Should you stop taking your blood pressure medication?
You’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure. You’re doctor has prescribed a treatment plan that includes making lifestyle changes — getting more exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a more healthy diet, and reducing your alcohol intake. In addition, as part of your treatment plan, your doctor has also prescribed medication to help lower your blood pressure.
The question then is should you stop taking your blood pressure medication if you start feeling better? High blood pressure or hypertension cannot be cured, but with the right medication or combination of medications and healthy lifestyle changes, it can be controlled. Maintaining lower BP levels helps to lower your risk for stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, peripheral arterial disease, and retinopathy.
If you’re concerned about taking your blood pressure medication or you’re experiencing unwanted side effects, you need to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Don’t try to go cold turkey! It can be dangerous to your health to suddenly stop taking your medications.
Just because your blood pressure is down doesn’t mean…
For some individuals, a dedicated regimen of exercise and weight loss can lead to a significant drop in BP levels which can then be maintained without medication or at least with a reduction in the dosage. However, for many people, making healthy lifestyle changes that include increasing your activity level, weight loss, eating a low-fat/low-salt diet, and reducing your alcohol consumption, is not enough to control their blood pressure levels. Medication is an essential part of their treatment plan.
Many people are concerned about taking any medication on a long-term basis. But, studies have shown that medications to control blood pressure are not addictive, not harmful, and may actually have additional health benefits, especially for people with diabetes. Some BP medications can help reduce complications from kidney disease and diabetic retinopathy.
You shouldn’t stop taking blood pressure medication without first talking to a doctor. While many of the medications may have side effects, most of these will go away with time. If they persist, your doctor may elect to change the dose, the time of day you take it, or switch you to another medication.
Moving in the right direction
The bottom line — you should never stop taking your blood pressure medication without first consulting your doctor. If he or she recommends that you should keep taking your medication, then it’s critical to your overall health that you do so.
So, in addition to making lifestyle changes and taking BP medications, another important part of your treatment plan should include monitoring your BP levels. Being able to monitor your blood pressure on a daily basis is very effective when it come to managing your high blood pressure as well as determining how long it takes for your blood pressure medication to work.
Ivy Health Labs offers a convenient yet effective way to monitor the progress of your treatment with our wireless wrist or arm blood pressure monitors. Using our wireless monitors will enable you to see improvements in you BP in real time to help determine the effectiveness of your medications.