A frequent use of pain-relief medications such as ibuprofen (as found in Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) may result in an increased-risk of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, in women, a recent study shows.
The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may block the production of prostaglandins, which are known to dilate blood vessels. When fewer prostaglandins are present, blood vessels may narrow, which could lead to hypertension.
The study followed more than 80,000 women between the ages of 31 and 50 years who were initially hypertension-free. Frequency of use (in days per month) of aspirin, NSAIDs, and acetaminophen was recorded and compared with the number of cases of physician-diagnosed hypertension two years later. Of women who used NSAIDs 22 days or more per month, the risk of high-blood pressure increased some 86 percent.
Additionally, women who used acetaminophen 22 days or more per month were almost twice as likely to have high-blood pressure as those who did not.
When researchers removed other factors that could lead to hypertension, such as obesity, from the equation, the increased-risk remained. The study did note the possibility that an unidentified factor may be contributing to the risk, therefore a cause and effect relationship could not be determined.
Nonetheless, it was concluded that a large portion of U.S. hypertension cases may be the result of over-using these pain medications.
While those who frequently used NSAIDS or acetaminophen did show an increased risk of hypertension, there was no increased-risk associated with aspirin users.
Archives of Internal Medicine. October 28, 2002;162:2204-2208
Not only may these over-the-counter drugs increase your blood pressure, but they can also increase your risk of heart and kidney failure.
As I said previously, it is important to recognize here that even though aspirin, Advil and Motrin-type drugs are available without a prescription, they may cause serious side effects. It is possible that the widespread use of these drugs is contributing to the "epidemic" of heart failure.
NSAIDs also contribute to kidney problems. About 15 percent of the people on dialysis today are there as a result of the damage that Tylenol and/or aspirin did to their kidneys.
Pain is a useful guide that is given to us as feedback so that we can take action to correct the problem causing the pain, before it gives us further problems.
To mask the pain with these drugs makes about as much sense as driving down the road and having the oil light turn on on your dashboard and choosing to put some duct tape over the dashboard so the annoying red light is removed.
The light, like the pain, is there for a reason--to warn you of the damage that is imminent unless you take some immediate action.
There is no "quick fix" to treating pain, but rather it is a lifestyle change that will be well worth the effort. You can find all the details of my full program that will set you free from the "pill-taking" life and give you ultimate control of your health in my book, Total Health Program.
Those of you with chronic arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may also want to check out my rheumatoid arthritis protocol.