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If you’re a senior on a specific type of high blood pressure drug, check your skin carefully

According to a new study just published in the CMAJ, seniors taking that type of high blood pressure (HBP) drug known as a thiazide diuretic (the most common generic name for such a pills is, unsurprisingly, hydrochlorothiazide) are at significantly higher risk of all types of skin cancer, including most notoriously, melanomas, which are the most common deadly form of skin cancer.

If you’re taking one of the other types of HBP drugs, the good news is that this study found no added skin cancer risk from those other meds.

The reason for this link is thought to be photosensitivity, which in plainer English means that the meds make your skin more sensitive to sunlight exposure.

Bottom line: If, like me, you’re on a thiazide diuretic, 1) check your skin often for sings of skin cancer, and 2) avoid excess sun exposure as much as possible (alas, I love the sun so I don’t do this very well), especially if you’re at higher risk of skin cancer to begin with.