Cold and hypertension are not very compatible with each other, at least as far as the treatments are concerned. Let’s find out what would be safe cold remedies for people with high blood pressure, from the following article.
Although not life-threatening, catching a cold is not a very pleasant experience! While the affliction is not serious enough to get you hospitalized, symptoms like a runny nose, frequent sneezing, sore throat, headaches, mild fever, random muscle aches all over the body, etc., don’t allow you to concentrate on anything else but these. The most distressing part of catching a cold, however, is not the symptoms themselves – well, they are, but there’s something else that outstrips the symptoms on the “Most Distressing Things About a Cold” countdown! It is the attitude of people around you, especially those at the workplace (read boss), who dismiss your, “I am down with a bad cold” reasons for taking a leave. To add insult to injury, they often garnish such a dismissal with a snide remark, “It’s just a cold.” The unspoken part, “…shake it off and get back to work!”, remains conspicuously tacit!
Well, well, the real weight of common cold and flu is understood by only those who have it, specifically during those 5 – 7 days, when they are under the malicious grip of the Rhinovirus! Oh, pardon me – I always get sentimentally carried away on the subject of cold. You see, I am a frequent victim myself, and by now, am a veteran on all the aforementioned cold related experiences (medical as well as social)! Coming back to the titular subject of cold remedies for people with high blood pressure, let’s check some related aspects.
Cold Treatment Medication and Hypertension Interaction
There are two basic concerns that arise when talking about over-the-counter cold treatment medications and their safety with reference to people with high blood pressure issues. The first and chief among these is regarding the administration of decongestants to people with high blood pressure, while the second concern is that of drug interactions. As we all know by now, no medication or vaccine has been developed till date which can totally cure or eradicate the viral infection from its roots. The remedies and medicines that we usually resort to during an episode of common cold and flu only serve to provide symptomatic relief. Ultimately, be it cold or influenza, it is up to the immune system to fight off the infection and return the body to a healthy state. Additional zinc and vitamin supplements coupled with nutritious food and oodles of rest are just ways to boost the immune system, so that it does its work more effectively.
Concern Over Decongestants
Coming back to medications for symptomatic treatment of cold, decongestants, cough syrups, analgesics (pain killers), antipyretics (for reducing fever), and occasionally, anti-allergic medications, are some of the most common drugs that are administered to provide relief from symptoms like nasal congestion, cough, headache and body pain, fever, runny nose, etc. Now, decongestants act by narrowing nasal blood vessels to provide relief from that stuffy nose feeling, which is caused by vascular swelling inside the nasal cavity (especially at the back, near the bridge of the nose). Since high blood pressure is amplified by narrowing of blood vessels, causing even more vascular pressure to build up due to the amount of blood flow remaining the same, but the pathway becoming narrower, the decongestant action does cause some concern for people with high blood pressure.
Although they are meant to narrow nasal blood vessels only, being drugs that remain in the blood stream for some time, decongestants can interfere with the other vascular areas of the body. People with very high blood pressure or a history of chronic hypertension, should therefore avoid taking decongestants or all-in-one cold medicines that contain decongestants. However, people with slightly high blood pressure or those who are able to manage their hypertension by following professional medical guidelines, can take decongestants as long as the dosage is kept within prescribed limits.
Concern Over Drug Interactions
The second concern regarding cold remedies for people with high blood pressure is that of the possibility of adverse drug interaction. Certain cold medications such as cough syrups and anti allergics contain narcotic chemicals that affect the nervous system to inhibit certain biological signals that trigger a lot of allergy-like symptoms of cold, such as runny nose, incessant sneezing, etc. These medicines may interfere with the functions of medicines taken for treating hypertension. This can result in either or both categories of drugs not having their intended effects, or the combination can culminate into some adverse, undesirable side effect.
Therefore, people who suffer from high blood pressure conditions should display a significant amount of caution when it comes to taking medicines for any other affliction, including something as routine as a common cold or a seasonal flu. It is always better to resort to healthy eating, lots of rest and natural or home remedies for cold such as inhaling eucalyptus oil spiked steam, rubbing mint oil over the bridge of the nose to relieve stuffiness, drinking herbal tea, etc. However, make sure you consult your physician before undertaking to follow any of these cold relief measures, as hypertension issues put you on a delicate physiological balance. Even the slightest indiscretion with regards to food or medications can tip this balance to your detriment.