There is a long list of prescribed medications, as well as over the counter medications and recreational substances and supplements, which can interfere with effective treatment of hypertension. In addition to drugs containing estrogen and NSAIDs, the list includes widely used drugs like antidepressants and oral steroids such as cortisone; substances like nicotine, alcohol and cocaine; herbal supplements such as licorice or ginseng; and, of course, salt. Caffeine can also increase blood pressure in the short term in some people.
When doctors fail to ask patients what else they can take, use, or consume that can affect blood pressure – or if patients neglect to mention all over the counter and herbal remedies and medications prescription they take – patients may be prescribed an unnecessary or stronger blood pressure medication which can have bothersome side effects.
Dr Anderson said doctors “have learned to screen patients initially for other drugs that can increase blood pressure, but patients are not necessarily rechecked for such drug use over time.” He said it was important for doctors to take a good medical history, including what might have changed in patients’ lives since their blood pressure was last under control.
âMaybe there was a change in diet that caused the blood pressure to rise rapidly,â Dr. Anderson said. âFor example, some patients are very sensitive to salt,â he said. “With age and weight, it is the best predictor of high blood pressure over time.” Changing just one frequently eaten high-salt food, such as canned pizza, cold cuts, or soup, may be enough to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
To complicate matters, people’s reactions to various substances, such as commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressants, are “very idiosyncratic,” he explained. “A particular SSRI may have a high impact on blood pressure in some patients but not in others.”
For patients with hypertension who need to take medication that can raise blood pressure, Dr. Anderson advised using a home blood pressure monitor. A sudden increase in blood pressure after starting a new medication can help alert the prescribing physician to the need to switch to another remedy if there is one.
Even if you have had normal blood pressure for five decades or more, there is a 90 percent chance that you will develop hypertension as you age, making it all the more important to modify risks like dietary salt and excess. of weight while you’re still healthy. Even a modest 10-pound weight loss can both reduce the risk of developing hypertension and lower blood pressure in overweight people who already have the condition.