General Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Has anyone experienced high blood pressure while taking a cholesterol lowering medication?

Asked by KNOWITALL (15096 points ) March 17th, 2014

Specifically pravastatin. Otherwise I’m in great health but for the last year I’ve been on pravastatin and now blood pressure is a tad high.

I’ve found a few correlations online but wondered if anyone here had experience with this and have suggestions rather than taking another pill (which I hate.)

*Cholesterol runs in the family.

**I know most of you aren’t doctors, so no worries.

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52 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Assuming your weight is within normal range, the usual suggestion is to exercise regularly to get your heart pumping and possibly to meditate to assuage anxiety. Common-sense stuff.

My sister is now walking about 6 miles most days and eating a pure vegan and organic diet. She is showing B/P and cholesterol figures of a twenty-year old. Of course, she claims to love her draconian way of eating and swears she (and her joints) feel better than they have in years. This is not for the faint-at- heart. She is almost 68, 5’9” and 139 lbs.

Buttonstc's avatar

You might be interested in reading this as well as numerous others who now seriously question the efficacy of statins for women, especially those who have NOT had an initial heart attack.

He cites numerous studies here.
.
http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/01/19/why-women-should-stop-their-cholesterol-lowering-medication/
.
...

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ I am a huge fan of Dr. Mark Hyman.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve never had any issues before the pravastatin. I’ll talk to my doc tomorrow morning when he does a re-take, and I’m coming armed with other anti-pravastatin articles and RL posts.

Thanks!

gailcalled's avatar

My family also believes in just saying no to the statins. You’re much better off, if you have the discipline, working on how you eat, exercisea and deal with stress.

I was on Fosamax (a very nasty drug) for several years before I had the wits to stop it. By then the news was out, and my PCP had no objections.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gailcalled I stress when everything is perfect, I’m a worryer, but even when my husband had seizures and mom had cancer my BP did not raise.

*I fought the pravastatin for two years before he made me, it gives me upset stomach, and it’s a horsepill (HUGE.)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Elevated B/P is not a standard side effect for statins, diet including salt and other dietary items would be first thing I would think of for increased B/P.

I’m not a doctor but have a family history of high B/P and lipid issues including triglycerides.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Right, but more cases are being found recently.

I don’t eat salt (added anyway), and limit my sweets, but I could stand to tighten up my diet a little more, I got lazy over the long cold winter. :)

JLeslie's avatar

There have been reports of people noticing higher blood pressure with that drug, but as far as I know it is not an “official side effect.”

Many many things affect blood pressure. If it were me and my blood pressure was running high to the point that it was worrisome I would discontinue the medication (with the help of my doctor, I have no idea if it is bad to stop cold turkey) monitor my blood pressure at different times during the day for a couple weeks, and then start up the cholesterol drug again and see if there is an obvious difference.

I would not accept people or a doctor telling me the two are not connected without testing it myself.

Also, there are some doctors who are against statins for women. This is a minority few, but there is more and more information coming out about it.

creative1's avatar

Are any side effect water retention of your medication, water retention can make your blood preassure go up. You can reduce water retention by less salt intake, a friend is on the dash diet because she has blood pressure issues and it made it so she is able to get off medication.

Incoherency_'s avatar

Have you had your magnesium level checked?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Just got back from the doc, went armed with reports and things, as of today I’m stopping my pravastatin for a few weeks then getting re-checked.

@Incoherency_ Nope, how does magnesium levels affect BP?

@creative1 I’m not a salt eater, I actually don’t eat potato chips or anything that I add salt to, but it is in a lot of things already, of course, so I’m going to limit that even more and get back to a more raw diet (fruits, nuts, veggies.)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Thanks for the feedback, my father had high B/P, to the point he could not anything with any salt added. A salt substitute had to be use for cooking. Salt-free soups and everything else he ate. The doctors figured he had his first mini-stroke when he was in his early fifties.
My maternal grandmother had a stroke at 49.
I’ve been monitoring my B/P since I was 19.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I just printed out a BP lowering diet plan, and I’ll be honest, with the long cold winter, I probably had more salt than I should have in my soups and things. I’m going to work really hard to get it down via diet and exercise, I repeat I detest pills of any kind.

:) Thanks all!

JLeslie's avatar

Let us know how it goes. If you change yur diet it might be harder to determine if the better diet or ceasing the drug changed your BP if it does change, but hopefully the better diet will lower yoru cholesterol too and you can be drug free.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie That is my goal ultimately! I’m also going to go hardcore on the exercise and water, so something better work..lol

JLeslie's avatar

Hopefully you will feel great also! I’m glad your doctor is working with you. My mom takes a drug for her cholesterol that is not a statin. If you become interested in trying it let me know and I can ask her what she takes. Meanwhile, I like your plan for now. But then, it is basically what I suggested. LOL.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, my doctor is pretty cool. I gave him all my research and he just smiled and said, okay, stop taking it and we’ll test in a few weeks. He knows I hate pills and I’m generally healthy. I’ve lived through my hubs seizures and mom’s cancer with no BP problems so it’s hard to think it’s just stress alone.

