Some adults unwittingly taking meds that make their high blood pressure worse

Nineteen percent of adults with high blood pressure are taking at least one medication that could elevate their blood pressure, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, The Washington Post reported May 17. 

Roughly 108 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, according to CDC data, which puts them at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Only 24 percent have their condition under control, according to CDC data cited by the Post

Physicians generally prescribe medication called antihypertensives if lifestyle changes aren't enough to improve high blood pressure, the Post reported. They may add more medication if the appropriate blood pressure goal isn't reached, but this may lead to the patients taking more antihypertensive medication than would be needed if their other medications were adjusted, the research showed. 

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs known to increase blood pressure include antidepressants, pain relievers such as ibuprofen, some oral contraceptives and decongestants, the Post reported. 

The researchers estimated that if half of U.S. adults with hypertension discontinued one blood pressure medication, up to 2.2 million patients could achieve their blood pressure goals. The research was based on nearly a decade of data of 27,599 adults. 

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