Why Your Doctor’s Choice of Blood Pressure Medication Could Put You at Risk
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is an ongoing medical problem affecting nearly half of adults in the United States. Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease, which is currently the number one cause of death among Americans. A variety of medications are used to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension; however, a recent study revealed that two blood pressure medications may actually increase mortality risk.
Blood pressure refers to the pressure of the blood in the circulatory system, meaning the force of the blood as it presses against the walls of the arteries. There are two primary components of a blood pressure measurement: systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure measures the force of blood during heartbeats, and diastolic blood pressure is the force of blood while the heart is resting.
According to guidelines issued last year by the American Heart Association, a patient has high blood pressure if he or she has a systolic blood pressure reading of 130 mmHg or higher, and a diastolic blood pressure reading of 80 mmHg or higher. When a person is diagnosed with hypertension, their doctor should work with them to lower their blood pressure. This may involve prescribing medication and discussing the implementation of lifestyle changes.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor is responsible for choosing the best medication for you. There are a vast array of medications available to treat hypertension, including ace inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, thiazide diuretics, calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers, and alpha-2 agonists.
Recent research conducted at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, found that two types of medications–alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists–actually increased patients’ risk of death. So, how do they know? Prior research established a correlation between higher variability in blood pressure and increased chance of dying. As such, researchers at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute sought to determine the affect of various blood pressure medications on blood pressure variations between patient visits.
Researchers evaluated over 10,500 adults with hypertension, measuring their blood pressure a minimum of seven times between January of 2007 and December of 2011. Each patient’s blood pressure medication was documented to identify a potential connection between the type of medication and the variability in the patient’s blood pressure levels between tests. Ultimately, the study found that patients taking alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists had higher variability in blood pressure, which could increase their risk of death.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Brian Clements, said the findings should inform doctors’ selections when determining the appropriate medication for patients with hypertension. He and his fellow researchers warned doctors to explore other medication options and to avoid alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists when treating high blood pressure. The critical message here is that medical professionals must decide on the appropriate course of treatment for their patients with hypertension. It is your doctor’s responsibility to avoid prescribing medicine that may be detrimental to your overall health.
Contact New Jersey Attorneys for Blood Pressure Malpractice
If you or a loved one suffered injury or wrongful death because a doctor failed to diagnose or manage high blood pressure, it is important to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney about your legal options. Mismanagement of hypertension or errors with blood pressure medication may be grounds for a lawsuit. At Fronzuto Law Group, our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers will thoroughly evaluate your potential claim to identify negligence that may warrant legal action. If you may be entitled to pursue damages, we will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve. The consultation is free and so are our services until we achieve you a recovery. Simply call 973-435-4551 today or contact us online to arrange a free consultation about your case.