A new study published in the European Heart Journal warns that skipping blood pressure medication as directed by the physician significantly increases the risk of stroke and even death due to high blood pressure.
The study was conducted by researchers at University of Helsinki in Finland who observed more than 73,000 adults over 30 years of age who had been diagnosed with hypertension between 1995 and 2007. The researchers recorded the number of prescriptions filled for the participants every year in order to keep track whether they were following their medication regimes.
Around 2,100 people died due to stroke while more than 24,500 required hospitalization during the study period. The researchers found that people who did not follow their medication regimes were four times likely to die in their second year and had a three times greater risk of death in the tenth year compared to those who regularly took their medications.
"Non-adherent patients have a greater risk even 10 years before they suffer a stroke. We have also found that there is a dose-response relationship, and the worse someone is at taking their antihypertensive therapy, the greater their risk. These results emphasize the importance of hypertensive [high blood pressure] patients taking their antihypertensive medications correctly in order to minimize their risk of serious complications such as fatal and non-fatal strokes", lead researcher Dr Kimmo Herttua said.