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Sandra Fryhofer, MD

Doctor's Orders

By Sandra Fryhofer, MDPosted November 8, 2013 10:00am (EST)
Doctor's Orders

Do you take your medications like you’re supposed to?

If you don’t, you’re not alone. Nearly 75% of Americans admit they don’t always take the medications they’re prescribed—this is not good company.

A new study in the European Heart Journal reinforces the reason you must take your medicine –literally. Skipping your blood pressure meds raises stroke risk.

Researchers studied nearly 27,000 hypertensive people who suffered a stroke, as well as 47,000 with high blood pressure who were stroke-free. They also looked at adherence to medical therapy: whether or not participants took their medications.

People who didn’t take their meds as prescribed had more than 50% increased risk of stroke- and triple the risk of stroke-related death.

About 75 cents of every US healthcare dollar is spent treating chronic diseases like high blood pressure. Not taking your medications as prescribed leads to more hospital admissions. Which carry a major price tag: an estimated 100 billion dollars a year. That’s about 13% of total health expenditures.

Noncompliant patients are not just more likely to be hospitalized. They are more likely to die. And while they live, they have almost twice the annual health costs compared to those who follow doctor’s orders.

So: please be a “good patient”. Take your medications. You will benefit physically- and we'll all benefit fiscally.

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