Friday, January 24, 2014

Most people do NOT need drugs for high blood pressure….

Today's Post:  Friday, 1-24-2014

I.  Some people have blood pressure over 160 over 100.  Many years ago it was found that for such people it does cut heart attacks and strokes and deaths for doctors to put people with blood pressure that high on the blood pressure drugs. 

If you do have blood pressure that high now it this shows it makes sense to take the drugs at least at first.

But some causes of high blood pressure called secondary hypertension are treatable to lower blood pressures that high. Have your doctor check you for those because getting treatment if you have one can get your blood pressure below 160 over 100.

And, by adding food upgrades and effective stress relief, you can both add to your heart attack and stroke and death protection and can often lower your blood pressure enough to get it consistently below 160 over 100.

a) The Resperate Device, doing Tai Chi, and doing gentle yoga with deep breathing as you move and avoiding harsh stretching poses all have reduced blood pressure without drugs by amounts like 12 over 6, 14 over 8, and 17 over 11 and sometimes more.

b) Similarly an adapted DASH II diet with extra vegetables, far fewer grains, and making it a bit of a Mediterranean diet by almost exclusively using extra virgin olive oil and including nuts and maybe some red wine will add to your heart attack and stroke and death protection and can often lower your blood pressure enough to get it consistently below 160 over 100. 

(You do have to give up soft drinks, excessive sugar, packaged foods, and almost all fast food. But besides the lower blood pressure, many people lose 25 pounds with no hunger or eating less when they go to this way of eating!)

c) Adding exercise that you gradually build up to being vigorous exercise most days of every week also will add to your heart attack and stroke and death protection and can often help lower your blood pressure enough to get it consistently below 160 over 100 if you also do the food upgrades.  It’s even been found that your blood pressure is less on the days you exercise!

d)  If you smoke or get a lot of second hand smoke exposure, make it stop and you will add to your heart attack and stroke and death protection and this too can lower your blood pressure enough to get it consistently below 160 over 100.

e)  If you do take the blood pressure drugs, make a special effort to avoid beta blockers because they are harmful except in very special uses.  They are also difficult and dangerous to stop taking. (We cover why they are harmful in the next section.)

II. But most prescriptions today for blood pressure drugs are for blood pressures below 160 over 100.

The wonderful news is that if you do the things we just listed, not only will your blood pressure go down, you do NOT get any added protection from heart attacks and strokes and death by adding the drugs.  It’s only people who do NOT do those things who need the drugs.  Two separate studies now have shown this!

That means that if you do the protective actions and your blood pressure without the drugs is below 160 over 100, the drugs are not needed to lower your most important risks.

That’s good news if you hate the quality of life you have when you take the drugs.  And most people do.  That’s why many people stop taking them.

The other good news is that if you do these lifestyle upgrades you can stop taking them or decline to take them and still be protected!

1.  Many doctors now have been tending to prescribe drugs for BP of either over 140 OR 90. And more likely if both over 140 & 90.

2.  This is MUCH lower than the 160 over 100 consistently shown to have the drugs cut death rates.  

And, the best doctors for some time have been happy to get even  those blood pressure readings down  to about 150 over 80 and now 150 over 90.

Many people taking the drug now are already that low in their blood pressure.

3.  This strategy, using the drugs below 160 over 100 but above 140 over 90, is ONLY able to cut death rates of people who do not eat right and do vigorous regular exercise.  People who DO those two things get ZERO added protection by adding the drugs.

4.  In  addition to the cost, these drugs all have significant quality of life issues for most people who take them.  They can and often do lower productivity at work from these distractions and depression creating effects.  

5.  Some of these drugs also have DEATH rates of their own in addition in some people.

ACE in inhibitors, that are currently a common choice are one of these.  People who are allergic have their throat and tongue swell up until they can't breathe.  Some people this happens to get to an  ER in time.  But, many don't.  (If I ever needed to take them – some ACE inhibitors are decent drugs otherwise as blood pressure drugs, I’d go the ER first thing very early in the morning with something to read and a lunch and only leave after 10 or 12 hours.  That way if I got that reaction, I’d be right there for help.)

5.  They create sexual dysfunction including ED in many people who take them.  Beta blockers are close to the worst for this but many people get this reaction to the others.

7.  Two of the most used of these drugs are thiazide diuretics & beta blockers.  A recent email I got reported this increases risk for type 2 diabetes.  Since beta blockers also tend to block exercise from creating fitness and cause heart failure and are addictive this is NOT good.  

Another health post I read today, 1-6-2013, says that like statins, beta blockers ALSO cut CoQ10 & ubiquinol.  

And, statins also tend to cause type 2 diabetes.  So the combination of statins and beta blockers and/or with thiazide diuretics is particularly undesirable.

The conclusion is that eating right and getting regular exercise and various kinds of stress relief reduce high blood pressure and or make it safe to have at these moderately lower levels.

The inescapable conclusion is that the blood pressure reducing drugs are an inferior choice for most of the people now taking them. They are NOT needed for protection by people able to do the protective actions and they are harmful or worse on their own.  

And, except for emergency use for dangerously high blood pressure or right after a heart attack for a short time to give the heart a bit of rest before careful rehab, very few people should ever take beta blockers! 

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