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Here’s Why OTC Pain Relievers Can Raise Blood Pressure

A commonly used type of over-the-counter medication can worsen hypertension.


Just 29% of U.S. adults know that taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can raise blood pressure, according to a survey by the American Heart Association.

Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “Most Adults Are Unaware of This Drug’s Blood Pressure Danger” says that, to make matters worse, only about half (53%) of those diagnosed with high blood pressure check with their doctor before taking this type of medicine.

Almost half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

The American Heart Association defines hypertension as a consistent blood pressure reading of 130/80 or higher.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults also found that only a fifth (21%) of respondents were aware that acetaminophen doesn’t raise blood pressure, making it a better option for those who diagnosed with hypertension. Many people with hypertension also aren’t monitoring their condition as closely as they should. Just 10% of these adults in the United States self-measure their blood pressure more than once a day. Only 14% do it even once a day.

Dr. Willie Lawrence Jr., an interventional cardiologist and volunteer lead of the American Heart Association’s National Hypertension Control Initiative oversight committee, said that “because some pain relievers may cause elevated blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends consulting your doctor or pharmacist and making sure you read the label before taking any over-the-counter medication for pain, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure.”

The survey results don’t name all the OTC pain relievers that can raise blood pressure. But the AHA’s hypertension guidelines for health care professionals cite nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, among which OTC pain relievers can raise blood pressure. NSAIDs are a class of medications that includes ibuprofen and naproxen, among others.

High blood pressure is the single most preventable cause of heart disease and stroke in the U.S. It’s second only to cigarette smoking as a preventable cause of death. Recent federal government data also shows that hypertension is easily the most common chronic health condition among seniors who have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

Even for younger adults, hypertension can have serious consequences. For instance, recent research suggests that people who have high blood pressure between the ages of 35 and 44 are more likely to develop dementia.

Here at Sabrina Winters Law, we have helped hundreds of people with their estate planning in Charlotte. Schedule a Meeting with Sabrina today to find out how we can help you!

Reference: Money Talks News (Nov. 5, 2021) “Most Adults Are Unaware of This Drug’s Blood Pressure Danger”

Suggested Key Terms: Senior Health, Hypertension

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