According to the CDC, over 30% of Americans have Hypertension. If you fall into this group, then your doctor may very well be overmedicating you. The results can be fatigue, muscle weakness and injury-causing falls. People being treated with antihypertensive drugs tend to rate themselves as being in poorer physical and mental health than people with similar blood pressure measurements who don't take medications. Plus, there is always a risk of a drug interaction between prescriptions or with an over-the-counter medication or even with some foods. If you don't have to take drugs, you don't want to.
So why do doctors overmedicate patients?
- Doctors are medicating people with mild hypertension but no real proof that it's effective.If your average systolic pressure is over 140 systolic, your doctor probably correctly diagnosed you with hypertension and then with good intensions, automatically filled out a prescription slip for blood pressure lowering drugs. However, 3 of 5 people that are diagnosed with hypertension, actually only have mild hypertension (average systolic pressure of 140-160) and don't necessarily need to take drugs. According to a new video commentary from Dr Stephen Martin in the British Medical Journal, while drug treatment for patients with acute and severe hypertension will improve overall health, for patients with only mild hypertension there is no actual evidence for a positive impact alongside evidence that it may actually worsen overall health.[divider line_type="No Line" custom_height="20"]
- The best way to accurately check your real blood pressure is at the doctor's office right? Wrong.Patients with high blood pressure (BP) are asked to track their BP on a regular basis. If you are not measuring your BP regularly, you might be misleading your doctor. If you only measure your BP at your doctor's office and not at home, there is a 20% chance that you will have "White Coat Syndrome" - a much higher reading at the doctor's office than you really have. People with "White Coat Syndrome" tend to stress around doctors and nurses which leads to a major increase in their BP. This means you might be medicated for a state of hypertension you are not really at. In the worst case, you could even be diagnosed and medicated for high blood pressure when there is nothing abnormal about your BP at all outside of the doctor's office.[divider line_type="No Line" custom_height="20"]
- It might actually be partly your fault. You could be misleading your doctor!If you are a responsible patient, you're probably already tracking your BP at home. But if you don't track it on a regular basis, you might be misleading your doctor. People that don't have a daily or a weekly tracking routine usually check their BP at home only when feel sick or that something wrong. This means you are likely measuring your BP when it is higher than normal. The average BP reading your doctor eventually looks at, could therefore be significantly higher than your BP really is. Your doctor then prescribed unnecessary medication that you definitely don't want in your life.
So what can you do to make sure it won't happen to you?Well, it's a lot easier than you think. Track your BP at home (iOS, Android) on a regular basis. That's the secret. Creating a daily or weekly routine is super easy today using a mobile app. If you track your BP with an App, your doctor will know your real average BP and the chances he/she will overmedicate you drop dramatically. Help your doctor help you, it's easy - Start monitoring your blood pressure now (iOS, Android)!
Hello Heart does not provide medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor about your individual care.
1. Gazit T, Gutman M, Beatty AL. Assessment of Hypertension Control Among Adults Participating in a Mobile Technology Blood Pressure Self-management Program. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(10):e2127008, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.27008. Accessed October 19, 2022. (Some study authors are employed by Hello Heart. Because of the observational nature of the study, causal conclusions cannot be made. See additional important study limitations in the publication. This study showed that 108 participants with baseline blood pressure over 140/90 who had been enrolled in the program for 3 years and had application activity during weeks 148-163 were able to reduce their blood pressure by 21 mmHg using the Hello Heart program.) (2) Livongo Health, Inc. Form S-1 Registration Statement. https:/www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1639225/000119312519185159/d731249ds1.htm. Published June 28, 2019. Accessed October 19, 2022. (In a pilot study that lasted six weeks, individuals starting with a blood pressure of greater than 140/90 mmHg, on average, had a 10 mmHG reduction.) NOTE: This comparison is not based on a head-to-head study, and the difference in results may be due in part to different study protocols.
2. Validation Institute. 2021 Validation Report (Valid Through October 2022). https://validationinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Hello_Heart-Savings-2021- Final.pdf. Published October 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. (This analysis was commissioned by Hello Heart, which provided a summary report of self-fundedemployer client medical claims data for 203 Hello Heart users and 200 non-users from 2017-2020. Findings have not been subjected to peer review.)