There is a certain level of fear among most people that once they take medicine for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, they are supposed to take it for life. However, there are patients with high blood pressure who have recovered and no longer take medicines.
To shed light on questions related to medication for high blood pressure, OnlineKhabar spoke to Prof Dr Rajendra Koju, a senior cardiologist at Dhulikhel Hospital, Dhulikhel.
Here are the excerpts:
1. What does the medicine do in patients with high blood pressure?
High blood pressure medication lowers blood pressure. Some drugs lower the pressure from the heart. Some make the blood vessels more flexible for better blood flow, thereby controlling blood pressure.
2. Once on medication, is it necessary to take it for the whole life once in medication?
If the high blood pressure is being controlled by taking the medicine, the blood pressure will increase as soon as the medicine is stopped and may have a worse effect on the health. Problems such as stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and rupture of blood vessels are seen. So you have to take medicines for life to control your blood pressure.
3. What are the causes of high blood pressure?
In 90 per cent of patients with high blood pressure, the cause cannot be specified. For the rest 10 per cent, there are other diseases in the background.
Lifestyle changes are one of the major causes of the increase in blood pressure. Moreover, poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity problems, stress etc also increase high blood pressure.
4. What are the conditions in which the patients do not need to take the medicine?
Suppose someone’s blood pressure rises to 140/90 and if the blood pressure is increased due to obesity, it can be controlled by changing the lifestyle. Medicines should be taken only if it does not decrease even after changing the lifestyle. In such a case, you should not stop taking the medicine. Such medical conditions can be kidney-related problems too.
5. Is a doctor’s consultation necessary?
The medication should not be consumed on its own. A doctor’s consultation is mandatory. Patients, however, should be left free when doctors identify stress, snoring or kidney problems as the causes of high blood pressure and their pressure levels are still controllable.
It is possible to decrease, increase or stop the medicine only after consulting the doctor. You should not quit on your own. There are many cases of stroke, paralysis and heart attack when you quit medication on your own. That is why it is mandatory to consult a doctor to stop taking blood pressure medication.
6. Is there any side effects after taking the medicine?
Many high blood pressure drugs have few or no negative effects. However, complications such as a simple dry cough and mild leg swelling have been noticed. Yet, the medication’s adverse effects are minor when compared to the negative effects of high blood pressure. These common side effects of medication can also be controlled.
7. What happens if the medicine is not taken?
Several studies have found that persons with uncontrolled high blood pressure are more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or problems with the kidneys. Furthermore, because it affects the eyes and blood vessels, it is vital to take medicine to protect them.
This story was translated from the original Nepali version and edited for clarity and length.