New guidelines can help millions to dump dangerous blood-pressure meds

[New study] How over 7M of us beat ‘high’ blood pressure overnight

The numbers were getting lower every year.

And as the numbers went down, more and more of us were given pills to get our blood pressure under “control.”

The total number of people labeled as having hypertension, or even prehypertension, was staggering.

Just a little over 9 years ago, that would include over half the world’s population! Over 3 billion people!

But suddenly, that all changed.

Hypertension hysteria hit a high mark in 1999 when the World Health Organization issued guidelines saying that any diastolic (second half) blood pressure reading over 80 was not healthy.

That meant you had to start right up on drugs.

AstraZeneca, one of the many drug companies that sponsored this “research,” was so excited that it issued a press release to “leak” these new numbers even before the WHO announced it.

As the years went by, doctors were kept busy writing even more prescriptions for these dangerous drugs, going by those “official” numbers, which kept getting lower and lower.

But this year something amazing happened.

The number actually went up.

Yes, you read that right…

They officially raised the number that is considered “high blood pressure.” And that means, for the first time, fewer people will be put on drugs.

And the biggest difference will be for those over 60.

First, the committee found that there is no reason for people who are 60 or over to start on drugs unless their blood pressure is 150/90 or higher. (That changed from 140/90).

Right there, Big Pharma lost millions of customers.

And for people under 60, the numbers also got bumped up to 140/90. And that’s even for those younger people who have kidney disease or diabetes.

Previously, anyone with a reading higher than 120/80, was put in the “prehypertension” group. And they could be put on the same dangerous drugs as those with super-high blood pressure.

These new guidelines were published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. And it didn’t come from some “doc-in-the-box” group either. The committee was made up of many of the most well-respected heart doctors you can find.

Now this doesn’t mean that having a lower blood pressure reading isn’t healthier. But it does mean that the use of risky meds to get there does more harm than good.

Dr. Paul James, co-chairman of the panel that issued the new numbers, said someone having a number of 120 will “have lower health risks” than, say, someone at 140.

But getting to that number with drugs didn’t show the same health benefits as being able to achieve it naturally.

Could that be because these are some of the most dangerous drugs out there?

For example, drugs in the “ARB” family can cause lupus, hypersensitivity and acute eye problems, including glaucoma. And if taken during pregnancy they can actually kill an unborn baby.

People on ACE inhibitors can develop sudden, life-threatening swelling of the face and neck.

And all these meds can cause too low blood pressure, leading to dizziness and falls.

While critics — like the American Heart Association — wasted no time in bashing these new numbers, that, said Dr. James, was to be expected.

We “have to start somewhere,” he said. And our panel’s opinion is that we should start where the evidence leads us.”

So now that we have the evidence, let it lead you to your doctor’s office to figure out if it’s time for you to finally get off your blood pressure meds.

Sources:
“3 Things to know about the new blood pressure guidelines” Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., The New York Times, well.blogs.nytime.com

“New blood-pressure guidelines pay off — for drug companies” Duff Wilson, The Seattle Times, seattletimes.com