WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – 2020 has been undoubtedly one of the most stressful years on record, and while many Americans were sheltering-in-place at the height of the pandemic, regular healthcare visits with general practitioners were postponed making it necessary for patients, especially those with high blood pressure, to manage their heart health from home.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, including 40%of non-Hispanic Black Americans. Further, Black Americans are often more likely to lack adequate access to healthcare, which has been likely exacerbated by the economic fallout from the pandemic. While there are no definitive answers as to why high blood pressure disproportionately affects Black Americans, it may be triggered by genetic factors, higher sensitivity to salt which can increase risk of developing high blood pressure, and a tendency to respond to antihypertensives differently than other groups. Untreated or poorly managed high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke, which is why it’s important to be proactive about your heart health at home, including understanding how to properly manage your high blood pressure and what over-the-counter pain medications may raise blood pressure and interact with your antihypertensives.
On Wednesday, Dr. Jennifer Caudle joined NewsChannel 7 at 4 to share how to be proactive about your heart health at home, especially for Black Americans who are disproportionately impacted by high blood pressure and are more likely to have inadequate access to healthcare. Dr. Caudle discussed why it’s important to have an open dialogue with your general practitioner and what patients need to know about the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter pain medications as well as any potential interaction with prescription medications used to treat high blood pressure.
DID YOU KNOW:
- According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Black Americans ages 18-49 are twice as likely to die from heart disease than Caucasians and those of Hispanic descent. Black Americans aged 35-64 years are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than Caucasians and those of Hispanic descent.
- 1 in 2 adults in the US is hypertensive, and 82% of patients surveyed in 2017 with high blood pressure were unaware that NSAIDs can interfere with their high blood pressure medication.
- Acetaminophen is often recommended as a more appropriate OTC pain reliever than NSAIDs in patients with hypertension. NSAIDs have been observed to increase blood pressure and may decrease the efficacy of certain antihypertensive medications.
- Consumers may not be aware that acetaminophen and NSAIDs are found in hundreds of OTC medicines. Always read and follow the label of all over-the-counter pain medications and take only one medicine that contains the same kind of active ingredient at a time. This may help reduce the risk of harmful side effects.
- The American Heart Association has identified acetaminophen as a first-line pain relief option for patients with, or at high risk for, cardiovascular disease.[xiv] Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
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