Blood Pressure Medication Recall—Why and What to Do
7 minute read
Elevated blood pressure can contribute to more serious heart problems. Thankfully, there are medications available to help regulate it and protect your heart. But what happens when the medications you take start getting recalled?
Not too long after a different recall, the FDA is now adding to the list of blood pressure medications that you need to watch out for.
When Blood Pressure Pills Go Bad
First, medications were being recalled for not having the right pills in the bottles. Instead of blood pressure drugs, people were getting a medication used to treat heart failure and cirrhosis.
Now, medications are coming under fire over questions of impurities. NDMA was recently found in certain medications and is linked to increased cancer risk.
The presence of NDMA was not expected, and it is believed to have turned up as a result of changes in the manufacturing processes. Physicians and the FDA both advise that people should not lose faith in the drug and its effectiveness over this recent recall.
The drug itself is still effective for regulating blood pressure; it is the contaminant that is the problem.
If you take blood pressure medications, you need to check the list provided by the FDA to identify if your pills are being recalled or not. You can also contact the pharmacy where your prescription is filled, and they will advise you on what to do next. However, under no circumstances should you stop taking the medication.
These drugs are prescribed to treat serious heart problems and stopping them could cause problems. Speak with your pharmacy and doctor before ceasing any medications. The FDA continues to research the toxic impurities and is assessing the potential dangers to those who have been taking the medication so far.
A More Natural Approach
While your doctor will likely still advise that you take your medications, recall or not, you may be thinking of alternative ways to regulate your blood pressure. There are a number of natural methods and changes to your life you can employ to keep blood pressure low and within healthy ranges.
Regardless of whether you take medication or not, these lifestyle changes can help regulate blood pressure and may even reduce the need for medication completely.
Watch Your Weight
The heavier you are, the higher your blood pressure will be. Specifically, extra weight around your waistline increases your blood pressure the most.
Losing even a small amount of weight can reduce blood pressure, and general weight loss has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure and promotes overall better health. Check in with your doctor to determine what your weight and blood pressure levels should be.
Getting regular exercise helps to prevent obesity and keeps those extra pounds off. Aerobic activity such as walking, cycling, swimming, or jogging for thirty minutes a day can reduce blood pressure and prevent hypertension.
For those already diagnosed with hypertension, regular exercise can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels. Even more effective is when you combine aerobic activity with strength training as part of your regular fitness routine.
Mind Your Diet
A balanced diet with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and reduced saturated fat consumption will noticeably lower your blood pressure. You also want to reduce your sodium consumption, as this is known to substantially elevate blood pressure.
Potassium is a great way to counteract the effects of sodium, so consider adding potassium-rich foods, like bananas, to your daily plan.
Check the Label
Always read food labels to identify hidden sodium and additives that can elevate blood pressure. Processed foods contain the most additives and sugars, so should be cut down as much as possible. You should also season your meals with herbs and spices to cut down on adding salt.
When it comes to cutting back on salt, make sure you do so gradually. Eventually your palate will adjust to where you don’t even notice its missing.
Cut the Bad Habits
Excessive alcohol drinking and smoking both cause blood pressure to rise to unhealthy levels, especially with prolonged use. Alcohol like red wine has protective qualities for your heart but only when consumed in moderation. Once you start drinking too much you lose the potential benefits.
Smoking increases your blood pressure even after you finish the cigarette. Quitting is the best option to improve blood pressure and increase longevity.
Reducing the stress in your life or learning to effectively cope with it goes a long way in reducing blood pressure levels. Stress directly raises blood pressure and also indirectly affects it when you choose to deal with stress with alcohol, smoking, and unhealthy comfort foods.
Avoid stressful triggers and focus on the problems you can solve. Whatever is out of your hands is not worth worrying about. Taking up yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises are also ways to reduce stress and promote healthy blood pressure.
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When it comes to blood pressure, you can stay in control by monitoring your levels regularly. Checking in with your doctor for checkups as well as keeping track of it from home is the best way to maintain control and prevent elevated levels.
Depending on your risk factors, you may want to check daily. It is also important to get the support of family and friends when making lifestyle changes to benefit your health and blood pressure levels.
The Bottom Line
Many medications have successfully treated high blood pressure for decades. While the recent trend in recalls is concerning for those with high blood pressure, there are options available.
Check with your doctor about how the recall affects you and look to alternative ways of managing high blood pressure. With or without medications, you can keep your blood pressure in check and keep heart disease from your door.