The pain reliever in question is the popular paracetamol, particularly its soluble version. Sold in most pharmacies and supermarkets, paracetamol is widely used to target different pains and aches. Speaking on ITV, Dr Chris broke down a recent European Heart Journal study which uncovered the chilling link between medicine and heart disease.
Dr Chris said: “This is a very important story because paracetamol is a very popular and safe painkiller.
“The research was done on soluble or effervescent paracetamol – fizzy paracetamol.”
It is not the only form of pain medicine as there are also tablets, capsules and syrups.
However, the new research only distinguishes the fizzy version that you dip in water to dissolve.
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The TV doctor continued, “Patients with arthritis take these drugs two or three times a day for months and months and years and years.
“Researchers have looked [almost] 300,000 adult Britons and found that patients taking paracetamol fizz had an increased risk of high blood pressure.
“Which then puts them at a higher risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and even death.”
The reason the otherwise “safe” pain reliever can increase high blood pressure is its salt content.
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Dr Chris said: “If you have high blood pressure, look at the labels of the paracetamol tablets you take or the effervescent tablets you take.
“Because these tablets contain sodium chloride which makes the tablets more soluble in water.”
To better understand the numbers, a 0.5 gram tablet of soluble paracetamol may contain approximately 0.39 to 0.44 grams of sodium.
Based on the daily dose of two fizzy tablets every six hours, your total sodium intake could exceed three grams.
However, the NHS explains that adults should not consume more than 2.4 grams of sodium per day.
Worse still, this new research has found that even people without hypertension are at risk.
Dr Chris noted: “And these patients were [also] to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and so on.
“Now what bothers me here is if you have high blood pressure you might not know it because you don’t have any symptoms.”
The condition is often referred to as “silent”, due to this lack of symptoms.
The doctor added: ‘It is estimated that there are around four million people in the UK with undiagnosed blood pressure because you have no problem with it.
“If you’re 50 and over, you should know your blood pressure, know your numbers.”
Luckily, you may not have to worry too much about paracetamol as long as you don’t take it often.
According to the British Heart Foundation, if you only take paracetamol with sodium occasionally, these results “shouldn’t worry you unnecessarily”.