Blood pressure medication. What comes to mind when you think of your doctor prescribing you a blood pressure medication?
For most people, the first thought is…side effects. “What will the side effects be? Will I have to take this medication for the rest of my life?” These are legitimate worries. Whether the side effects will be mild or life-changing, most people don’t want their health to be made even worse by their medications. What if the side effects created by the first medication require another medication to eliminate or control? What if the side effects are life-threatening? What if the drug damages my organs even as it’s helping reduce my blood pressure?
The doctors and the pharmaceutical industry team up to give people the impression that a pill is the one and only way to safeguard your health, eschewing plants, herbs and lifestyle changes that may be just as or even more effective in treating a condition. They warn us that not taking that medication is tantamount to suicide by omission. But is that “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”?
The most important question is this: Are there effective, proven alternatives to taking medication for this and other health threats? Great question, and one that is pretty easy to answer. For many people there are non-medical ways to gain control over their health condition, although it does take more effort than simply popping a pill or two every day. Changes to lifestyle and diet take awareness and effort, but if you are one of those who objects to the daily pill routine you can stop feeling guilty. There are ways that don’t have to involve drugs.
The side effects list is a long one for a wide variety of blood pressure medications:
- Low potassium (which results in fatigue, leg cramps, weakness and heart problems)
- stomach cramps
- blurred vision
- muscle cramps
- heart failure
- shortness of breath
and these are not all…depending on which medication you take, you might also experience these:
- cold extremities
- heart block
- sexual dysfunction
Some side effects can be misdiagnosed as not being caused by a medication when in fact they are. These and other adverse reactions are terrifying to contemplate for lots of people. The FDA states that prescription drug side effects cause around 100,000 deaths per year.
Then you must also use caution (or pray that your doctors do) that you do not mix the wrong two or more medications together, as some of these medications can react with other medications and cause dangerous reactions to occur. For example, there is a list of blood pressure medications that should never be taken in conjunction with clonidine, and beta blockers should not be taken with beta-agonists or with barbiturates. If you have multiple physicians, they need to know all of the medications you take or disastrous interactions can occur. Think of what could happen if one or more of your doctors is not closely monitoring your mixture?
Another danger with blood pressure medications may be caused by the food you eat while taking them. You should never eat bananas and other foods high in potassium if you take ACE inhibitors because they can cause heart rhythm irregularities when mixed with that particular type of blood pressure medication.
Then finally there is the cost. Blood pressure medication can have a cost ranging from $10 to $200 (with insurance coverage), depending on the type and whether or not a generic is prescribed. For people without healthcare insurance, blood pressure treatment costs can surpass $450 for the examination, and without Rx coverage the medication can be more than $400. It’s no wonder so many people would rather take the actions necessary to control their blood pressure with non-medicinal methodologies.