You’re a smart woman, and you give good advice! :)

Aster's avatar

@KNOWITALL are you sure your blood pressure is high? They lower the values to get more people on meds . The desired diastolic number was 80 for decades so to get more people on meds they reduced the number to 75.
As far as cholesterol goes, I assume you know that we’d die without it.

Aster's avatar

ok; that sounds borderline to me. I bet it goes up at the doctor’s office and probably vacillates during the day which is normal.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Aster The XXX/90 – - it is the ninety the doctor is following because the 90 is constant pressure on all the organs and blood vessels.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Aster Yeah, but it’s weird because I never had any problems before starting this cholesterol med last April.

@Tropical_Willie So any recommendations besides diet and exercise and stopping my cholesterol meds? Doc already approved all that.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Increase your water intake, avoid anything with salt, walking is good and buy a good quality B/P cuff you can use on yourself. Use the B/P cuff twice a day once in the early morning before breakfast and once after dinner. Keep a log of your B/P readings.

JLeslie's avatar

My BP being high was one of the big indicators my thyroid had become hypo.

Honestly, I think the drug has a big chance of being the culprit if you noticed the high pressure after starting the drug.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Aster

You wrote: ” The desired diastolic number was 80 for decades so to get more people on meds they reduced the number to 75. ”

I’m not sure exactly who the nebulous “they” refers to but you’re obviously implying more people on meds=greater profits.

Well, if that’s the motive then “they” are pretty stupid to not have dropped it to 75 decades ago.

In those intervening decades, the original patent rights on so many of those BP drugs have expired. Therefore, there are countless drugs for lowering BP which are now available generically. Do you have any idea how rock-bottom cheap as dirt many many of those generics are nowadays.

The Norvasc I buy generically costs me a walloping $4 dollars per month. WOW- a whole big 4 bucks. They must be really raking in the dough~~

Now, if only “they” had been less stupid and lowered it to 75 years ago before the patents expired…

I’m sure lowering that number had nothing to do with advances in medical research and studies pointing to better health at a lower number~~

…nah…that’s just too ridiculous. You’re right. They just want more people on those meds. After all, every little penny of that measly little 4 bucks REALLY counts, don’tcha know?

If only they had had the foresight to lower that number years ago. Think of all that wasted money. Such a shame.

EDIT:CORRECTION

I forgot. Actually because my Doc writes for 90 at a time, it only costs me $10 for a 3 months supply. So its 2 bucks less. Not exactly breaking the bank.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Buttonstc I pay $35 a month for mine. I may ask for a different one if that’s the case, and if this doesn’t work. I don’t trust Big Pharma either, though.

Buttonstc's avatar

I don’t trust Big Pharma either. But there’s ridiculous and then there’s ridiculouser :)

Which one are you taking?

Also, are you aware that some pharmacies have a list of generics which qualify for the $4per month or $10 per 90 days. Sometimes you can ask for the list at the pharmacy counter. Or you can look on their website and print it out.

Two which I know of are Walmart and Kroger.

You can then take it in to your Doc and request that, if possible, he could pick from that list. Docs have so much to keep track of these days so they’re usually unaware of which meds cost what.

Also, do you have a smartphone? PM me whether its Apple or Android and I can give you a couple of Apps which can lower costs even further (not the $4 ones but others of all types).

Aster's avatar

@Buttonstc go ahead and laugh then watch them lower it to 70. They cannot do this monthly. You have to have the requisite “studies”, board meetings, approvals, Carribean vacations to celebrate the victory, mice to inject, data to collect to uphold your position. Crooks.

Buttonstc's avatar

As a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, Dr. Oz did say something along the lines of 70 would be better yet.

Yeah, but he’s a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. So what does he know anyway, huh ?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Buttonstc My insurance goes strictly through CVS, I’m not allowed to go anywhere else or insurance won’t pay. Although for $4 I could afford the out-of-pocket I guess.

I take pravastatin made in Isreal 80 mg per day. Horsepills I tell ya, I hate ‘em!

Buttonstc's avatar

Oh, I thought you meant BP meds. Pravastatin is for Cholesterol, right?

The Apps to which I referred, when I have used them, the Pharmacy policy is to give you whichever price is lowest. So if its cheaper out of pocket than your insurance copay obviously that’s what you use. But you know upfront before you pay which is lowest. It has saved me hundred of dollars each year. Probably more.

gailcalled's avatar

When I go to the doctor’s, I sit in the waiting room and concentrate on my breathing…from the belly…in and out. I don’t read magazines, I get there a few minutes early so I don’t feel rushed, if the doc. is running late, I don’t get upset. That’s worth about 10 points on both diastolic and systolic numbers.

Worrying has the opposite effect. Ask yourself when fretting changed anything (but your blood pressure and nerve endings). Did it affect the outcome? What’s perfection? A state that can decay in an instant and usually does. Can you settle for almost-perfect?

