Settling conflicting info about whether meds help or hurt the vascular system

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi everybody, I'm new here.

I'm a 63 yr old male, and started hypertension about a decade ago. Took Lisinopril, which knocked my systolic down from the 160s to the 140s for awhile. Recently, even with Lisinopril, was spiking close to 200. New Dr. added HCTZ (diuretic) which got it back under 150, but the 2 together make me ongoingly fatigued, and dizzy upon standing up. The new doc, nor anyone else, knows why I have such high BP. I'm underweight, not overweight, never drink or smoke, eat mostly grain, veggies and a little fish with low salt, hike in the hills regularly, semi-retired, low stress life with daily meditation, definitely don't fit the profile for hypertension. Go figure rolleyes

Anyway, I've recently read about studies that show a few disconcerting conclusions about BP meds, such as:

- they frequently don't work, even with 3 combined meds (ACE, Calcium Chain + diuretic)

- they work for awhile but then stop, and reconfiguring meds/doses doesn't help much

- some studies have shown they actually increase, rather than decrease, rate of heart-attack/strokes in takers, as a side effect, even if the numbers seem to go down

- other studies show the rate of heart attack/stroke in people who ran high numbers for any length of time, then successfully brought the numbers down with the meds, had just as many heart attacks/strokes as those who never brought their numbers down, indicating that once the vascular damage is done, even if meds successfully lower your numbers from that point on, it makes little difference to the damaged veins, heart and organs

Obviously, if any of those points are accurate, the BP drug-makers don't want you to know, so some of these studies seem hard to locate, but I've seen 'em

So I'm interested in the latest accurate info about these points, from people who really know. My cardio doc isn't one of them. He's a nice guy but he just writes me scrips for the pills and says that's the only fix. Please respond and help clarify, much thanks.

1 like, 11 replies

11 Replies

  • Posted

    First, most people's bp fluctuates, and how you take your bp is also important, when you or your doc take yr bp do you discard the first one or two readings, are you relaxed, not just done a lot of exercise, taken  5 or 10 mins to get relaxed, not engaged in conversation during the taking of it, etc  And if it did seem high after taking it like that,  have you tried  a full week taking your bp like this, recording the 3rd and 4th readings every morning and evening?Remember not to take blood pressure when even mildly ill, other than for education - it usually goes up, have you recorded when it was spiking?  , finally, have you also had 24 hr monitoring? I   not think it worth looking at people who may have suffered some damage through meds, as we do not know if they had been through the above and that they were not being misdiagnosed and given meds needlessly

    • Posted

      Thanks Annie. Yes to most of your cautionary points: Always take several readings after much relaxation (often after a 20-minute meditation,) several minutes apart, discarding 1st two, using a high-quality Ozeri electric wrist-cuff at home, which readings usually parallel those I get at the Drs. office, so I think it's pretty accurate. Have done full weeks of recording 3rd/4th readings. Haven't done 24 hr. monitoring.

      The only studies I looked at, that showed med damage or non-workability, were done under strict medical studies guidelines so they could be published with credibility in top university and AMA journals, so I'm going to assume the doctors conducting these studies knew about all those multi-reading caveats, and took all the necessary precautions to guarantee accurate readings.

  • Posted

    I think things are usually a little better than that, lots of people take the meds effectively for many years, and judging from my family history my impression is they help more than they hurt.

    ?Why you have high readings and why the meds don't work better are interesting questions.  It's possible that some minor elements of your diet could contribute.  You don't happen to take a turmeric supplement, do you, or have a habit of eating Indian food that contains a lot of turmeric, even if it's all veggies and grains under the sauce?

    • Posted

      No, don't like turmeric. My wife loves the stuff, but her BP actually runs low, and she doesn't put it in our food. 

      The whole thing of needing to combine 3 BP meds just to keep it below 130 is what's suspect to me. There has to be a core reason why someone who's normal weight, no alcohol, clean diet and exercises would have consistent numbers around 175-195, even while on the highest dosage of Lisinopril, and now need to add HCTZ and a calcium chain blocker just to ameliorate it. That just seems wrong, like...find the core reason, fix that, and stop the meds. If nobody can find the reason, I'll have to take the meds, but it sure feels ridiculous. 

