Do I really need those blood pressure pills?

Dalrymple explains that drugs used to reduce blood pressure

have to be taken regularly and often for the rest of a person’s life. Their purpose is to reduce the statistical risk of heart attack or stroke. They can have side-effects.

He points out that at least half of people prescribed antihypertensive drugs have stopped taking them by the end of the year.

Most people who take them will not benefit from them, though when someone does benefit—by not having the heart attack or stroke he would otherwise have had—it is a very great benefit indeed.

The question of whether it is worthwhile for someone to take antihypertensives

cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. It depends on the size of the risk and the values of the person taking them. Some people prefer to take their chances than take the pills; others take any number of pills all their lives for a minimal reduction of risk.

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