Why Your High Blood Pressure Medications Might Not Be Working

Heart disease is a serious concern for millions of Americans — and if you have high blood pressure, you’ve probably been warned by doctors regarding the dangers of the condition. When you have hypertension, the force of blood against the walls of blood vessels it too high, resulting in your heart and blood vessels working over time. This can lead to heart failure, vision issues, arterial damage, sexual dysfunction, kidney damage, or stroke in the long run.

The goods news is that in addition to lifestyle changes, there are plenty of medications that can help you with this condition. But what if they stop working — or fail to even start working in the first place? Here’s why that may occur, as well as what you should do.

You could be taking other medications or supplements that raise your blood pressure

Doctor checking blood pressure

Doctor checking blood pressure | iStock.com

If you’re taking a multitude of vitamins, supplements, or other meds, they could be sabotaging your blood pressure even if you’re on hypertension medication. According to Harvard Health Publishing, painkillers and common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds, like aspirin and ibuprofen, can all boost blood pressure.

As for prescription meds, if you’re on oral contraceptives or certain immunosuppressive drugs, these can also have a negative effect. Diet pills and natural licorice should be taken with caution as well.

Other medical conditions may be at play

You may be doing everything correct that’s in your power when it comes to your blood pressure — but other medical conditions can worsen your hypertension without you even knowing it. Harvard Health Publishing notes obstructive sleep apnea, which can cause you to hold your breath while you’re snoring, can lead to a boost in blood pressure.

Another condition known as renal artery stenosis can also have an impact. This disease occurs when there’s plaque buildup in the blood vessels that provide nourishment to the kidneys. The arteries that are blocked would need to be opened up to fix the issue and help your resistant hypertension. Aside from this, diabetes, high cholesterol, polycystic kidney disease, and Cushing syndrome can all harm your blood pressure, too.

Your diet could be sabotaging you

A man works at a computer and eats fast food. unhealthy food: Burger, sauce, potatoes, donuts,chips.

A man working at his computer with junk food | Ferkhova/Getty Images

With hypertension, it’s vital to make lifestyle changes to assist your medication. If you’re only taking blood pressure meds and not adjusting your bad habits, this could come back to hurt you.

The Cleveland Clinic explains you should be following the DASH diet, which includes plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains while limiting foods high in saturated fat and sugar. And of course, you’ll want to limit your sodium intake as well. You may not be adding too much salt from the salt shaker to your foods, but if you’re eating a lot of processed food, you’re definitely eating more sodium than you need.

It could be a hormonal issue

In some cases, your hypertension is caused by a secondary issue that may not be as obvious to you, the Mayo Clinic explains. If you have issues with your thyroid not producing enough or producing too much thyroid hormone, this can result in high blood pressure.

Additionally, if something’s wrong with your metabolism, this can lead to high blood pressure despite your use of hypertension meds as well. And, while it’s rarer than metabolic syndrome, hypertension levels that won’t budge could be a sign of a tumor in the adrenal gland. This can cause the gland to produce too many hormones and ultimately raise blood pressure.

Your reading could be inaccurate

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient and checking blood pressure

A nurse taking a man’s blood pressure | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Taking an accurate blood test may seem simple, but surprisingly, small factors can totally skew your results. The Cleveland Clinic notes inaccurate readings can come from the blood pressure cuff being too small or not resting enough before your reading. Alternatively, if you’re a coffee lover, caffeine can temporarily inflate the numbers. And of course, if doctors make you nervous, you could have “white coat hypertension” — a temporary elevation in blood pressure due to your own anxiety.

Relax, take a deep breath, and try to focus on something else while you’re getting your blood pressure read. This will help you and your doctor with accurate results.

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