- Nearly 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure take medications that could be worsening their blood pressure levels.
- Researchers say doctors need to pay more attention to what medications people take.
- Even simple lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, can help drastically improve people’s blood pressure levels.
Nearly 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure take medications — like steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antipsychotics, or birth control — that could be worsening their blood pressure levels.
According to the new findings, which were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session, doctors need to pay more attention to what medications people take and how they may affect their blood pressure.
“These are medications that we commonly take — both over-the-counter and prescribed medications — that may have the unintended side effect of raising blood pressure and could have adverse effects on our heart health,” the study’s lead author, Dr. John Vitarello, an internal medicine resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said in a statement.
The earlier that doctors identify people who are at risk of hypertension, the more opportunities people will have to make lifestyle changes that can help manage hypertension.
The study evaluated the health data of 27,599 people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2009 and 2018.
About half of the study participants, 49 percent, had hypertension.
The researchers identified medications they took that are associated with high blood pressure, such as NSAIDS, steroids, birth control pills, and antipsychotics.
Nearly 19 percent used one or more blood pressure-raising medications, and 4 percent used multiple drugs that are linked to higher blood pressure.
The findings also show that stopping use of one of these medications could improve blood pressure rates by 4.8 percent.