In this article the doctors of the Magaziner Center for Wellness discuss blood pressure and cholesterol medications and the false sense of health they give to patients.
From Oregon State University: A broad review of the use of medications to reduce blood pressure has confirmed that “mild” control of systolic pressure is adequate for adults age 65 or older – in the elderly, there’s no clear benefit to more aggressive use of medications to achieve a lower pressure.
Historically, most medical practitioners tried to achieve control of systolic pressure – the higher of the two blood pressure readings – to 140 or less. Recently changed guidelines now suggest that for adults over 60, keeping the systolic pressure at 150 or less is adequate, and this extensive analysis confirms that.
However, researchers also say in the report that more work needs to be done studying blood pressure in older populations, since most of the research, and the medical guidelines based on them, were done using predominately younger adults.
The review was just published in Drugs & Aging, a professional journal, by scientists from the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University.
“The goal of a systolic pressure at or below 140 has been around a long time, and there’s still skepticism among some practitioners about accepting a higher blood pressure,” said Leah Goeres, an OSU postdoctoral fellow and lead author on the publication.
“Keeping systolic blood pressure in older adults below 150 is important, it’s what we consider a mild level of control,” Goeres said. “But for older people that level is also good enough. After an extensive review, there was no significant evidence that more intensive management is necessary.” See the Oregon State Research
Treating cardiovascular problems nutritionally
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, before embarking on any treatment plan, we speak to each patient about his or her lifestyle, and run tests to check for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, heavy metal toxicity and insulin resistance, which have all been associated with hypertension.
We concentrate on the B vitamins: “The B-vitamins folate, B-12 and B-6 all play a key role in homocysteine metabolism and in fact it has been proposed that about two-thirds of all cases of hyperhomocysteinemia (abnormally large level of homocysteine in the blood) are due to an inadequate status of one or all of these vitamins. Of the three, folate appears to be the most important determinant and has been shown to significantly lower homocysteine concentration.”1
When necessary, we help our patients achieve their ideal body weight by making dietary modifications and committing to an exercise routine. Across our practice, but especially with patients who suffer from hypertension, we recommend a “clean” diet – one that is low in sugar and salt, features non-processed foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables and incorporates fish (provided the patient is not vegetarian or vegan) and healthy oils. In cases where there is a lot of weight to be lost, we offer more aggressive strategies – such as medically-based diets that utilize naturally-occurring hormones that stimulate metabolism, suppress appetite and mobilize fat – to help patients achieve marked weight loss, quickly.
If testing confirms that there is an excess body burden of mercury, lead and cadmium (either of all three or of any one), we utilize chelation therapy and other detoxification techniques to cleanse the body, as these metals have been linked to hypertension.
We utilize supplements – including herbals (like Hawthorne), minerals (including magnesium, as a shortage of this mineral may cause hypertension), Omega 3 fatty acids (useful in treating the disorder) and arginine (an amino acid that helps dilate blood vessels).
Lastly, we encourage our patients to seek out – and stick with – stress reduction techniques ranging from prayer and meditation to yoga and Tai Chi to help manage, and in most cases, drastically reduce, their hypertension and related symptoms.
1. Ward M. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2001 May;71(3):173-8. Homocysteine, folate, and cardiovascular disease.