Everyone has questions from time to time about their medications. Your pharmacist is a great resource to help answer these types of questions! Pharmacists are the medication experts on your healthcare team. They have extensive education about medications, how they interact with one another, and how they can support your health. Here, we provide some answers to common medication-related questions featuring one of ExactCare’s own clinical pharmacists, Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS.
Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS
High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when blood moves more forcefully through the artery walls. As a result, pressure is increased within the blood vessels. It is a serious condition that can cause several health problems. It can also impact your quality of life.
Having hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Medication is one way to help control your blood pressure, but other factors can affect it. Here are some things that could be having an impact on it.
There are several types of medications for treating high blood pressure. They all work in different ways. You may need a higher dose of medication or a different combination of blood pressure medications to improve your numbers. It may take time and dose adjustments to determine what is best for you.
It may be time to have your doctor or pharmacist reassess all of your medications including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements. This may help them identify what is causing your high blood pressure.
If a medication is not being taken appropriately (the correct dosage at the correct time), it could lead to high blood pressure. Additionally, mixing multiple medications can cause them not to work properly.
If you are taking a drug like ibuprofen, or naproxen and a nasal decongestant, your blood pressure could increase. Be sure to talk to your pharmacist about possible drug interactions. Your pharmacist could end up streamlining your medications so there could be fewer pills in total or less that you have to take multiple times a day.
Some people experience “white coat hypertension.” Their blood pressure readings tend to be fine at home but high during a doctor’s visit. Visiting your doctor may make you nervous and can cause a spike in blood pressure. If this happens, you should sit quietly at the office for five minutes before having your blood pressure monitored.
Many other factors affect blood pressure levels including the presence of underlying conditions and your lifestyle.
Resistant hypertension occurs when your blood pressure remains elevated while you are using three different types of blood pressure medications at the same time. Even though you are taking the highest tolerable doses, your blood pressure still won’t go down. Your high blood pressure is hard to beat and may have an underlying cause.
Underlying conditions like sleep apnea can cause sudden drops in oxygen levels and resistant hypertension. You suddenly stop breathing briefly during sleep and can end up gasping for breath. This can strain your heart and increase blood pressure. Kidney failure and hormonal disorders can also cause resistant hypertension. Getting these conditions under control is an important step to improving your overall health.
You can also make lifestyle changes to help manage or treat your high blood pressure:
Diet – Follow a health, balanced diet, like the ¹ Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, to support better heart health.
Exercise – Regular exercise can help improve or maintain a healthy blood pressure. Being physically active can lead to a healthy lifestyle. Remember to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
Smoking – Smoking with high blood pressure can lead to strokes and heart attacks. It causes your arteries to narrow and makes your heart work harder to pump blood. If you smoke, ask your doctor or pharmacist about ways to help you quit. Quitting can reduce your risk of heart failure.
Alcohol Consumption – Drinking too much can raise your blood pressure to unsafe levels. If you have high blood pressure, it is best to avoid alcohol or consume it in moderation.
Stress – Long-term chronic stress can cause spikes in blood pressure numbers. Manage your stress by identifying triggers and developing coping mechanisms.
Caffeine Consumption – Caffeine can cause short spikes in your blood pressure. Limit your intake and aim to get enough sleep. Try for at least seven hours of quality sleep each night.
Weight – Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Extra body fat can also put you at risk for heart disease. Strive to maintain a healthy body weight.
Small changes to your diet or lifestyle can have a big impact on your blood pressure and heart health.
Managing multiple medications for blood pressure or any health condition can be challenging. We are here to help! Give us a call at 1-877-355-7225.
Information featured on the ExactCare website, including the Ask a Pharmacist page, should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your pharmacist or doctor for advice regarding your personal health situation. If ExactCare is your pharmacy, call us directly to talk to your pharmacist: 1-877-355-7225
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ExactCare is a national medication management and pharmacy provider that helps people with complex medical needs overcome medication-related and chronic care challenges.
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