Pills can be such a pain!

Does having to remember to take your medication every day feel like, well, a pill? If you have high blood pressure, chances are you felt fine before you knew you had it - especially if you were diagnosed at an early stage. But what's ironic about high blood pressure is that sometimes the side effects from the medication can make you feel worse than the condition itself. That being the case, you may wonder why you had to go on medication in the first place! And side effects are certainly no incentive to taking your medication as prescribed.

So what is a good incentive to take your medication regularly?

Consider this: even though you can't feel high blood pressure at work, this "silent killer" can damage your heart, arteries, eyes, kidneys, and other body parts as well as increase your risk of stroke and other serious conditions. Imagine any pounding force on delicate tissues like those in the eye - eventually there have to be serious consequences, which, in this case, can be eye damage leading to blindness. It's like not maintaining your car: everything may seem fine until something breaks or falls off while you're driving at 100 km/h. High blood pressure has such serious consequences, yet it is so easy to treat - medications are extremely effective in reducing these risks.

And how important is it to take your blood pressure medication exactly as prescribed - including no skipped doses? Well, in general, as many as 30% of emergency room visits and repeat trips to the doctor are blamed on people's failures to take their medication as prescribed.

So think about it. While remembering to take your medication as prescribed may feel like a pain, the consequences of not doing so can often be even more of a pain! And don't suffer through side effects. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether the effects you're feeling today will go away in time or if there is an alternative medication available that may be just as effective and easier to tolerate.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Remember-Good-Health

Top 4 strategies for sticking with your medication

Now that you know the difference taking your medication as prescribed can make to how you feel, here are our top 4 strategies for staying on track.

Strategy No. 1: Sign up for a medication reminder program. Imagine if you had a personal assistant who could always remind you when to take your medication. While you may think that level of service is the exclusive domain of celebrities, executives and people who can afford to pay someone to run after them with a pill bottle, anyone can sign up for a compliance program. Some will send you email reminders directly to your inbox, send text messages to your cell phone, or even call you to let you know when it's time to take your medication or refill your prescription. Ask at your pharmacy to see if they offer this service.

While such programs don't guarantee you'll stick to your medication regimen (you are, after all, the only one who can do so), they can be an effective reminder. For example, in one study that used daily email reminders, an average of 20% of participants missed a dose of the birth control pill, compared to the 20% to 50% of users who typically miss a pill on occasion.

Strategy No. 2: Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Your doctor or pharmacist can be a wealth of information and helpful advice when it comes to taking your medication properly. They can also recommend a medication that best fits your needs and lifestyle to increase the chance that you'll take it as prescribed. For example, depending on your needs and the medication you are on, they may recommend:

  • special packaging - Some medications are available in blister packs that keep each dose separate. If you have trouble remembering whether or not you've already taken your medication, these may make it easier to keep track.
  • ways to simplify your medication regimen - Taking pills more than once a day? You may be able to switch to a medication that's taken only once daily. Taking more than one pill to treat your high blood pressure? Some medications are available in combination pills, so you only have to take one pill instead of two.
  • some pharmacies give out special stickers that you can put on your medication bottles to keep track of each one.

Strategy No. 3: Make medication your routine. Learning to associate medications with your existing routine can help form a mental link between certain activities and remembering to take your pills. For example, if your medication can be taken with food, try taking it with the same meal every day. Eventually, when you think "breakfast," you'll automatically think "medication." If you need to take your medication before bed, taking it right after brushing your teeth every night will also form a mental connection.

Strategy No. 4: Plan ahead. Whether it's planning a medication strategy for your vacation or making sure you have enough of a supply on hand when your existing medication runs out, planning ahead is an important part of taking your medication properly. If you're going away, make sure to keep your medication in a carry-on bag in case your luggage gets lost. Since the days can all seem to blend together when you're away, consider bringing a calendar with your medications noted for each day, so you can cross them off after you've taken them.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Remember-Good-Health