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Common Painkillers May Cause Hypertension in Men — an article on the Smart Living Network
August 18, 2010 at 3:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Common Painkillers May Cause Hypertension in Men

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Every medication that goes into your body has a side effect. That side effect may be impossible to see, but it could be wrecking havoc with internal organs, such as the heart.

An Aspirin a Day

While its true that men who have heart disease are told to take an aspirin a day to prevent heart attack and stroke, its also true that even one aspirin a day can bring with it some additional side effects. And since one aspirin a day does not necessarily work the same for women, the conclusion is that no one should take an aspirin a day without first consulting a physician. Side affects of aspirin and other common painkillers include heartburn, stomach ulcers and reduction in the bloods ability to clot. Recently, however, a new side effect has been added to the list: hypertension. Hypertension is said to occur in men who take aspirin and other common painkillers on a regular basis, or up to six and seven times per week. According to Gary C. Curhan, MD, ScD, and his colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, studies show there is also concern for women who ingest common painkillers on a regular basis.

Hypertension and Painkillers

According to a recent study, middle-aged men who use common painkillers such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are at risk for developing elevated blood pressure. Because common painkillers are used for a variety of ailments, its not uncommon for men to ingest aspirin several times a month or week. When this usage becomes chronic, however, blood pressure can arise. Therefore, it is recommended that men limit their use of such medications unless absolutely necessary, and then only under a physicians care.

How Many Pills is Too Many?

Studies show, on average, that 15 aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen pills per week are too many. When this many pills are ingested weekly, blood pressure can rise to unhealthy levels. Because the damage in this case is to the lining of the blood vessel wall, researchers are unsure whether it can be easily reversed. In addition, these drugs may cause the body to retain salt, another marker that leads to high blood pressure. Aspirins and other common painkillers sold as over-the-counter drugs are the most used painkillers in the world, but that doesnt mean they are without risk. In essence, just because a medicine is sold in an over-the-counter manner, does not mean it is safe to use every day, or to use at all, unless there is a very good reason. Curhans concern is that it may be difficult to bring the blood pressure back down after it rises due to overuse of common painkillers. Thats why we need to focus on prevention, rather than treatment, he explained. Anytime a person takes over-the-counter drugs for a long period of time, he/she should contact a physician so that the underlying cause can be determined. Often when the cause or pain is addressed, the need for excessive amounts of painkillers is reduced. Sources: http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/should-everyone-take-an-aspirin-a-day http://www.healthjockey.com/2007/03/05/abuse-of-common-painkiller-tablets-may-cause-hypertension/ http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20070226/painkiller-risk-high-blood-pressure http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=141

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