece of managing your blood pressure,” says Dr. Chebrolu.
It can be hard to keep up with healthy habits during a stressful event like a pandemic, but it’s important to remain committed to the lifestyle behaviors that help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range, including:
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How Do I Interpret A Blood Pressure Reading
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers:
The systolic blood pressure is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart is pumping blood out.
The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is relaxed.
Both of these numbers are important. Depending on your other medical conditions and health goals, you and your healthcare provider will determine a goal blood pressure range for you. For most people, a reasonable blood pressure goal is a systolic pressure of less than 130 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80.
Flu Season And Blood Pressure
As the colder weather approaches and the weather begins to change, catching a cold or the flu is much more likely. Be sure to continue to monitor your blood pressure throughout the change of season and while taking any type of medication to combat the sickness. Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before beginning any type of medication to prevent any unwanted medication interactions.
You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional.
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Can Illness Also Lower Blood Pressure
As well as contributing to a rise in high blood pressure, illness and severe infections can also result in a quick drop in your blood pressure, known as hypotension. During any serious illness or infection, your doctor will want to monitor your blood pressure regularly. This will help monitor the severity of your illness or infection, as well as the current status of your hypertension 1.
What Medications Treat High Blood Pressure
- Of appropriate, chlorthalidone is the preferred diuretic.
- Beta-blockers reduce heart rate and decrease the force of heart contraction by blocking the action of adrenaline receptors. Beta blockers are widely prescribed and effective but can cause increased fatigue and decreased exercise tolerance because they prevent an increased heart rate as a normal response to physical activity.
- They are also prescribed for people who have associated heart disease, angina, or history of a heart attack.
- Examples of beta blockers include, carvedilol , metoprolol , atenolol
Calcium Channel Blockers
- Calcium channel blocking agents work by relaxing the muscle in artery walls and by therefore reducing the force of contraction of heart muscle.
- Example of calcium channel blockers include, nifedipine , diltiazem , verapamil , nicardipine , amlodipine , and felodipine
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
- ACE inhibitors stop the production in the body of a chemical called angiotensin II, which causes blood vessels to contract. Narrower blood vessels are associated with increased blood pressure. Relaxing artery walls leads to lower blood pressure.
Blockers of Central Sympathetic System
Take your high blood pressure medicine as prescribed and only discontinue them on the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional.
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What Natural Remedies Therapies And Supplements Lower Blood Pressure
Alternative therapies may be helpful to people trying to control their blood pressure.
- Acupuncture and biofeedback are well-accepted alternative techniques that may help some people with high blood pressure.
- Techniques that induce relaxation and reduce stress are recommended. These include meditation, yoga, and relaxation training.
- These techniques alone may not control high blood pressure for many people. They should not be used as a substitute for medical therapy without first consulting with your health care practitioner.
Dietary supplements and alternative medications and therapies are sometimes recommended for high blood pressure.
- Examples include vitamins, garlic, fish oil, L-arginine, soy, coenzyme Q10, herbs, phytosterols, and chelation therapy.
- While these substances may be beneficial, the exact nature of their benefits is not known.
- Scientific studies have produced no evidence that these therapies lower blood pressure or prevent the complications of high blood pressure.
- Most of these substances are harmless if taken in moderate doses. Most people can take them without problems.
- Talk to your health care practitioner if you are considering any of these treatments. Substituting these therapies for medical therapies that have been shown to lower blood pressure and the risk of complications may have a harmful effect on your health.
What Is High Blood Pressure
Leaving high blood pressure untreated may damage the blood vessels.
The heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body. As it travels, the blood delivers oxygen to the bodys vital organs.
Sometimes, a problem in the body makes it harder for the heart to pump the blood. This could happen, for example, if an artery becomes too narrow.
Persistent high blood pressure can put a strain on the walls of the arteries. This can lead to a variety of health problems, some of which can be life threatening.
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How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.