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Many older adults not taking blood pressure drugs as prescribed

Written by Diane Archer

A new CDC report reveals that some seven out of ten older adults have high blood pressure. And, half of them do not have their blood pressure under control. Five million older adults are not complying with their Medicare Part D blood pressure prescriptions. The risks of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and early death are serious.

Taking blood pressure drugs as directed is important to protect the heart, brain and kidneys. But, according to the CDC, one in four older adults with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage are not doing so. Some are skipping doses. Others are not taking them at all. Underuse of drugs is associated with higher risk of death and health complications.

There are many reasons people do not comply with their blood pressure treatment regimens, including high cost, failure to fill prescriptions, assumption that they don’t need to because they don’t experience symptoms, side effects, forgetfulness and complexity.

The CDC found that four in ten older Native Americans did not take blood pressure drugs as prescribed, and almost as many African Americans (35 percent) and Hispanics (34 percent).

The CDC is encouraging people to use blood pressure monitors at home to track their blood pressure. (Just Care offers these ten tips for taking your blood pressure at home.) The CDC also suggests people take their medications while doing other routine activities such as brushing their teeth, as a way to better ensure medication compliance. Weekly pill boxes and apps also can be used as reminders of when to take medicine.

Here’s more from Just Care:

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1 Comment

  • Might make sense to make the medications more user friendly. Many seniors are on multiple medications that need to be taken under very specific conditions. That is confusing for the best of us, and for those who are ill, it becomes daunting.
    Add in the cost of the drugs and Medicare’s “donut hole,” and it is a recipe for failure.
    How about some solutions?

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