High Blood Pressure medications? …A lingering issue

*May 06 - 00:05*An elderly male client went to see his pharmacist after visiting the clinic. He has been diagnosed with high blood pressure and put on medications. He wanted an assurance from his pharmacist that the high blood medications will not impair his sexual performance. It was a lively interaction between the client and the pharmacist.

The pharmacist had remarked that the client should focus more on the management of the his blood pressure for now.

The client shot back saying “what shall it profit a man if he lowers his blood pressure and in the process compromises his ….”. This is a fear of many men who are diagnosed as hypertensive and put on medications to lower blood pressure.

Many people know that high blood pressure contributes to cardiovascular problems and can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Not many are aware that HBP can affect your sex life.

High blood pressure over works your body’s heart and other organs and can damage the lining of blood vessels, causing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

HBP affects blood flow and prevent adequate flow to the pelvis and affect the sex lives of both men and women.

It is only more obvious in men because it can lead to erectile dysfunction. Effective blood flow through the arteries and veins is needed for an erection. Sometimes erectile dysfunction can be the only indicator of underlying heart disease risk (American Heart Association).

So while the sex lives of both men and women can be affected by high blood pressure, men seem to be more vocal about it at least in our environment. It is important to appreciate the harm that untreated high blood pressure can cause.

High blood pressure is a major cause of stroke in all persons. I have seen several persons diagnosed with high blood pressure and put on medications who for some reasons stopped taking these anti hypertensives and ended with stroke.

The sad aspect is that many of such persons they are the sole breadwinners of their families. I am sure that the dear reader will deduce that if high blood pressure can on its own depress sexual performance then high blood pressure medications (anti hypertensives) by lowering blood pressure can improve sexual performance.

What I tell clients is that there has been so much improvement in medical science. The area of hypertension has benefitted a great deal from the introduction of new, safe molecules. Many may have forgotten that in the 90s molecules such as Reserpine and Guanethidine formed important components in the management of high blood pressure.

Some of us for example found Reserpine interesting because the same drug found therapeutic applications in psychiatry. They had unpleasant untoward effects but these were used to manage high blood pressure. But thanks to science there are several molecules to pick from to manage hypertension depending on the individual.

One simply has to go back to his/her physician and another will be selected to suit the individual patient. You need to understand hypertension or high blood pressure is a chronic disease condition which require you to take medications every day of your life until told otherwise by your health care provider.

There was a very sad story of 42 year old man. He had a high flying job, married with two children 15 and 13 years. The job itself was very stressful.

His parents were both hypertensive. There was a health screening organised by the workplace and he was picked as having a very high blood pressure. He was advised to seek medical attention, which he faithfully did. He was diagnosed as hypertensive and put on medications.

He went for two medical reviews as scheduled but disappeared from the radar of his health care provider for several months. He was rushed to a medical facility after having slumped onto his steering wheel of his vehicle while in traffic.

He was later found to have suffered a stroke. He was extremely lucky because apart from difficulty in walking he could still communicate and understand issues. Later on he disclosed that some friends of his scared him about some effects of his anti hypertensive medications.

They literally told him it will make him loose his ‘manhood’. He was subsequently introduced to all kinds of stuff which were supposed to restore his lost potency from the anti hypertensive medications and also ‘control’ his blood pressure.

He ‘trusted’ these friends so much that he did not even bother to be checking his blood pressure. I said he was lucky because unlike many others the only challenge he would contend with for a long time may be the difficulty in walking.

Others with similar backgrounds lost almost everything (speech, memory, walking, etc), they had taken for granted. The advice to all is to stick to your anti hypertensive medications once you are diagnosed as having high blood pressure and put on medications.

If you have a problem with your high blood pressure medications, do not stop taking it on your own. Kindly discuss such problem(s) with your health care provider.

If you decide to try something else, always discuss such matters with your health care provider first. It may interfere with your high pressure medications.

By Edward O. Amporful
The writer is the Chief Pharmacist at the Cocoa Clinic, Accra.

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