The leading cause of stroke and heart attack, high blood pressure is largely a symptom-free condition. Making it tougher to tackle is that pinpointing the underlying causes can be tricky; there are a lot of variables involved and blood pressure fluctuates circumstantially.
While one in three Americans suffer from high blood pressure, 10% of those on prescription drugs still have dangerously high blood pressure readings. Known as resistant hypertension, this raises the risk of heart disease and stroke even more.
Resistant hypertension results from:
- Patient noncompliance with treatment
- Secondary hypertension due to overactive adrenal glands
- Fluid retention
For those on medication who still have trouble getting their blood pressure under control, there are some things to consider that may be of value.
1. Talk to your doctor about an at-home test
Many people experience ‘white-coat hypertension,’ which refers to an abnormally high blood pressure reading in a medical setting. When going to have their blood pressure checked in a doctor’s office, patients may feel excessive anxiety or stress and their blood pressure rises due to the situation. To address this, your doctor may suggest an at-home blood pressure test, or a device that automatically takes your blood pressure every 30 minutes over a 24-hour period.
2. Talk to your doctor about reducing your number of prescriptions or combining them
Often times people don’t take their medication because they’re required to take a number of various drugs. Many generic blood pressure pills are available as combination pills, so speak with your doctor to see if ones suited for you are available, such as a diuretic and beta-blocker in one.
Another reason for patient non-compliance is the uncomfortable side effects that involve severe headaches, stomach upset or nausea. If this is the case, see about switching to another prescription or look at addressing the underlying causes with lifestyle changes.
3. Consider the following changes
– Try a weight loss program – while diets can cramp your style and stress you out, lifestyle changes that involve eating less processed foods and sugar and more whole foods can be hugely helpful to your blood pressure levels.
– Get more exercise by choosing physical activity that you personally enjoy and commit to a good routine. This can involve walking, running, hiking, biking, or taking a class like spin or yoga – anything to get you up and active!
– Actively reduce sodium intake – Sodium is a massive factor in raising blood pressure and contributes to fluid retention. Restaurants are notorious for using excessive salt, so try cooking more at home. Also look at reducing foods high in sodium like soups, cured meat, packaged foods, and cheese.
– Eat more potassium – potassium naturally helps lower blood pressure. There are lots of foods rich in potassium including celery, bananas, coconut water, spinach, avocados, oranges, and cantaloupe. Try having them for breakfast and snacking on them in the afternoon.
– Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and properly managing stress. These are two of the biggest contributors to adrenal fatigue, which can seriously affect your blood pressure.
Better understanding your blood pressure is a key step in managing and keeping it under control. Take charge of your blood pressure by developing quality habits and discuss a program with your doctor that suits your personal needs and lifestyle.
Call MedicoRX Specialty Pharmacy today at (855) 265-7850 to discuss more about blood pressure treatment options.
Source: Harvard Business Review, September 2014