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New research on why blood pressure can't always be lowered with medicines
Researchers at Imperial College London find high blood pressure that appears to be resistant to medications could be uncontrolled due to not taking the medications as prescribed
The medications available to lower blood pressure don’t always get people’s blood pressure down to their target. About 63% of people who take them will have their numbers lowered to less than 140/90mmHg (the cut off point for diagnosing high blood pressure), according to the Health Survey for England.
Researchers from Imperial College London wanted to find out why the remaining 37% have resistant hypertension – high blood pressure that can’t be brought under control by medications – and if not taking the medications as often as prescribed could be part of the problem.
They studied 107 people with suspected resistant hypertension, each person was observed taking their medications, and their blood pressure numbers were recorded throughout the day. The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension showed that 65% of the group reached a systolic blood pressure of under 140mmHg during the study, meaning 35% had hypertension which was truly resistant to medications.
The research indicates that of those who have high blood pressure that appears to be resistant to medications, about a third have high blood pressure which is truly resistant.
Nirmala Markandu, Helpline Nurse at Blood Pressure UK explains: “Blood pressure-lowering medications do seem to work in most people but depend on taking the medications as prescribed. Usually a combination of anti-hypertensive drugs in small doses works and may minimise the side effects. Often the reason people don't take the medication is because the side effects are having too much impact on their everyday lives but they don't tell their doctor or nurse for various reasons, and usually the partner or those closest to the patient are the ones who mention it to the medical staff.
“We agree with the researchers’ conclusion that both patients and doctors need to be educated in the reasons why people don’t their medications and that new solutions to the problem need to be found. Treatment options for those with resistant hypertension, as well as for people with unlivable side effects, should be a focus of future research.”
We will discuss the research being done on treatment options for people with severe side effect in the Winter issue of our magazine, Positive Pressure. Become a member of Blood Pressure UK, which includes a subscription to the magazine.
Read the original research published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension