Everybody is aware of health risks of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. And now the disease is known to cause multiple deaths in the United States too. But a recent study disclosed that two classes of medication that are actually used to lower the high blood pressure could present with a death risk on their own.
Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, UT, found that individuals relying on alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists for controlling their hypertension actually leads to an increased variability in blood pressure which is known to increase the death rate.
Dr. Brian Clements, a leading study author, and his dedicated team have recently presented their study at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions, 2018 held in Orlando, FL.
Blood pressure is basically the force that our blood exerts against the blood vessels i.e. arteries, veins, capillaries. Last year in November, the American Heart Association (AHA) forwarded a set of new guidelines along with the collaboration of American College of Cardiology (ACA).
Now, a person is said to have hypertension if their systolic blood pressure (the upper limit) is 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or higher, and their diastolic blood pressure (the lower limit) is 80 mmHg or lower.
Systolic blood pressure is the pressure of blood against arteries when the heart is pumping blood while the diastolic pressure is when the heart is at rest or in between the cardiac beats.
According to the latest updates almost half of the adults in the United States, the most developed state so far, already has high blood pressure which exposes them to a greater chance of stroke, heart attack or any other heart disease among the others. Now, you can imagine what will be the condition in developing states and what resources do they have to combat the disease? But that’s not what we are discussing right now, the problem is much more crucial than you think.
When it comes to treating hypertension, of course, you are supposed to lower the blood pressure in any way. It could either be through changing the sedentary lifestyle that may include healthy diet along with the physical exercise or medication and usually the both.
However, previous researchers have shown that the levels of blood pressure need to remain consistent for higher chances of survival. A study published in The BMJ 2016 has revealed that the higher variability in systolic blood pressure is associated with 15% increased risks of mortality.
Another recent study from Clements and his team has revealed that certain drugs that are meant to lower the increased blood pressure actually contributes to raising the mortality risk.
Two Medications that Need to be Avoided for Certain in Hypertension
For the study published, the researchers have analyzed the data over 10,500 adults who were suffering from hypertension.
The participants had their blood pressure measured at least 7 times between January 2007 to December 2011 and also their medication during this period of time was monitored.
The researchers o the base of this data has analyzed that whether or not certain classes of blood pressure medications are associated with the variability of blood pressure or not?
Thus, they came to the conclusion that two classes of drugs that are alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists are linked to the higher blood pressure variability in those relying on them.
Alpha blockers that include doxazosin mesylate and prazosin hydrochloride actually work by dilating the blood vessels. Alpha-2 agonists, on the other hand, include methyldopa that works by targeting the activity of sympathetic nervous system and thus constricts the blood vessels.
Based on this very authentic study and deep research, Dr. Clement and his team say that these two classes of drugs must not be used in any way to treat hypertension.
He further says that “Patient should know what their blood pressure is and if it’s up and down all the time, the patient should work with their physician to explore options for the best blood pressure medications that will reduce variances. Where possible, the two types of medications that show an increase in variances should be avoided.”
“while there are other safer options for the treatment that include ace inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and thiazide diuretics,” he adds up. “And people who are on other types of drugs have an increased risk of mortality.”
However, medication is not the only factor contributing to the variability of blood pressure levels; Dr. Clements notes that variability can also be seen in the readings depending upon the way of measuring blood pressure.
Dr. Clements says that “[–] because of the variables that affect blood pressure measurements, finding ways to more accurately measure the blood pressure can better identify effective treatments for patients who have hypertension”.
For accurate determination of the blood pressure, it is recommended that the patient should lay down or sit 15 minutes prior to take the measurements. It is better to avoid the situations in which patient is stressful and finding a well-fitted blood pressure cuff can lead to accurate measurements.
What do you need to do if you find out any of these two drugs in your medication?
You must visit your physician as soon as you find out that you are using any of these two drugs and ask him/her about its risk factors. Or if you are a patient of hypertension you must visit your physician today to confirm that if any of your medicines do carry any of these two classes of medication. If you tell him about its risk factors he may change the medicine or guide you all about your medicine regarding your cardiovascular health system.
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