High Blood Pressure
Diligent Monitoring to Prevent Treatment-Related Adverse Events
Those who take prescription antihypertensive medications must remain aware of the potential for these drugs to cause kidney dysfunction and electrolyte abnormalities in some people. Also, blood pressure that is too low can cause dizziness, especially upon standing, which may result in fainting and injurious falls. At-home blood pressure monitoring is critical, and should be performed twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.
In order to mitigate the chances of medication-related complications, particularly those related to kidney function, blood tests should be performed regularly to monitor treatment and health status. Changes in medications and medication dosage levels, and changes in overall health status (including urinary and fluid balance symptoms) are indications to repeat testing, bearing in mind that some alterations will manifest rapidly while others may appear gradually. It is important to remember that this applies to all medications, including over-the-counter drugs, not simply to blood pressure medications. For those in stable health, with no change in medication or dosage, testing should be performed every six months at minimum. All changes that could potentially impact kidney function should be closely followed using the indicated laboratory tests.
Important tests for people undertaking strategies to lower blood pressure include:
- Chemistry panel and complete blood count (CBC)
- Orthostatic hypotension evaluation (clinical test)