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Can Taking Certain Medicines Regularly Raise Your Blood Pressure?

Baby Boomers Drive the Demand for Elder Law in Estate Planning
A common type of over-the-counter medication can worsen hypertension.

In the interest of public health, Beck, Lenox & Stolzer occasionally shares information unrelated to legal or financial matters that can potentially impact our clients and cause issues down the road. Over-the-counter medications is one of those topics. Can taking certain medicines regularly raise your blood pressure is the question of the day.

Certain over-the-counter pain relievers can do that, and only 29% of U.S. adults are aware, according to a recent survey commissioned by the American Heart Association. About 50% of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, which the AHA defines as a consistent blood pressure reading of 130/80 or higher.

Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “Most Adults Are Unaware of This Drug’s Blood Pressure Danger” reports that, to make matters worse, just 53% of those diagnosed with high blood pressure check with their doctor before taking this type of medicine.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults also found that a mere 21% of respondents knew that acetaminophen does not raise blood pressure. This makes it a better pain reliever option for those diagnosed with hypertension. Many people with hypertension are also not monitoring their condition as closely as they should.

Only 10% of such U.S. adults self-measure their blood pressure more than once a day, and only 14% do so even once daily.

In a press release, Dr. Willie Lawrence Jr., an interventional cardiologist and volunteer lead of the American Heart Association’s National Hypertension Control Initiative oversight committee, commented, “Because some pain relievers may cause elevated blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends consulting your doctor or pharmacist and making sure you read the label before taking any over-the-counter medication for pain, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure.”

The survey results do not name specific OTC pain relievers, but the AHA’s hypertension guidelines for health care professionals cite nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, among common medications that may cause high blood pressure.

NSAIDs are a class of medications that includes ibuprofen and naproxen, among others.

High blood pressure is the single most preventable cause of heart disease and stroke in the U.S..  It is second only to cigarette smoking as a preventable cause of death, the American Heart Association says.

In addition, recent federal government data shows that hypertension is easily the most common chronic health condition among seniors who have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

Even for younger adults, hypertension can have serious consequences. For example, recent research suggests that people who have high blood pressure between the ages of 35 and 44 are more likely to develop dementia.

As estate planning attorneys, Beck, Lenox & Stolzer sadly witnesses the plight of people who have not taken proper care of themselves over their lifespan. Some come to us in poor health, and while we are happy to help them with their legal and financial concerns, some of what we do would not be necessary had they managed their health better. If nothing else, you can start by knowing that taking certain medicines can regularly raise your blood pressure and seek help and advice from your doctor.

Reference: Money Talks News (March 2, 2022) “Most Adults Are Unaware of This Drug’s Blood Pressure Danger”


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