Many people with high blood pressure take drugs that worsen it

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A recent study from Harvard Medical School found about 1 in 5 people with high blood pressure may be unintentionally taking a drug for another condition that causes their blood pressure to climb even higher.

High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and vision problems by damaging blood vessels.

Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, restricting salt intake, and/or medication can help move blood pressure numbers back into the normal range.

In the study, the team analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2009 to 2018.

They looked at the use of the drugs known to raise blood pressure, including antidepressants, prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, hormonal medications, decongestants, and weight-loss drugs among people with high blood pressure.

The team found that 18.5% of adults with high blood pressure reported taking a medication that increased their blood pressure, and those who did were more likely to have uncontrolled high blood pressure if they weren’t also on blood pressure-lowering medications.

And people who were on blood pressure drugs were more likely to need higher doses to control their blood pressure if they also took drugs for other conditions that raise blood pressure, the study showed.

The team says the risk of drugs raising blood pressure may be simply overlooked, particularly for patients using these additional medications for many years.

They hope the study helps change this, as there are effective therapeutic alternatives to medications that may raise blood pressure or strategies to minimize risk, such as having patients monitor their home blood pressure when starting a new medication that may raise blood pressure.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about cannabis linked to a 3-times higher death risk in high blood pressure, and common high blood pressure drugs may prevent COVID-19 complications.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about how to treat slightly high blood pressure, and results showing plant pigment can strongly reduce blood pressure.

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine and conducted by Dr. Timothy Anderson et al.

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