      Also, no one is addressing that last question about the study that showed "once the damage is done from a few years of hypertension, you're doomed anyway, meds & lowered numbers or not." I know this is just a community forum, not a panel of the top BP researchers in the country, so I'm keeping my expectations low. But maybe someone here really knows, and will weigh in eek

    • Posted

      i dont know  the study, you have not referenced it, But re high blood pressure,  i do know that genetics plays a large part, both regarding who has it, and who responds well to medication.  One person can be sedentary and unfit due to and even another chronic disease,  and not have very much too high blood pressure, that will respond immediately to half or less of the lowest of just one medication, another can be very very fit, regularly do more exercise per week that the other can do in a year, keep slim, eat healthily, non smoking, etc, yet have a family with a history of high bp when around 60 yrs,, and , when they get to 60, they too  find they have the same high bp, and then find that even two meds do not work very well.
  • Posted

    There seem to be a ton of studies out there with widely differing results. Sometimes the limited parameters of a study just looks like somebody is invested in arriving at a particular outcome. Sometimes it looks like the studies are just desperately trying to find some commonality among what may really be a very diverse range of causes and symptoms.

    I wonder if a more helpful question for you might be..your own investigation into what might be causing your own particular BP issues. Consider the possibility that your high BP might just be a symptom of something distressing to your body rather than your high BP being a cause onto itself.

    For example.. I recently discovered that the very watching of a computer or TV screen in the evening brought about a sizable spike in my own BP. That just by forgoing that activity & by changing the time of taking my medication, my evening BP readings have returned to normal..

    I won't bore you with the theory's of circadian rhythms and blood pressure because the point that I'm trying to make is that you might have to trust your own intelligence, objective observation &  BP monitor to determine what your own particular causes of high BP might be from.



  • Posted

    Nobody is more skeptical of the "science" involved here than I am.  Nobody really knows what the cause(s) are of BP, they just treat the symptoms.  Maybe in fifty or a hundred years they'll know what they're doing.  Hey, the very idea of squeezing your arm to measure BP is primitive, dubious.  Maybe you just have different arteries and your BP is actually fine!

    ?But the idea that there is just so much damage to do, and once it's done you're cooked, I'm not sure I see how that would work.  It's a theory but it will have to be worked out same as any other.  I'm pretty sure if from this point forward I just let the BP go without treatment I'd fall over sooner rather than later, but there's just the one of me so it's hard to run the experiment.

    • Posted

      Hey Seth

      The only experiment I was suggesting was to educate yourself on the many possible causes of high BP for the ones that might apply to you. Many of those causes are testable and have fixable solutions.

      Most GP's only have a set appointment time to deal with your high Blood pressure and then can only deal with it as a disease to be moderated. That's better than doing nothing....but.....what if the high BP is only a symptom of something else.

      You're the one with the body, a blood pressure monitor and the real vested interest in checking out if your particular form of high BP has an ongoing causal factor that can also be addressed.

      I lucked out with some factors of my own high BP  so am still a bit evangelical.

      Apologies for that.

  • Posted

    Turmeric causes high BP? That's a new one for me. I take teaspoonful of this in a glass of water every morning.


  • Posted

    I would be very interested to learn more about this. I've always had the feeling that once you take pills you have to continue for ever and frankly have always felt resentful about it, feeling that I started on them [5 years ago] on the advice of the dr without trying any alternatives [no salt, v little alcohol and all the usual things ] . I  say 'advice' but really it was a case of threat of heart attack, stroke etc. My BP is now well below 120/80.

  • Posted

    First, big thanks to all who weighed in with opinions & personal experience here. Very helpful. Especially useful seems to be the points made by howard and jx41870. What I'm hearing is that:

    - Nobody really knows all the factors that could cause high blood pressure, even doctors who specialize in cardio-vascular health, but they know combining 2 or 3 these meds has worked to bring a lot of people's numbers down to near-normal levels, so for now that's the best they have to,

    - I have to be my own best detective and find out, through trial & error, what pre-existing conditions, or foods I eat , or even time in front of my TV/computer screens, could be the culprit. On another BP forum, a poster found that for him, it was consumption of fats that was doing it. He eliminated all fats from his diet and his BP dropped like a rock. When he reintroduced them, he spiked right back up the high 180s. So I guess I have to be willing to do my own sleuthing, here.

    - Meantime, I'll continue to take just enough of my own lisinopril/HCTZ to keep it down under 150-160, and try to live with side-effects, until I happen to discover the decisive causes. 

    - As far as the studies that showed combined BP meds to do more harm than good (only a third of those taking 2 or 3 BP meds actually achieve their target levels, while combining ACE inhibitors, diuretics and calcium chain blockers have been shown to increase heart attacks by 50-60%,) I've attached a link below to the studies for those who want to see for themselves. Thanks again


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