Hypertension: How Ice Cream Makes Matters Worse
Indulgences That Hypertensives Have To Say Goodbye To
They’ve all heard it more than they would care to count: bad habits have serious consequences. They know it’s true and they know they’re guilty of at least one, yet most of them would rather look to their good behavior for a healthier life: like walking a couple of meters each day (to the nearest McDonald’s) or eating that salad (last month, as a side to that burger).
They convince themselves that “healthy” things cancel out their indulgences, but they don’t. The opposite is actually quite true—and quite alarming— for their little “treats” to themselves and hypertension medicine. As much as they would like to believe that they’re on the safe side for balancing their lifestyle between their prescription medicine and indulgences, their actions (despite how insignificant they think they are) put them at risk for rendering their medicine less effective or worse, useless.
It’s not just about healthier lungs; hypertensives are encouraged to stop smoking because the chemicals from tobacco infulence the effectiveness of the medicine they take.
Nicotine is primarily responsible for increases in their blood pressure and this reaction may completely nullify the effect of antihypertensive medications like beta-blockers (Omvik, 1996). That metoprolol or carvedilol they’re taking? Entirely useless if they continue to smoke cigarettes.
And if they’re still tempted to light up another stick, another thing they should think about is that tobacco smoke also increases the production of liver enzymes that break down most of the substances in the body, including medicine. This means that when they smoke, they lose the potency of their medication (Zevin and Benowitz, 1999).
Like cigarettes, alcohol also invokes overproduction of liver enzymes that break down drugs in circulation. This causes the duration of the medicine’s effect to be shorter than usual so it’s not surprising when hypertensive binge drinkers experience increases in blood pressure. They’re not only spending money on beer, but they’re also throwing away what they spend on hypertension medicine.
Unfortunately, frequent drinkers aren’t the only ones at risk. Casual drinking can also lead to drug overdosing. Alcohol, even in small amounts, may hinder the metabolism of medicine and may elevate side effects (National Institute of Health, 2014). This puts hypertensives at risk for increased incidences of excessively low blood pressure, which often leads to fainting. What this spells out for them is that if they find themselves passed out after a bottle of beer, it may not be because of low alcohol tolerance.
Yes, you read that right: ice cream. Dairy products like ice cream contain high amounts of calcium. Even at normal doses, calcium may interfere with a specific class of antihypertensive medicine called calcium channel blockers. Left unregulated, the amount of calcium taken could reduce the effectiveness of hypertensive medicine.
Taking amlodipine, felodipine, and diltiazem may mean that they’d have to lay off the desserts more often. Calcium intake could lead to sustained hypertension and, since they have high amounts of sugar too, could also worsen other conditions like diabetes (Drugs.com, 2015).