St Jude volunteer doctor encourages St. Lucians to stick to their prescriptions for high blood pressure

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St Jude volunteer doctor encourages St. Lucians to stick to their prescriptions for high blood pressure
*Photo credit: kalispellregional.org
*Photo credit: kalispellregional.org
*Photo credit: kalispellregional.org

PRESS RELEASE – St Lucians are being encouraged to stick to their prescribed medication when treating high blood pressure. The advice is coming from Dr. Lisa Fleischer – a Family Practice doctor from the United States.

Dr. Fleischer has been a volunteer serving at St Jude Hospital in Vieux Fort over the last fifteen years.

According to Dr. Fleischer, patients sometimes do not take their High Blood Pressure medications on the day that they see the doctor. This may be because they have run out of medication or because they believe that they shouldn’t take them if they are seeing the doctor or having lab tests.

“This is a problem because the doctor won’t know if the medication is effective. Often the doctor then adds more drugs on the false assumption that the previous medications were not working,” Dr. Fleischer said.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the leading causes of death and disability in St Lucia. Most people do not feel sick from High Blood Pressure; but damage is occurring. Hypertension damages blood vessels particularly in sensitive organs like the kidneys, brain and eyes.

The heart also has to work overly hard under elevated pressure and fails prematurely. The ultimate result is diseases like congestive heart failure, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and even death.

Fortunately, there is effective treatment for high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes are the first step and include: daily exercise (such as a 30 minute walk), a diet low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables, salt restriction ( 140/90. There are many options, but none of them cure the disease. They all must be taken daily (sometimes multiple times per day).

To avoid inaccurate blood pressure results, Dr. Fleischer recommends that patients refill their medication one week before it is finished. Blood pressure medication can be taken with water prior to the appointment even if fasting lab work is expected. Blood pressure monitoring at home or through a pharmacy or Health Center can be helpful for routine checks and when hypertension is not well controlled.

Successful treatment of high blood pressure has been proven to extend life and improve health.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with the doctor. I think the management of medication need to be taken seriously. But, I am concerned about patients who follow the doctors’ instructions to the letter. A case in point is an elderly woman who was prescribed the same medication twice by the health centre and her private doctor and was taking them both. Despite complaining about unpleasant side effects of the medication, neither the health centre that she attended regularly nor her doctor who saw her frequently looked at what medication she was taking daily.

    So, it’s not just the taking of medication but ensuring that there is no duplication of medication. As good practice, patients medication should be reviewed often especially as health care management in St Lucia is a fragmented, ill-fitting patchwork. Some patients need more careful supervision so that they understand what is asked of them.

    Also, patients should be encouraged to return unused medication to the pharmacy for efficient disposal.

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  2. A very nice piece of article. It needs to be republished roughly every quarter, my opinion, as many lives are lost at an early age because of not realizing the need to take their medicine as listed. This piece should serve as a reminder. Well done.

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