I, my sister and a few friends share a BP cuff that I bought several years ago at the local pharmacy. You might want to use it as instructed at home for several weeks and see what the average figures are. You have to be able to sit calmly for 10 minutes before using it, however.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled I think the BP cuff at home is a good idea so she can get several readings throughout the day, but the white coat syndrome I don’t think applies because she has been getting her BP taken by doctors her whole life. If now she comes up with a high BP, and it has always been fine at the doctors office, I don’t think we can blame the doctor’s office.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gailcalled After my husband’s many health issues and my mom’s cancer, I never had BP. I really don’t think its stress-related. My diet and exercise is kicked into high gear now and I already feel better from not taking the pravastatin for one day, it messed with my stomach.

gailcalled's avatar

Glad to hear about the positive results of new eating habits, new exercise program and cessation of the prevastastin. My sister’s latest diet suggestion is to keep one’s mouth shut more often. My friend Penny says, “Fudge bad, apple good.”

In the new issue of the AARP magazine, the suggested normal numbers for people over 60 (who are not diabetic) are now higher than they used to be. I will have to dig the magazine out of the trash and will post the new numbers here later. It may not mean much for someone of your age, but the new way of looking at the BP numbers is interesting.

There has been some info circulating that having slightly highter BP numbers than the standard suggestions as one ages is not a bad thing. I cannot provide data now since I cannot remember the sources, but there were a lot of them. That is not to suggest stuffing oneself with big Macs and fries.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gailcalled I love Big Mac’s, it’s really a shame that thing’s that taste good are so horrible for your body.

Yes, I’d be interested in seeing the new numbers if you find that, no big deal though if you can’t.

Another thing that I only told my doc and someone here, is that I threw up in the am on pravastatin a few days a week, like when I brushed my teeth (had to breathe through my nose to settle it.) I had a stomach ulcer in my early 20’s, and I’m not sure if the pravastatin just affects me differently than other people or what but this morning I had no problems at all, it was really nice.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Can I ask how high your cholesterol numbers were that they put you on the medication?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I believe it was around 223.

gailcalled's avatar

As promised, the new BP guidelines for people over 60. Not every one agrees, however.

AARP Bulletin; March 2014; p.18

Old: 140/90; New 150/90

People w. diabetes or kidney disease; Old 130/80; New 140/90

Sorry I can’t find a link for the article. Gist is that some of the panel members dissented on the majority view.You need to factor in your general health, meds, and willingness to try eating better and exercising more. Personally, I would have to have numbers higher than 150/90 to even consider BP meds.

Here’s the original article about the 5 out of 17 panel members who disagreed – from the Jan. issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1813288 It’s heavy reading.

(Add “s” without an apostrophe to make any noun plural, please.)

KNOWITALL's avatar

Update, I weighed this morning and since I stopped taking the medication on Tuesday, I’ve lost…wait for it….six and half pounds! I think the meds are messing with my body or causing me to retain water, so hopefully stopping them will fix me. :)

JLeslie's avatar

Wow. Something was going.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I know, it’s crazy, I have been thirsty and had a little loose stool in the last few weeks (gross sorry), but I think the meds drained me even though I kept drinking water.

While this sodium retention takes place, the persistent dehydration will lead the body to gradually ‘close’ some of the capillary beds. This leads to increased pressure places on arteries and a rise in blood pressure.

http://www.healthcentral.com/high-blood-pressure/c/42538/144397/blood/

JLeslie's avatar

There is some evidence that statins can cause increased sugar levels and diabetes in some people. Feeling thirsty is a sign of diabetes. I would tell you to get checked next time at the doctor, but since I like your doctor, :), I assume he checked it already. Plus, now you are off the meds anyway. This was one of the reasons some doctors are now saying statins are being given out too readily to women. Women seem to be more vulnerable to the diabetic risk. But, again, the doctors who don’t like statins for women are in the minority.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I just had my blood work done Tuesday, too, so I’ll know soon. I messaged my doc this morning about the weight loss, as ‘weight gain’ is a side-effect, too, and it says to stop taking the medicine immediately, I thought I was just chubby from the long winter..lol

JLeslie's avatar

All very interesting.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Just remember don’t be alarmed if there is any negative result on your bloodwork. You’ll have to retest while off the meds to confirm it persists. I think you should test again anyway in a month or two just to see if anything changes a lot, even if it is within normal ranges. Did you fast before the bloodwork?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Yes I did fast. I’ll try to stay calm, thanks!!

KNOWITALL's avatar

Just an update, blood work came back perfect. Re-testing bp this week or next.

JLeslie's avatar

Good news! Thanks for letting us know.

I guess the one thing you have to watch for in terms of bloodwork is the cholesterol creeping back up now that you discontinued the meds.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, but I was on 80mg a day, surely there’s something we can do that’s a little less hard on my bp. Plus with this new diet, I think I can conquer it without meds…fingers crossed!

JLeslie's avatar

I think you can too. :)

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