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Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > High Blood Pressure: Taking Medicines Properly
Medicines help lower blood pressure. When blood
pressure is high, it starts to damage the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys.
This can lead to
kidney disease, and other problems.
When you have
high blood pressure, you don't usually feel
sick. It can be hard to think about taking your pills when you don't
feel sick. But taking them exactly as directed
helps lower your risk for more serious problems.
don't cure—most cases of high blood
pressure. So you will need to take them for the rest of your life.
Many people need to take more than one kind of pill to control their
blood pressure. The types of blood pressure
Medicines can cure most cases of high blood
Medicines work in various ways to help control
high blood pressure, but they do not cure most cases of it. High blood pressure
is a lifelong disease that must be controlled, or it can lead to heart or
kidney disease and stroke.
I may need more than one medicine to control my high
Your doctor may try several different
combinations of medicines to control your high blood pressure.
One medicine alone may not lower your high
blood pressure enough. Your doctor may try several
different combinations of medicines to control your high blood pressure.
Continue to Why?
If you don't take your medicines properly, your blood pressure
may not be controlled. This can lead to:
It can take some time to find the right
combination of medicines with the fewest side effects. Take your medicines
exactly as your doctor tells you to. And don't
be surprised if your doctor decides to change your medicines. Just keep
following his or her directions.
Some medicines shouldn't be combined with
other prescription or nonprescription medicines. Make sure your doctor knows
all of the medicines you are taking.
I need to tell my doctor about all of the medicines I
take, including nonprescription drugs.
Some medicines, including nonprescription
drugs, cannot be combined with high blood pressure medicines, because they can
cause serious side effects.
Continue to How?
Medicines work really well to control high blood pressure in
most people. But they won't work if you don't take them as directed.
Here's how you can get started on taking your medicines properly.
It may not be too hard for
most people to remember to take just one pill a day. But if you start adding
more pills—pills that you need to take at different times and in different
doses—it can get confusing.
A key to taking
your medicines properly is to stay organized:
more you know about your medicines, the easier it will be to stay on your
schedule and take your pills properly.
For more information, see:
Staying organized—by using pillboxes and
written schedules, for example—can help me take my medicines
When you have to take more than one
pill once a day, it can be hard to remember which pill to take when. Staying
organized can help.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read the
information on taking your medicines properly for high blood pressure, you are
ready to create your system for taking your medicines properly.
If you have
questions about this information, print it out and take it
with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to use a highlighter to mark
areas or make notes in the margins of the pages where you have questions.
If you don't have a medicine plan already, schedule a time with
your doctor to create one.
If you would like more information on high blood pressure,
the following resource is available:
CardioSmart is an online education and support program that can be your partner in heart health. This website engages, informs, and empowers people to take part in their own care and to work well with their health care teams. It has tools and resources to help you prevent, treat, and/or manage heart diseases.
You can set health and wellness goals and track your progress with online tools. You can track your weight, waist measurement, blood pressure, and activity. You can use calculators to help you find your body mass index (BMI) and check your risk for heart problems. You can search for a cardiologist. And you can find medicine information and prepare for your next appointment. Also, you can join online communities to connect with peers and take heart-healthy challenges.
CardioSmart was designed by cardiovascular professionals at the American College of Cardiology, a nonprofit medical society. Members include doctors, nurses, and surgeons.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
(NHLBI) information center offers information and publications about preventing
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High Blood Pressure
April 5, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
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