Health Matters

On The Rise: 5 Reasons Your Blood Pressure Medication Isn’t Working

Keeping your blood pressure in check is a good way to lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. So, you follow orders, take your prescribed medication, and proudly accept your doctor’s praise when the blood pressure cuff demonstrates continued success. Until it doesn’t. 
blood pressure cuff and pills
Despite a track record of good results, a recent check-up shows those numbers are creeping up again. How can that be?
UR Medicine hypertension expert Dr. John Bisognano says it’s not uncommon for blood pressure to rise, even after you thought you had it under control. 
Here are five likely reasons why your blood pressure is up, despite regularly taking your pills.
  1. Too much salt. It can sneak into your diet at every turn: in prepared and packaged foods, some vegetables, drive-through window fare, and those delicious restaurant meals. We don’t do ourselves any favors by grabbing the salt shaker at the table either. Read labels and raise your awareness of salt in what you eat and drink. Try to limit your salt intake to less than five grams per day. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables can help you lower your salt intake, too. And if you smoke, here’s yet another reason to quit: Smoking impacts your taste buds so you’ll tend to use more salt to boost foods’ flavors.
  2. Too many cups o’ Joe. Lots of caffeine can wreak havoc on your blood pressure. Scale it back a bit and see if that makes a difference. One or two small cups of coffee probably won’t matter but several pint-sized French roasts daily may be a problem.
  3. Other health issues. Your doctor may want to check for things like an overactive thyroid, sleep apnea, kidney dysfunction, or adrenal gland disorders, which can elevate blood pressure.
  4. Timing is everything. Consider taking your medication at a different time of day than you do now. If your doctor has you take two medications for blood pressure, try taking one in the morning, and the other one in the evening, to provide round-the-clock medication in your system. It’s a simple trick of the trade that can make a difference. 
  5. It’s not enough. Your body may simply need more medication to lower your blood pressure. Or your doctor may prescribe a diuretic, or water pill, to create balance.
Most people will see their blood pressure drop by combining a change in personal habits and altering medications.
 John Bisognano, MD   
John D. Bisognano, M.D., Ph.D., is president-elect of the American Society of Hypertension, a preventive cardiologist and director of the Hypertension Clinic at UR Medicine.
Lori Barrette | 8/15/2014 | 0 comments


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Welcome to Health Matters, a blog aimed at keeping you and your family healthy. We offer advice from URMC experts on timely topics, as well as insight into breaking news and medical research. Visit us weekly for updates and invite your family and friends to check us out. If you have a topic you’d like to see us cover, please send a note to Lori Barrette.


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Though health advice offered here is provided by experts, there is no substitute for the personal care your own provider can offer. If you have medical questions or concerns, please contact your physician.

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