Medical Q&As

High blood pressure - too many tablets?

I am 39 years old and I donít smoke. I have high blood pressure but it is now well controlled with blood pressure tablets. My weight is average for my height and age and I exercise regularly. My cholesterol is slightly elevated and my GP reckons I should now start taking aspirin tablets for the blood pressure and a cholesterol-lowering drug. Is this a bit excessive having to take another two drugs daily?

I would like to make a small correction to your question by stating that the aspirin is not being recommended for your blood pressure but rather it is being suggested as a further preventive measure against heart attack. Aspirin reduces the stickiness of platelets, which are an important element in the clotting process. If the platelets become less sticky then the tendency for blood clots to form is reduced. Clot formation is a crucial stage in the evolution of a heart attack. The dose of aspirin necessary to achieve this effect is 75 mgs, which is considerably less than the dose of aspirin contained in OTC (over the counter) headache preparations. Your doctor is simply attempting to reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack by recommending these drugs. Most people would probably think nothing of taking these drugs in the aftermath of having a heart attack yet many of us are reluctant to take medication in order to stave off that possibility. Perhaps this attitude stems from the fact that we tend to associate the taking of medication with being sick. The progressive notion of taking medication in order to stay well has not sunken through to most people. Aspirin, blood pressure lowering drugs and statins, which are cholesterol-lowering drugs, are widely used and are generally acknowledged as being safe in combination. Discuss your concerns with your doctor because it is important that you feel comfortable with his recommendations since ultimately you are the one that will be swallowing the pills.