Hello. This is Hypertension Prevention Tuesdays! Today, we’ll talk about Allegra and blood pressure.
What is Allegra?
Allegra is an antihistamine that is popular for use with seasonal allergies. The antihistamine works against the naturally occurring histamine response in your body when you are exposed something your body perceives as an allergen. Allegra appears to have a good response toward preventing sneezing, runny nose, itching and watery eyes that are the hallmarks of seasonal allergies.
As with any other medication, Allegra may also be used by your physician in an off-label capacity. In other words, your doctor may determine that using this particular anti-histamine may help another condition from which you currently suffer. The use of the antihistamine Allegra and blood pressure effects can be a concern for people who already have difficulty controlling their blood pressure and suffer from hypertension.
Be Careful With Allegra D
The real issue isn’t with Allegra, but rather Allegra D. Allegra has the medication fexofenadine, which is the antihistamine to decrease the effects of histamine in the body. However, some people also suffer from nasal congestion and want relief from that as well. To address this, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of Allegra, designed a medication that also contained a decongestant. That decongestant is pseudoephedrine.
Pseudoephedrine works by restricting blood vessels, which decreases the amount of congestion in the nose. Unfortunately the medication is not specific to the vessels in the nose alone and restricts many blood vessels. This can lead to one of two problems. In people who have borderline hypertension, it can raise their blood pressure to high levels. With continued use this can cause cardiac and peripheral vascular problems.
In others, the pseudoephedrine will counteract the effects of the antihypertensive medications that the patient is already taking, such as with Aldomet. In these cases patients who are taking this drug to control high blood pressure will be left without control or protection against the dangerous effects. Not only is protection gone but the pseudoephedrine can also cause a rise in blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, or are taking medications to control your blood pressure, you should be concerned about the connection between Allegra and your blood pressure. Long term exposure to high blood pressure, or hypertension, will put extra workload on your kidneys, heart and cardiovascular system. This extra stress and strain can lead to kidney failure, heart disease, congestive heart failure or stroke.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
Doctors can’t always point to a reason behind hypertension, but they do know what factors place a person at higher risk for developing the symptoms. Many of these factors are reversible and when patients take care of the risk factors, the high blood pressure is reduced or controlled more easily with milder medications. These factors include smoking, obesity, poor diet, little rest and lack of exercise.
Before you agree to take Allegra make sure your healthcare provider knows your medical history, the medications you currently take, including vitamins and over the counter medications, and your symptoms. Do not take Allegra if you have had an allergic reaction, have kidney, heart or liver disease, are pregnant or are breast feeding.
While the connection between Allegra D and blood pressure is fairly clear, there are people who don’t have risk factors who can take this medication to help alleviate their seasonal allergy reactions. For them, this medication is a life saver. For others who have heart disease or hypertension, this medication can cause some serious health risks.
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I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools to Improve Heart Health
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.
Remember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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