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If you take medications for chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or depression, it’s important to be mindful of how these lifestyle changes may affect your current medications and vice versa.

Lifestyle change: Healthy eating

Eating healthier can help you manage a number of chronic conditions, including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. That being said, nutrition is not one-size-fits-all. What you eat and how much you eat can have an impact on how well your medication works to treat your current condition.

Diet and your medications

According to MyPlate, a healthy diet is one that includes a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, seafood, eggs, legumes, and low-fat dairy, while avoiding highly processed foods, foods high in saturated fat, or foods high in sodium.

However, consuming some of these recommended foods, such as grapefruit, low-fat dairy, or dark leafy greens, may interfere with the effectiveness of your medications, causing them to not work as well or stay in your system longer. Reach out to your pharmacist to understand if any of your medications have these interactions.

Weight loss and medications

Losing weight by eating healthier or by consuming fewer calories can improve conditions like heart disease and diabetes. It could also have an effect on your medication dosage.

“Most often with weight loss, the dose of a patient’s medication has to be adjusted downward,” said Christina Wilson-Smith, a registered pharmacist with Express Scripts® Pharmacy. “The most common medications that require dosage modification or discontinuation are insulin or oral diabetic medications, blood pressure medications, and cholesterol medications.”

This is even the case if you lose as little as 5 to 10 pounds. If you’re taking medication to treat diabetes or hypertension, your doctor may require you to monitor your blood pressure and glucose levels at home until they stabilize in order to accurately determine your new dose.

Express Scripts provides valuable support, with no cost or obligation. For questions, feel free to email them at [email protected] or call (800) 206-4005 (7 days a week, 8:00AM – 9:00PM EST). They are here to help.

Express Scripts is the country’s largest pharmacy benefit manager and one of the largest pharmacies. The Alliance Health Plan uses Express Scripts for prescription benefits and claims processing. This is a prescription benefit plan provider that makes the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable for our members. Express Scripts handles millions of prescriptions each year through home delivery and retail pharmacies.