Friday, October 04, 2013

When and how to get off blood pressure drugs....

Today's Post:  Friday, 10-04-2013

Are you aware that most people who take blood pressure drugs now likely get few benefits that they need to take the drugs to get?

Are you aware that suddenly stopping blood pressure drugs cold turkey is often deadly dangerous and even a bit hard to do with beta blockers?

1.  Yes.  It is comforting to you and your doctor to lower your blood pressure if it is 140 over 90 or more. 

It may even be protective to do that at that level or even for blood pressures much over 120 over 80 BUT that is ONLY if you use the methods that do so without drugs.

This is true for all blood pressures below 160 over 100.

a)  One study found that lowering pressures above 160 over 100 with drugs cut death rates significantly while lowering high blood pressures much below that with drugs did not.

b)  Recently, a group called Cochrane did research that found that for people with blood pressures below 160 over 100 people doing regular and vigorous exercises even if in brief sessions most days of every week had significantly lower numbers of heart attacks and strokes and deaths.  But for those who did so, taking blood pressure drugs too got ZERO added protection.

c)  Blood pressure drugs are expensive, most have side effects that dramatically reduce quality of life, and some have damaging side effects that harm your health.  Worse, some have death rates!

d)  The data show for people who have blood pressures below 160 over 100 all those costs and side effects do little good.  And, for those who exercise vigorously they add zero added protection.

e)  There ARE other ways to add to your protection from strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, arrhythmias and death. 

If your blood pressure is much over 120 over 80 or you are over 40, it will protect you enormously to do them all. 

High blood sugar, high chronic inflammation, and high triglycerides are particularly likely to cause the very things you want most to avoid if your blood pressure is high. 

The most effective ways to stop those things are to stop eating and drinking the many kinds of heart attack starter foods and drinks that cause them.  These include all regular and diet soft drinks; all refined grains; almost all wheat and soy products, all packaged snacks and desserts and most packaged dinners and commercial baked goods and the oils high in omega 6 and the fat of animals fed grains.  It includes all kinds of high fructose corn syrup, agave, artificial sweeteners, and ALL hydrogenated oils.

Stopping virtually all exposure to tobacco smoke and tobacco products is also as protective for your protection from strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, arrhythmias and death from them.  In fact, it is MORE protective for these things than for all cancers with they also cause!

There are several ways to eat foods that protect against these things.  But the several diets that do so best ALL stress eating organic nonstarchy vegetables as a staple.  Including raw and lightly cooked cruciferous vegetables also prevents many cancers.  And eating these vegetables also once or more each day significantly helps to create hunger free fat loss.

The DASH II diet with extra servings of those kinds of vegetables and far fewer grain foods has been shown to lower high blood pressure significantly. For other health reasons, only using extra virgin olive oil improves your health protection.  So does regular, vigorous exercise, avoiding tobacco smoke, and stopping the bad foods and drinks.

The Mediterranean diet with extra servings of those kinds of vegetables and far fewer grain foods has been shown to be very protective of your health but not quite as good at lowering blood pressure.

The Paleo diet with extra servings of those kinds of vegetables and virtually no grain foods also has a good health track record, particularly if the animal protein foods in it are all wild caught fish or animals fed only their natural food such as 100% grass fed cows and eggs from pastured chickens and the intake of these kinds of vegetables is high.

Lastly, eating in one of these ways AND doing vigorous exercise most days of every week, particularly progressive strength training using mostly superslow repetitions, and stopping the bad stuff at the same time, tends to cause permanent fat loss.  Those who add a few tweaks too  and lose 10% or more of their body weight as fat often get significant lowering of their blood pressure too.

2.  What if you are spending a lot of money on blood pressure drugs and would be at a level of less than 160 over 100 without them?  What if you are in that situation and have truly harsh reductions in your quality of life and want your health back?

The evidence says that adding the things that are far more protective listed above makes it quite likely to be safe to stop the drugs.  (Doing that first is safest and will often lower your blood pressure in your doctor’s office too.)

BUT it can be deadly dangerous to stop taking blood pressure drugs cold turkey because it can cause horribly dangerous spikes in your blood pressure.

This is particularly true for one of the very worst blood pressure drugs for protection, beta blockers.

With those you need to be even more careful and slow withdrawing from them!

(Beta blockers ARE a good drug in two uses. 

If you have sky high blood pressure that can cause blown out blood vessels or strokes that same day such as 254 over 173, the drug they use in the ER to reliably get your blood pressure down a lot and do it fast is a beta blocker.  So the rebound when they are stopped can put you in that range if you do it wrong!

And, a recent study confirms that giving a beta blocker during and just after a heart attack reduces the damage and the number of heart cells that die. 

Both of these are very valuable uses.)

But for long term protection, tests of beta blockers show virtually none!

There’s a reason for that.  They prevent your heart from getting the benefits of the most protective kinds of exercise!  They prevent normal increases and decreases in blood pressure during your day enough to reduce blood vessel flexibility.  They prevent heart rehab of the undamaged part of your heart after a heart attack and tend to cause heart failure.

To top that off, they often produce the most disliked side effects for reducing your quality of life.

But the critical thing to do is to take it as you have been but in the smallest possible dose size and take enough to give you what you have been taking.

Then you need to work with a helpful and knowledgable doctor or a willing and knowledgeable pharmacist to step down your dosage level over a few weeks being extremely sure to take your doses on time and to not go faster than recommended.

The beta blockers are also psychologically addictive in some cases. So this can be a bit tough and having that doctor or pharmacist in your corner can be a big help.

But in the case of beta blockers, once you do your health and your PROTECTION will be BETTER!

Lastly, if your blood pressure is largely caused by stress and related problems, you can do Tai Chi or use the Resparate device to remove that physical stress.

Since beta blockers are often prescribed for that, this gives you the stress relief and blood pressure lowering AND gives you better protection too!

The only drawback to that is that you need to do it 10 or 15 minutes a day 5 to 7 days a week to have it work. 

But if you can’t add that, and DO do all the other things your protection will still be good.

The good news is if you can do one of them, you can even get your blood pressure from still a bit high such as 150 over 80 to something closer to 125 over 75.  

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