I will be making a case for the scientists who recommended that you take drugs if your blood pressure (BP) is more than a certain level and why they decided to make such a recommendation that constrains you to a life long use of medication.
You absolutely should take your drugs. This article is an attempt to convince Chief Monsuru and Mama Felicia who, after leaving their doctors consulting room, want a second opinion from another doctor on what they have been told about taking their BP drugs.
This is a 3 part series
What is hypertension?
What does it do to your body?
Why do scientists think you should take the hypertension drugs?
For public information: Vasoprin is not a BP drug!. (This one has been biting me for so long and I just had to get it out).
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is a big word for high blood pressure. This simply means the pressure exerted by the blood in the conduits/pipes that carry it is too high and this pressure has the potential to damage different organs in the body. This pressure is not good for your body and it has serious consequences if untreated.
What does it do to your body?
Some of the common effects of high blood pressure include heart failure, stroke and kidney disease. It can also cause a heart attack and blood vessel disease. The way it damages the blood vessel is by destroying the internal lining of the blood pipes. When the internal linings are damaged, they become prone to getting blocked off by blood cells that are trying to seal off that damage- This in itself can cause a stroke or a heart attack.
The pressure that gets built up in the blood pipes gets transmitted to the heart which is trying really hard to pump blood around the body through these pipes under a lot of resistance. This can cause the heart to begin to get bigger in a very bad way, at the end of the spectrum this will cause the heart to fail as it no longer becomes able to pump blood to the whole body as it normally should. A condition that we refer to as Heart Failure. If blood pressure is untreated it can lead to a number of these illnesses.
Not so fun fact: Franklin D Roosevelt – The president of the USA during the 2nd world war had untreated hypertension. He came down with heart failure, heart attack, and finally succumbed to a stroke within 2 years. At this time, there was no treatment for hypertension. Following his demise, there was a rapid growth in the study and treatment of the condition.
Why do scientists think you should take hypertension drugs?
To prevent the problems outlined above, drugs have been developed to reduce one’s chances of coming down with them. The earliest studies showed that using BP drug reduces ones chances of coming down with stroke by about 40%. I am sure you will want to improve your chances this way.
Another serious condition from hypertension is kidney damage. The pressure with which blood flows into the kidney in people with hypertension can cause injury to the kidney and can lead ultimately to a chronic kidney disease in the long run- at the end of the spectrum of this illness, a person might require kidney transplant or weekly dialysis to remain alive. Chronic kidney disease from hypertension is more likely to occur in young people who develop hypertension and leave it untreated for a long time.
Taking the drugs improves your blood pressure and reduces the odds of you coming down with the disease. A common misconception of the public is that they think that when their BP machine begins to give them normal reading, it becomes safe to stop the drug. This is not correct. The drugs are responsible for doing this and if you discontinue the drugs, the BP will rise again and continue its work of damaging your organs. If you develop side effects from using the drugs, quickly inform your doctor, so they can review your medications and possibly change it if need be. You should not try to titrate your drugs yourself, leave the job to the doctor who is managing you to that.
The drugs are usually taken for life, especially if is is primary hypertension. This singular fact dissuades a lot of people from taking the drugs. however, in secondary hypertension, there is an identifiable cause, which when treated, cures the hypertension. Some suggest that they will put in vigorous lifestyle modifications to correct it. It should however be noted that lifestyle modifications reduces the blood pressure (systolic-the upper reading) by nothing more than 5 mmHg and this alone is insufficient to bring the blood pressure under control for a person with confirmed hypertension.
The cost of the drugs may also be prohibitive, but you should know that there are a lot of different drugs with different prices depending on the manufacturers and you should be quick to discuss with your doctor when you have financial limitations with procuring your drugs, so you can attempt to work with less expensive ones.
Hypertension has bad effects on your health.
It can be controlled with a lot of different drugs of varying prices.
You should endeavour to take your drugs religiously, if you have any issues with it, be quick to discuss these concerns with your doctor.
If you want to reduce your risks of coming down with a lot of the diseases hypertension can cause, you absolutely need to take the drugs everyday.
October 29th (Yesterday) was World Stroke Day and high blood pressure is a very strong risk factor for coming down with the condition.