Thu, May 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Society urges hypertension patients to take their drugs

DIRE CONSEQUENCES:A man with hypertension who had stopped taking his medication without a doctor’s approval was diagnosed with stage-three kidney disease

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

People who take medication for hypertension should not reduce their dosage without a doctor’s approval, as it could damage some organs, the Taiwan Hypertension Society said yesterday.

A survey conducted by the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) from 2013 to 2015 showed that 94 percent of young people with hypertension do not measure their blood pressure at least once per week, the society said.

The survey also showed that more than half of people with hypertension have reduced their prescribed amount of medication or even stopped taking it, it added.

A separate survey conducted by the society to gauge hypertention awareness among people aged 18 or older showed that about 80 percent did not know that poor control of blood pressure could harm various organs, and that the top three organs they are most afraid of damaging are the brain (36 percent), the heart (28.7 percent) and the eyes (22.9 percent).

The society gave as an example the case of a 59-year-old man surnamed Chang (張), who had hypertension for more than 20 years, but did not measure his blood pressure regularly and only took medicine when he had a headache or other symptoms.

Three years ago, Chang was diagnosed with a stage-three chronic kidney disease, with his kidney function reduced to about 30 percent, the society said, adding that his doctor told Chang that he would need to undergo dialysis for the rest of his life if he continued to neglect his blood pressure, the society said.

Numerous studies have suggested that a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease doubles when their blood pressure increases by 20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) on the systolic pressure reading or 10mmHg on the diastolic pressure reading, National Taiwan University Hospital cardiologist Wang Tsung-tao (王宗道) said.

Poor control of blood pressure could lead to complications, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, vision loss, hearing loss and limb ischemia, he said.

Wang said that he has treated a middle-aged man with hypertension who had fainted during a meeting and was later diagnosed with a ruptured blood vessel in the brain because he had reduced his hypertension medication on his own.

Many patients hold the misconception that long-term use of the medicine would harm the kidneys, but poorly controlled hypertension could damage the kidneys, Wang said, adding that taking medicine according to a doctor’s prescription, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising and measuring blood pressure regularly are the best ways to control blood pressure.

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