GrownUps accepts no responsibility for decisions made by Members or any other persons as a result of using or relying on any information on the GrownUps website. GrownUps does not give any health advice or make any recommendation of any product or service.

Managing hypertension

Why take your medicine when you feel fine?

If you have hypertension – high blood pressure – you’re not alone. The condition, where blood is putting too much pressure on artery walls, affects one in five New Zealanders.

As blood travels around the body, it presses against your artery walls. For most people a good blood pressure is less than 130/80 mmHg. Hypertension is a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher. It can increase with stress, excitement and exercise, and will also vary depending on your age.

If you have hypertension, you might not know it – there aren’t any signs or symptoms. This is why it’s often called the ‘silent killer’. Left untreated, the pressure can put your heart, kidney and other organs under extra strain, and can lead to stroke, heart conditions and kidney failure and other diseases.

Why taking your hypertension medication is critical

The good news is that it’s preventable and treatable with changes to your lifestyle and, most critically, the right medication. By taking your medicine as prescribed, you reduce your risk of developing these other diseases by a huge margin – you reduce the risk of stroke by 34% and the risk of heart disease by 21%, for example. Maybe even worse is to suddenly stop taking your medication. This can cause rebound tachycardia or rebound hypertension – where your heart rate and blood pressure spike, which can then trigger all sorts of dangerous conditions.

The trouble is, most people with hypertension ‘feel fine’ so it’s easy to forget to take their medicine, or make it a low priority. In one report spanning data collected over four years, just under half of those being treated for hypertension had their blood pressure under control. The remaining half didn’t, because they’d stopped taking their medicine – or weren’t taking it correctly.

How to be an A+ hypertension patient

When you accept that you have a life-threatening illness, and take steps to actively manage it, hypertension can be dealt with fairly easily. Here’s how to pass every check-up with flying colours:

Understanding your medications: It’s important to know what medicines you are taking and how to take them correctly. If you download ZOOM Pharmacy’s free app, you get all your medicines clearly listed, with all the information you’ll need, like how to take your medications and any possible side effects as shown here. It will all be there on your phone, laid out simply and clearly for quick reference, 24/7.

Make repeat prescriptions simple: When you run out, it’s easy to put off getting more medication, especially when you feel fine. ZOOM Pharmacy’s repeat prescription service can be the answer. After ZOOM has dispensed your medicines and you start to run low, ZOOM will then contact your GP to organise your next repeat prescription for you. You’ll get your medicine sent by courier direct to your door, so you never run out. As one ZOOM customer puts it, “Getting a message about my script about to run out, and even organising it for me – is just beyond helpful.”

Set reminders: Since hypertension doesn’t have a lot of symptoms reminding you to take your meds, you can use the daily dose reminders on your free ZOOM Pharmacy app, so you’ll never forget. Your ZOOM pharmacist will load these for you and look like below.

Tweak your lifestyle: Staying fit and healthy has a huge impact on your blood pressure. Give up the cigarettes, cut down on alcohol, salt and sugar and introduce more fruit, vegetables and lean proteins to your diet. This, plus regular exercise, should help you maintain a healthy weight – another risk factor when it comes to hypertension.

Get regular check-ups: Having your blood pressure checked regularly will help your doctor understand the right kinds and levels of medicine you should be on, and keep track of any changes.

Go to zoompharmacy.co.nz to learn more about how ZOOM Pharmacy could help make it easier to keep your hypertension under control.