Although nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, only 29% believe that over-the-counter pain relievers can raise blood pressure, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of the American Heart Association (AHA). Additionally, only 53% of people diagnosed with high blood pressure consult a doctor before taking medication—a potential misstep, as many over-the-counter pain relievers, including ibuprofen and naproxen sodium (Aleve), can, increased blood pressure;
The survey, which included 2013 US adults age 18 or older, also found:
- Among people with high blood pressure, only 38% believe that over-the-counter pain relievers can increase blood pressure.
- Only 14% of people with hypertension report daily self-measurement of blood pressure.
Known as the “silent killer” due to its lack of obvious symptoms, high blood pressure (or hypertension) is defined by consistent systolic readings over 130 mm Hg and diastolic readings over 80 mm Hg. It is also a significant risk factor for both heart disease and stroke in the United States
There are many lifestyle factors that can help lower blood pressure, and knowing how certain medications affect your body is one of them. If you have high blood pressure and are looking for practical ways to get your readings back into the normal range, start by talking with your healthcare provider about potential medications to avoid.
It can also help to monitor your blood pressure at home several times a day. This practice keeps you aware of blood pressure fluctuations and can reveal how lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, stress and sleep, can be related to its rise.