Women with high blood pressure should use caution with ‘the pill’

Women who have high blood pressure should use caution when taking birth control pills because the estrogen in oral contraceptives puts them at greater risk of developing blood clots and heart problems. High blood pressure affects about 74.5 million people in the United States age 20 and older.

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because most often there are no symptoms. The symptoms that do occur include chest pain, confusion, ear noise or buzzing, irregular heartbeat, nosebleed, tiredness, and vision changes. Complications from high blood pressure include aortic dissection, blood vessel damage, brain damage, congestive heart failure, kidney damage, kidney failure, heart attack, hypertensive heart disease, stroke and vision loss.

There are many different medications that are used to treat high blood pressure. You can lower your risk by making lifestyle changes, including exercising, losing weight and following a healthier diet. You may also be advised to stop taking other medications, such as birth control pills.

Oral contraceptives can increase blood pressure and carry a slight risk of blood clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes as well as other life-threatening problems. Recent studies suggest that some pills are more dangerous than others, such as the country’s most popular birth control pill, Yaz, also known as Yasmin and by the generic ocella. Bayer, the maker of Yaz and Yasmin, currently faces more than 1,100 lawsuits from women who say the pills caused them to suffer from blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, gallbladder damage and other serious health problems.