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Forum Name: Hypertension

Question: Are blood pressure pills needed?


 tibby - Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:49 am

I have recently been getting my bp(blood pressure) checked by my obgyn and it has been high more than once, so on my last visit i was told i need to monitor my bp and if it doesnt read normal i will need to see a pcp and probably be put on blood pressure pills. Since i started monitoring on my own, my bp it has ranged from high to border line to normal. I get headaches at least twice a day, i have been experiencing dizziness to the point where i am almost passing out, i have been feeling neasua, and my energy level is very low even when i have at least 8hrs sleep by mid day im tired. Do I need to be on blood pressure medication or is there something else I should be checked for?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:25 pm

User avatar Hello -

You don't mention what your blood pressure readings have been (especially the higher ones), but based on your overall set of symptoms I would suggest seeing a PCP for a complete physical and, if your blood pressure actually is elevated chronically, to find out why, since elevated BP can often be secondary to some other problem. Since high blood pressure rarely has any distinctive symptoms of its own (it can sometimes, but usually it does not), the other symptoms are actually of more concern and getting to the bottom of them could resolve the BP question as well. On the other hand, if you're one of those rare people who actually can feel symptoms as a result of high blood pressure, that needs to be understood as well. However, I strongly suspect that if your BP is, in fact, pathologically high, it is probably secondary to some other problem, possibly one involving kidney or adrenal function. You certainly won't be prescribed blood pressure medication unless you need it, and if there is an underlying problem that can be corrected then you may not need it at all.

I hope this is helpful. Please do follow up with your PCP and let us know what you learn. Best of luck to you.
 tibby - Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:24 pm

Thank you very much. I will make a appointment right away and I will post an update. Again thank you so much :)
 VickiL56 - Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:43 pm

tibby,
I, too, was recently told by my PCP that I had hypertension (this was in early July). I'd had several borderline high-to-high readings at my regular Dr. visits for the past year or so. I should also mention that I am perimenopausal, which, not so coincidently, is a common time for women to develop hypertension, as it can be related to the drop in estrogen and other important hormones. Anyway, my PCP decided to put me on Lisinopril at that point, and then two weeks later, added hydrochlorothiazide (a diuretic). He offered no other information or advice as to how I might assist in lowering my BP, other than with these prescriptions.

I hate taking drugs or depending on them for my well-being, so I immediately went home and did some research on my own into the various alternatives for lowering blood pressure. I learned that if you are overweight, even losing 5-10 lbs. can make a difference in your blood pressure, and there are many other easy diet and exercise changes that can be done and readily found on the internet by Googling "treatment for hypertension." One of my favorite sites for any medical question is http://www.mayoclinic.com, obviously, a very reputable source.

So, I filled my prescriptions, just to have them on hand if needed, but I also bought a home BP monitoring cuff, began a sensible weight-loss program, lowered my sodium intake, added some vital supplements, etc. In one month I lost 7 lbs., and really never missed the extra salt that I used to add during food prep, or to my plate. I don't normally eat alot of prepared foods anyway, so it wasn't that big of an adjustment to reduce my sodium intake. I also kept close watch on my BP, monitoring it at the same time every morning and every evening. Over the course of that month, I watched it go from the 150-155/95-100 range down to 128/82 eventually. I went for a followup visit in early August, where my BP reading was 127/86, and the Dr. reviewed the chart I'd been keeping during the month, showing the steady decline in readings. He seemed rather surprised, and asked if I'd been doing yoga or some type of relaxation therapy! Apparently, they don't usually see such an impressive result in only one month with the typical medications routine, and I guess it never occured to him that a little change in diet, some exercise and weightloss might actually work. When I thought about it later, I was pretty appalled that these options were never even mentioned, at least as something I could do in conjunction with the medication.

In my opinion, most Drs. are far too quick to push drugs on their patients, and far too remiss in properly advising them about the alternatives, or things they can do in conjuction with taking medications. That said, I would never advise or recommend that anyone do what I did without consulting their doctor first, as there are many variables to the causes of high BP that might, in fact, warrant testing and taking medication. But, in my opinion, it can never hurt to educate yourself, and take a pro-active approach to your healthcare either. To this day, I am maintaining my blood pressure in very healthy ranges without the use of medication.

Good luck, tibby. I hope you are doing better.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:39 am

User avatar Hello VickiL56, and thank you so much for sharing your experience here. Among the many important points you make is the fact that an educated and pro-active patient is likely to have the best outcome, so one can only hope that your intelligent and postive attitude is contagious. Thanks also for the very appropriate caveat about working with one's doctors rather than simply departing from the program. This is also important. You're very fortunate to have the insights that have enabled you to bring your hypertension under control without the meds. Good job!
 ladyvet - Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:55 am

Hi Vickil56,
Thank you very much for sharing that information. I too am a 46 year old perimenopausal woman recently diagnosed with HT. I too am proactive about my health like you and shuddered at the thought of being on drugs for the rest of my life. I was prescribed Telmisartan 40 mg due to high bp reading of 154/105. I took it for 5 days and experience signs of transient hypotensio with cold extremeties and felt like my heart was beating weakly and I had palpitations. My dr. reduced it to half and still I did not like it. Encouraged by your experiences, I too have decided to buy a blood pressure monitor and went and got my dr to change my prescription to hydrochlorthiazide in case I needed it. I have always been a morning walker, now I have added some simple yoga exercises to y routine. I want to know if you took any magnesium supplements, cause apparently that is one of the things that a women may require more.

Here's wishing you continued good health, Cheers.

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