The great hypertension lie and how to beat it
The $30 ‘cure’ for high blood pressure
High blood pressure isn’t a disease. It’s a phony-baloney excuse to drug as many people as they possibly can, and the proof is in the pudding.
Or in this case, the proof is in the guidelines.
They’re changed more often than American Idol judges, but they haven’t resulted in healthier people——only more people who take blood pressure meds.
And that’s because the guidelines for hypertension——the very guidelines your own doctor relies on to make treatment decisions every single day——aren’t carefully crafted by teams of independent researchers.
They’re schemed up by “experts” who pocket big money from Big Pharma——and since they don’t want their ride on the gravy train to end, they keep changing the guidelines to please their benefactors.
So down, down, down the BP targets go——and eventually, they trickle down to you.
One day, your BP is fine. The next, it’s exactly the same——but now it’s dangerously high, thanks to new guidelines, and your doc is handing you a prescription for a pricey new drug. (It’s never the cheap old stuff, is it?)
It’s easy to think you just can’t win. But you can——and all you need is a little information. Information that you can get... but your doctor can’t.
And it starts with understanding why your blood pressure changes in the first place.
For most people, blood pressure levels aren’t constant. They’re changing all the time...rising...falling...rising...falling...more of a roller coaster ride than a flat line, and the high points on that ride are almost always during trips to the doctor’s office.
It’s the stress of being in the clinic.
Maybe it’s all the poking and prodding. Maybe it’s the needles and blood tests. Maybe you’re always expecting bad news. Maybe it’s the surly receptionist, the co-pay, the paperwork, the guy hacking up part of his lung in the waiting room, the hunt for a parking spot, or some combination of all the above.
Whatever the reason, BP that shoots up in the doctor’s office is so common that it has its own medical name:
White Coat Syndrome
Sounds ominous, right?
It’s not. All that means is blood pressure that’s high in the presence of a white coat——aka your doctor——but perfectly normal most of the rest of the time.
The only problem is, no one is checking your BP levels most of the rest of the time.
But you can change that easily enough. Take your readings at home, hand them over to your doc and——just like that——your hypertension could be “cured.”
Don’t think it’s that simple? Trust me, it IS that simple——and the science backs me up here.
One study just last year tracked 444 patients for 18 months, with BP levels measured throughout the study in three different settings——at home, at a doctor’s office, and in a research lab.
Only a third of the patients in the study had consistent numbers. The rest were riding that roller coaster, showing all the ups and downs I just told you about——with many of the biggest ups coming in the doctor’s office.
But here’s the most important piece of information from the study: The average patient had numbers that would be considered hypertension whenever the doctor took the reading.
Their systolic reading——that’s the top number——hit 145, or well past the 140 that supposedly marks the start of the condition, at least according to guidelines.
Outside the clinic, however, that number plunged to an average of 130, or just high enough that you might get a frown and a lecture from your doctor (feel free to ignore it)... but low enough that even the strictest guideline-following hack won’t try to drug you (and run the other way if he does).
Remember, these weren’t the atypical patients——these were the averages, and other studies have reached very similar conclusions.
Clearly, you need to take matters into your own hands and take readings outside of the doctor’s office. But don’t waste your time using the free machines at the local pharmacy or senior center.
For around $30, you can get a reliable automated device you can use at home. If you want to spend more, you can get devices that’ll do everything but make your coffee——devices that can talk to your computer, your iPhone, and your iPad, and some that can even send your readings right to your doctor’s office.
Take your measurements, and then tell your doc to read ‘em and weep.
But what if it doesn’t work?
OK, so while most people will find their BP levels are lower at home, not everyone will. And if you still have teenagers at home, it might even go up.
If that’s your story, it’s still not time to panic.
Like I said earlier, the guidelines themselves are badly flawed. Right now, anything over 140/90 is considered hypertension, and there’s a push to lower it to 120/80. But the science here is clear: You could go higher than 140/90——much higher——and face no increased risk at all.
A recent Cochrane review looked at data on some 9,000 people who took part in drug trials in the United States, Britain and Australia. They all had “hypertension,” with systolic readings of between 140 and 159 and diastolic readings of between 90 and 99.
The vast majority of “hypertension” patients fall within this range, and most of them get drugs to bring those levels down.
But if that range was such a danger zone, surely people who aren’t drugged would be dropping dead of heart attacks all over the place, right?
According to the study, patients who were given placebos and patients who were given no treatment all had the exact same outcomes as the ones who were drugged.
Same risk of heart disease...same risk of heart attack...same risk of stroke...and the same risk of death.
The only difference came in side effects——patients on meds got oodles of them, of course, and for nearly 10 percent the side effects were so bad they had to stop taking the drugs.
Looks to me like they were better off without them anyway.
Of course, there comes a point when BP can get too high——and BP that suddenly shoots up and stays up in the stratosphere can be a warning that something in your body needs attention.
In those cases, taking a med to lower your BP is like turning up the car radio so you don’t hear the police siren behind you. It might make the symptom disappear...but it won’t change the fact that you’re in trouble.
So forget drugs and work with an experienced naturopathic physician who can figure out what caused your blood pressure levels to spike. Once he finds that cause, he can help you to correct it.
Isn’t that how medicine is supposed to work?
I recommend visiting one of the enlightened doctors of the American College for Advancement in Medicine. To find one near you, call 1-800-532-3688 or visit them online at ACAM.org.