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Misconceptions of older adults with hypertension concerning OTC medications and alcohol

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. This can damage the vessels, heart, and kidneys and lead to stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure. While hypertension can be caused by factors like obesity and stress, it often has no specific cause. Regardless of the cause, however, it is important to manage hypertension with lifestyle changes and medication. 



Symptoms of hypertension usually don’t appear until it has done significant damage to your body. That’s why it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly starting at age 18, even if you feel fine.

If your blood pressure is consistently high, you may experience: headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds

If your blood pressure is found to be high, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and/or medication to help lower it. 


Treatment of hypertension without medication


There are a number of things you can do to treat hypertension without medication, such as by

Losing weight, eating a healthier diet, exercising regularly, reducing stress, cutting back on alcohol

If you smoke, quitting smoking is also an important step in treating hypertension. 


Common misconceptions about treating hypertension


There are a number of misconceptions about treating hypertension, such as:


  • That over-the-counter (OTC) medications are safe to take
  • That alcohol is good for your blood pressure
  • That natural remedies are not effective


otc hypertension medications, such as decongestants and pain relievers, can actually raise blood pressure and should be avoided by people with hypertension. Alcohol can also raise blood pressure and should be limited to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. 


Natural remedies, such as herbs and supplements, can be effective in treating hypertension. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, as some can interact with medications you may be taking. 


Risks associated with untreated hypertension


If left untreated, hypertension can lead to a number of serious health problems, such as:

Heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, memory loss, vision problems


Treating hypertension is important to reduce your risk of developing these and other health problems. 


Ways to prevent hypertension from developing 


There are a number of things you can do to prevent hypertension, such as:


  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • eating a healthy diet
  • exercising regularly
  • reducing stress
  • limiting alcohol consumption

If you smoke, quitting smoking is also an important step in preventing hypertension


Hypertension is a serious condition that can lead to many health problems. However, there are a number of things you can do to treat and prevent it. Talk to your doctor about what steps you can take to keep your blood pressure under control. Lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly can help to reduce blood pressure. In addition, medication can be used to further lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications. With proper treatment, people with hypertension can enjoy a long and healthy life.

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