Should I stop taking my blood pressure medication?
This has to be one of the most common questions I encounter in my pharmacy. Basically many patients check their blood pressure either with their family gp or their pharmacist or even on their own at home and when they are told that their blood pressure is fine they think that they don't need their blood pressure medication anymore.
Basically the answer is 'no'. Your blood pressure is fine because the medication you are taking is doing a good job to keep your blood pressure in check. Should you try to stop the medication you would be risking that your blood pressure sky rockets and increases the chances of complications of high blood pressure including but not limited to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, eye problems etc. which is why the gp would have prescribed your blood pressure medications in the first place.
However, should you find your blood pressure to be consistently below or above the normal range then you should talk to your pharmacist or doctor to see if a change in dose is warranted.
During this time of year when the weather starts to get cooler it would be a good idea to check your blood pressure. This is because lower temperatures cause your blood vessels to narrow - which increases blood pressure because more pressure is needed to force blood through your narrowed veins and arteries.
Your body — and blood vessels — may react to abrupt changes in humidity, atmospheric pressure, cloud cover or wind in much the same way it reacts to cold. These weather-related variations in blood pressure are more common in people age 65 and older.
If you have high blood pressure, continue to monitor your blood pressure readings as the seasons change and talk to your doctor. Your doctor may recommend changing the dose of your blood pressure medication or switching to another medication. Don't make any changes to your medications without talking to your doctor. However a simple reduction or increase in dose can be managed by your pharmacist with regular blood pressure measurements taken either at the pharmacy or by yourself at home with results recorded on a notepad (information to include date, time, right or left arm, whether seated, standing or lying down) and at least 5 minutes resting before taking measurement.
The opposite is true in summer. Many find that their blood pressure drops when the temperature rises and the days get hotter. In most cases a reduction in dose is all that is need for the summer months with a review needed when the temperature drops once more during autumn or winter (once it has been established that the reduction in dose is providing good blood pressure levels for the summer months).
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