Medicine cabinet makeover tips for people with high blood pressure
If you’re among the 68 million Americans who have high blood pressure, you may feel that taking your medicine, getting plenty of exercise and eating a healthy diet means you’re doing everything you can to manage your condition. But with cold season in full swing and many areas of the country recording record numbers of flu cases, it might be time for a medicine cabinet makeover as well - a total renovation in which you toss out any over-the-counter (OTC) medications that contain decongestants.
That’s because the same ingredients in decongestants that help relieve the nasal swelling associated with congestion also affect other blood vessels in the body, causing blood pressure and heart rate to rise - a potentially dangerous situation for those with high blood pressure. Unfortunately, just 10 percent of those with high blood pressure are aware they should avoid decongestants, and nearly half don’t know they should take a special OTC medicine when they have a cold or the flu, according to a survey by St. Joseph, makers of over-the-counter medications.
“The number of hypertensive people who don’t know to avoid decongestants is shocking,” says Bernie Kropfelder of -St. Joseph Health Products, LLC. “Each year, 5 to 20 percent of Americans will catch the flu, so it’s important for people with high blood pressure to talk to their doctors or pharmacists about which OTC medicines to avoid.”
If you have high blood pressure, start your medicine cabinet makeover by replacing OTC medicines that contain decongestants with remedies that don’t, such as St. Joseph’s new line of cold and flu products. The brand’s products for fever and pain contain acetaminophen, which will not interfere with aspirin’s benefits if you’re on an aspirin regimen.
Next, remove from your medicine cabinet, pantry or refrigerator dietary supplements that are high in sodium, as high levels of salt are commonly known to increase blood pressure. For example, many protein supplements contain hundreds of milligrams of sodium per serving.
Likewise, avoid supplements that contain extracts of grapefruit, and talk to your doctor about whether you should also remove grapefruit and grapefruit juice from your diet. Research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal points out that the number of medications that interact adversely with grapefruit is on the rise. There are now more than 85 drugs known to be affected by grapefruit, including calcium channel blockers that are used to treat high blood pressure, according to a CBC News report. -
Once you’ve removed adverse products from your medicine cabinet, you’ll have plenty of room for additions that are good for your heart, your high blood pressure and your overall health, including:
* Fish oil - Supplements like fish oil that contain omega 3 fatty acids offer a host of health benefits, and are known to be good for your heart. People with high blood pressure are at increased risk of heart disease, so adding heart-healthy supplements to their diets may be beneficial.
* Beet juice - OK, while this one should probably go in your refrigerator, adding beet juice to your diet may help your blood pressure control. Researchers at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia have found that within hours of drinking beet juice, study subjects had lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of four to five points, WebMD reports.
* Sesame and rice bran oil - WebMD also reports that a recent study showed taking 35 grams of a sesame/rice bran oil blend daily can help lower blood pressure.
Finally, add some relaxation time to your “mental medicine cabinet.” Stress can elevate blood pressure, so engaging in activities that help reduce stress can aid in your efforts to control your blood pressure. While it’s not always possible to avoid stressful situations, you can counter the effects of daily stress with activities like meditation, yoga, listening to relaxing music or even just spending time with a beloved pet.
+ Top Story
As the medical community and many Americans come to accept the use of marijuana to treat a range of diseases and symptoms, state legislators are working to keep pace with laws concerning marijuana for medical use.
While I was living in London two years ago, I was at a band rehearsal when I suddenly felt very ill, becoming increasingly dizzy and nauseous. I struggled to stay on my feet until I no longer stand and collapsed onto the floor of the rehearsal space.
For decades, if you asked your doctor what your odds were of suffering a heart attack, the answer would turn on a number: your cholesterol level. Now the nation’s first new heart disease prevention guidelines in a decade take a very different approach, focusing more broadly on risk and moving away from specific targets for cholesterol.
U.S. teens seeking weight-loss surgery have a startling number of health problems that used to be seen only in adults, according to a major government-funded study. Half the teens had at least four major illnesses linked with their excess weight.
Doctors 2 parents: Limit kids’ tweeting, texting & keep smartphones, laptops out of bedrooms. (#)goodluckwiththat. The recommendations are bound to prompt eye-rolling and LOLs from many teens but an influential pediatricians group says parents need to...
Even with all the high-tech medical tests and procedures that are available today, an accurate family health history remains one of the most important tools in keeping yourself healthy as you age. Here’s what you should know, along with some tips and tools to help get you started.
Health Insurance Marketplace premiums under the Affordable Care Act will be lower than what government officials expected when open enrollment begins October 1, Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, has announced.
The government shutdown is leaving all of us exposed. It may be easy for some to watch the news and conclude that the shutdown has nothing to do with them. For those people, I’d invite you to consider the impact of the shutdown on the public health infrastructure.