If you are afflicted with high blood pressure, often a high blood pressure medication is prescribed. Like any clinical solution, it’s important for patients who take blood pressure medication to understand its effects as well as the dosage instructions.
Secondly, it’s important to remember that while blood pressure medication can help alleviate high blood pressure, it is by no means the only recommendation for patients. Lifestyle changes will often be prescribed in addition to your medication.
1. Follow Your Prescription to a T
Medications are only as effective as a patient’s ability to adhere to the directions on the prescription. Before you begin taking your blood pressure medication (post-prescription), make sure you know:
- How often to take the medication
- How much of the medication to take at one time
- If you should take your medication with food or drink
- When you will need to refill your medication
Medication adherence can be achieved by successfully building habits and thorough organization. Tie in your doses with a daily routine (i.e., breakfast or dinner) and stick to that cadence as much as possible. Be sure to store your medication in a consistent spot where it is both easy to access and won’t risk you misplacing it. If you take multiple medications, it’s all the more important to organize for daily or weekly intake.
When possible, you can use technology (i.e., phone reminders), written reminders, and your support network (family and friends) to help remind you to take your medications and set your habits.
2. Blood Pressure Medications Exist in Many Forms (Classes)
Not all blood pressure medications are alike. Knowing which brand and class of medicine you’re taking can help you understand potential side-effects and how it interacts with other prescriptions.
Examples of blood pressure medication classes include:
Diuretics - expels excess water and salt from the body to lower blood pressure
Beta-blockers - reduces heart rate and heart blood output, lowering blood pressure
Alpha-blockers - causes the body to make less angiotensin, causing blood vessels to open up and lower blood pressure
Central agonists - prevents blood vessels from contracting, lowering blood pressure.
For a more comprehensive list of blood pressure medications and their side effects, you can read more about them here.
3. Take Lifestyle Changes Seriously Even While on Medication
While medication will help with high blood pressure, it’s also important to take the recommended lifestyle changes seriously. These changes may include:
- Changes in diet (healthy fruit and vegetable-filled diet, less sodium)
- Regular Exercise (30 minutes of moderate activity per day)
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake
- Eliminate smoking
- Manage stress more effectively
Your doctor will encourage you to build both good medication habits and lifestyle habits to combat high blood pressure. Medication will be prescribed if patients still need help with their blood pressure even after lifestyle changes, though some patients might be recommended both depending on their needs and risks.
Keep Tabs on Your Heart Health
When high blood pressure is a concern, knowing the status of your heart and overall cardiovascular health becomes even more important. To schedule a heart scan or Peripheral Artery Disease & Carotid Artery Disease Screening, reach out to us today at (918) 879-6161.