Use blood pressure calculator to calculate BPPosted: June 16, 2014
Finally. A doctor who is actually opened to the idea that blood pressure meds may have unacceptable cost v. benefits and is actually conducting a study on the subject. I’m not saying that these medications are not helpful to many. I know there’ a large population out there with extremely high numbers who have trouble bringing it down and pills may be the only option.
But based on close observations of my parents I am convinced that BP meds have a huge detrimental effect on strength and muscle mass, which contributes to their quality of life significantly. I think many elderly patients at this point understand that changes in diet improve their health. What I believe they do not get is the seriousness of the side effects and the overall affect of taking these pills. This should be explained carefully by physicians so that patients have a true understanding of what they are facing in terms of their health in the coming years.
I’ve been treated for high blood pressure since about 1980.
The main period of not needing treatment was when I was on an experimental DASH diet, with milk, fruit, and vegetables every day. In recent years, dizziness (in the sense of light headedness) became a serious problem, especially when trying to work outdoors on hot days. There have been no serious falls, but I think part of that is a matter of being in relatively good physical condition. With serious weight loss and another DASH-like diet, blood pressure doesn’t need to be controlled, but I’m still taking two dizziness-inducing medications for other health problems. There might be a reasonable substitute for one, but probably not the other.
While I’ve repeatedly discussed the dizziness problems with my two doctors, it’s always been a secondary concern.
Falls induced by medications must be a problem that extends well beyond blood pressure treatment.
I’ve read all the comments and no one has mentioned the proper way for BP to be taken. For space considerations, I’m writing an abridged description. There are more specific details I’m leaving out.
For an optimum and accurate BP reading, a patient should not have exercised for 30 minutes. A person should be seated with both feet flat on the floor, sitting without talking for 5 minutes before the cuff is put on. The arm should be resting on a flat surface at heart level.
Blood pressure calculator
If you want to accurately measure your blood pressure and see if it qualifies as normal blood pressure you can make use of an online blood pressure calculator to assess your results.
Due to time constraints, etc., how many times have you had your BP taken and these protocols have not been followed?
Each of us has different tolerances to drugs. A drug company has to spend billions in clinical trials. They are motivated to choose a dose that they think will be sure to achieve the results they want. And, yes, they want to avoid side effects with too much. Its a balance act and they have thousands of subjects. When they get approval the dosages are a statistical average, Many people may need 1/4 the dose they recommend and others perhaps more. The physicians just give the dose the study suggests. This may be too much for many and not enough for some.
The smart thing would be to start off low and slowly work up to a dose that does the job for that person. This takes more time and effort and checking but its the only logical way. This is not what happens in practice.
This issue was addressed in a book written by Dr. Gilbert Welsh, Over Diagnosed in America – Making People Sick In The Pursuit of Health.
I guess one picks his/her poison. The option is to take medication and suffer the severe risk of serious debilitating falls or not take the medication and suffer the severe risk of serious debilitating strokes or heart problems.
“Although this study doesn’t prove that taking the drugs led to the falls, anti-hypertensive medications are among the logical suspects.”
That statement is true; but could be fairly easily refined with control studies that evaluate the role of other suspects such as the cardiovascular diseases themselves which require the administration of the drugs. For example, one could look at the fall rates of populations who have these diseases but are temporarily not taking blood pressure medication for some reason.
Doesn’t Co-Q10 reduce BP pretty much without any side effects? At least for a lot of people? Are people trying that first?
That’s what the producers of Co-Q10 would have you believe, I would love to see an actual study that proves that point.
The importance of diet
Another Times article which only discusses drug treatment for chronic health problems, and totally fails to mention the importance of diet. Some people may still need drugs to help lower blood pressure, even if they eat a healthy diet and do regular exercise. However, I wish that all physicians would strongly encourage their patients to significantly increased their consumption of whole plant-based foods and limit unhealthy processed, sugary, salty, and high fat foods, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for many prescription drugs, including medications to lower blood pressure.
Another problem with these drugs is that they may make driving inadvisable, thereby limiting options for getting out to shop, to socialize, or just to get out of the house for a while. To me, the quality-of-life impact would not be worth it.
File this one under “duh”. My mother was on BP drugs in her 80’s and began have catastrophic sudden drops in BP. They resulted in trips to the ER, and even hospital stays where clueless doctors tested her for everything under the sun. We took her off the BP meds and she never had another episode. With the elderly, a giant proportion of the time, their new unpleasant symptoms are caused, not relieved, by their meds.
I know—but my doctor doesn’t listen—that my hypertension is from anxiety. It always was 120/70; but after a divorce the numbers zoomed. So I take four anti hypertensive drugs each day because a calming drug is now considered anathema.
How do you know that your hypertension is caused by anxiety?I suffer from severe anxiety but have never had high blood pressure. I have no doubt whatsoever that pharmaceuticals have extended the lives of people in my family and I am grateful we have them. But yes, as people get older we need to be especially careful of falls. More information is better, so informed decisions can be made. Thank you for this article.
When I went to live with my mother who was then in her mid-70s she was taking blood pressure medication for the hypertension that seemed to run in her family. After about six to eight months of switching to my style of eating–vegetarian with occasional fish–she no longer needed the drugs to keep her blood pressure normal. I’m not trying to say that this would work for everyone, obviously this is a group of one, but it is something that other people might consider trying to see if it helps control their blood pressure.