Like millions of Americans,
Emma was living with high blood pressure, and didn’t know it. There were no early warning
signs or symptoms, but Emma’s heart was working overtime,
putting her at risk for heart disease and stroke. Following a physical, Emma
was diagnosed with high blood pressure, also
called hypertension. People of all backgrounds can
develop high blood pressure. Treatments differ based
on risk factors, including age and family history. But hypertension can often be
controlled with healthy habits, and medication when necessary. Eating more fruits and
vegetables, following a low-salt diet, exercising regularly and
quitting smoking, are often the first lines of defense to
control high blood pressure. Your doctor may prescribe one
or more medications to help lower your blood pressure to normal. Some rid the body of
extra sodium and water. Others reduce the heart rate
or relax the blood vessels. Always take medications
exactly as prescribed and don’t skip doses. While medications can
effectively lower blood pressure when taken correctly,
each type has potential side effects for some people. You might might feel tired
or have trouble sleeping. You may experience a dry
cough, stuffy nose, leg cramps, frequent urination,
or headaches. If you have side effects that
don’t go away with time – don’t just quit taking
your medication. Talk with your doctor and
pharmacist as there may be other medications or different doses
that can control your blood pressure and have fewer
or no side effects. Focus on the benefits. Taking your medication regularly
will lower high blood pressure, and protect your brain,
heart and kidneys from life-threatening consequences,
like stroke or heart attack… often the first scary
signs of hypertension when left untreated. Control your blood pressure and
reduce your risk by knowing your goal numbers and monitoring your
blood pressure at home or at your local pharmacy in
between doctor’s visits. How’s Franny? She just graduated
from obedience school! Pharmacists play a key role
in working with your physician to improve blood
pressure management. We can address medication
concerns and challenges. So, talk to us about
your treatments and goals outlined
by your doctor. If taking your medication
feels like a chore, don’t just stop taking it. We can counsel you on working
through side effects, or determine when you need to
see your doctor about possible changes in your medications. And we’ll share healthy
lifestyle tips to keep you on track. Whether you monitor your blood
pressure at home, or in the pharmacy, we’re here
to discuss your numbers and provide guidance. Okay Emma, you’re all set. I’ll see you back here soon. Visit
http://millionhearts.hhs.gov to team up with your pharmacist to bring your blood
pressure down.

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