High blood pressure is called the silent killer for good reason. Many people live with it for years, unaware of their condition and its dangerous consequences. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can cause kidney damage as well as increase your risk of blindness and dementia. Left untreated, hypertension also increases your risk for heart disease, the #1 cause of death in America. Without proper screening, you may not even be aware of a problem until you have a heart attack or stroke.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that people who have been given prescriptions to control hypertension are not complying with doctor’s orders. The CDC found that only about half of patients over 65 with hypertension are properly taking prescribed medications to treat their blood pressure.
So why aren’t people taking their necessary blood pressure medications? That is a complex question with many different answers. Some feel that since they aren’t experiencing symptoms, they don’t need to take it. Some drugs cause unwanted side effects, either on their own or when combined with other prescriptions. Patients will often skip doses or quit taking them altogether without asking their doctor for a new prescription. Cost is another factor, and for many hypertension patients, there may be a combination of reason.
Regardless of the reason, “patients aren’t taking their medications,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said. “Health care providers can make treatment easier to help people keep their blood pressure controlled.” The report calls on the health care system to work together to control costs for patients while checking blood pressure regularly, even at the pharmacy. Hopefully this will help to prevent many premature deaths related to untreated hypertension.
If you suspect you have high blood pressure, or have been diagnosed with it and are still having symptoms, talk to your doctor about how to better control your condition. Your medication, including dosage, can be changed if you are experiencing unwanted side effects from your meds or if you feel like you’re taking too many pills. Without the proper medication, hypertension can turn deadly, but there’s no reason it has to.
Dr. Ishan Gunawardene offers state-of-the-art cardiovascular care to help protect his patients against hypertension, coronary artery disease, and other heart disease. As his patient, you will be treated for high blood pressure based on your individual needs, not a one-size-fits-all plan.
Would you like to talk to Dr. Gunawardene about your blood pressure medications to make sure you’re taking the proper dosage for maximum heart protection? Call Advanced Medical at our Wellington, Florida office today, at (561) 434-1935, or request an appointment online.