Is it really necessary to take Blood Pressure Medication?

Sep 15, 2013
Longevity
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blood lowering medications

While in certain circumstances, a blood pressure medication can help prevent damage. However, this is not usually the case. It is important to ask the following question: Why are physicians prescribing medications for blood pressure levels that once were considered normal? Also, do studies currently exist showing any benefit for lowering blood pressure by medications except in extreme ranges? Just a few decades ago, the medical community believed that a normal blood pressure reading could be determined by simply adding 90 to a patient’s age and the result would provide the average systolic reading (top number) for patients.

For example, a 40-year-old patient would be expected to have a systolic blood pressure of 130 mmHg, while a 60-year-old patient would come in around 150 mmHg. Unfortunately, as time went on, “new and improved” recommendations from the American Heart Association began to surface and now the new target is 120/80 or less, regardless of age. Not only is this recommendation not supported by research, it can be a deadly recommendation. It is not uncommon for elderly patients to fall on the back of the head from an inadequate blood pressure, caused by their blood pressure medication. It is normal for an older person to have a graduated blood pressure reading. If this recommendation were correct (120 over 80), it would mean that at least half the population should be worried about blood pressure. It would also mean that half the population might need a hypertension drug prescribed for them.

The Facts Reveal a Different Picture
In a 2010 analysis, a review of seven trials encompassing 22,089 subjects found, “To date, there is no evidence to support treating patients with uncomplicated hypertension to blood pressure goals lower than the standard blood pressure target of less than or equal to 140 to 160/90 to 100 mmHg.”

In randomized controlled trials, patients treated to lower blood pressure targets to the 140-160/90-100 range did not have worse survival, more heart or kidney failure, or more cardiovascular events or strokes compared with those treated to the standard blood pressure target of less than 130/80 mmHg. The finding of lack of benefit on lowering blood pressure with high blood pressure medications was robust. [1]

Does High Blood Pressure Even Cause Cardiovascular Disease?
Contrary to popular medical opinion, evidence showing a conclusive linear link between high blood pressure and the incidence of heart disease is almost nonexistent. In fact the death rate only rises for patients whose blood pressure reaches above the 80th percentile for a person’s age. For example, a 50-year-old male would only start having problems at the 159 mmHg level. See below for more numbers.

Some medical professionals believe that elevated blood pressure is actually a protective effect, enabling the heart to get necessary amounts of blood to the tissues. If drugs reduce blood pressure it doesn’t make the underlying problem go away, instead many who take drugs inevitably feel worse.

Why Not Treat the Cause Instead of the Symptom?
Elevated blood pressure indicates an existing dysfunction in the body, such as poor circulation, poor oxygenation, inflexible arteries, heavy metal contamination, or hormone, vitamin, or mineral imbalances among others. For example, if a person is overweight, their body will need to overcome vascular resistance due to fat surrounding organs and tissues. In order to sufficiently oxygenate these tissues, the body increases blood pressure. If this person’s blood pressure is not dangerously high then they should focus on losing weight, not taking drugs.

How to Identify the Cause of High Blood Pressure
While many conventional physicians are taught to prescribe medications for the treatment of symptoms, integrative physicians may be more likely to run the tests necessary to help pinpoint underlying causes of hypertension and treat appropriately.

Ask your integrative physician to test the following:
Heavy metals
Vitamin D levels
Magnesium levels
Thiamine levels
Thyroid levels
EKG
Echocardiogram
GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test)
Lipoprotein(a)
Ferritin
Cortisol

Note: some causes of hypertension can include anemia and fever, and may be temporary.

What is High Blood Pressure for my Age?
Blood pressure naturally increases with age; take a look at this more accurate chart of high blood pressure based on age to see how you’re doing. Figures are for systolic blood pressure only.

Women
Age 45 to 54: 165 mmHg
Age 55 to 64: 183 mmHg
Age 65 to 74: 190 mmHg

Men
Age 45 to 54: 159 mmHg
Age 55 to 64 173 mmHg
Age 65 to 74: 184 mmHg [2]

[1]. Cochrane for Clinicians. Am. Family Phys. Vol. 81, N. 7. April 1, 2010
[2]. Kaufman, Joel. Malignant Medical Myths. 2006
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