Terms of Use


David Pogue, R.Ph.,
High Blood Pressure Pharmacist

What makes a specialist pharmacist special?

“You may have high blood pressure
and not know it.”

See your doctor.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is called the "silent killer" because many people don't even know they have this condition. That's why it's important to have your doctor check your blood pressure. And if you have hypertension, your doctor should also check for high cholesterol. People with one of these conditions often have the other.

Learn your numbers.

Blood pressure is measured by two sets of numbers: the systolic (or "top" number) and the diastolic (or "bottom" number). Chances are your doctor will want you to have a systolic measurement under 130 and a diastolic measurement under 80. Depending on your health, your doctor may have lower numbers in mind. If your doctor feels that your blood pressure is too high, you might get a prescription for a blood pressure-lowering medication. Remember, lowering your blood pressure helps reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Take your medication.

There are a wide variety of medications that effectively lower blood pressure. They are generally divided into five classes: diuretics or "water pills," ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-receptor blockers or "ARBs," and beta-blockers. Each class of medication works in a different way, and each has different side effects. Your doctor will determine which medication-or combination of medications-you should take. In addition, your doctor should recheck your blood pressure to make sure your medicine is working.

Do you also have high cholesterol?

Many patients with hypertension also have high cholesterol, which may also increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. So have your doctor perform a blood test to check your cholesterol levels. And keep in mind that some blood pressure and cholesterol medications can cause problems when taken together. If your pharmacy benefit is managed by Medco and you have concerns about side effects or drug interactions, call a Medco cardiovascular pharmacist. We can check the other medications that have been dispensed to you and consult with your doctor, if necessary.

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