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Blood Pressure: Here they go again

by Dr. Randy

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Those bad boys at the drug companies are at it again. First they lower the normal cholesterol recommendations from 220 to 200 and then 180. Wow have the sales for Lipitor and other statin-type cholesterol- lowering drugs been soaring. That amounts to a lot of bucks $$$$ for the drug industry, despite all those pesky lawsuits for the deaths caused by Baycol, which was taken off the market. Watch out for those side effects, including liver damage. They can get you faster than cholesterol-related heart disease.

Now a new decree has lowered the numbers for blood pressure as well. Brace yourselves for a barrage of advertisements for blood pressure medications because all of you who thought you had normal blood pressures of 120/80 are now classified with a disease called pre-hypertension as of the announcement on May 15, 2003.
You thought 140/90 was the upper limit of normal didn’t you? Not anymore. The current recommendation (this week) is to treat anyone with pre-hypertension and other complicating diseases such as diabetes or kidney problems with drugs. The rest of us can expect to get lectures about losing weight, exercise, and low fat diets.

The exercise part is a great idea. Be warned, however, a recent study showed that it took one hour of vigorous exercise per day to decrease the incidence of heart disease. Regular walking had no effect. Excess weight is now recognized as a risk factor for cancer as well as diabetes and heart disease. For adults to keep off those extra pounds, I recommend eating a diet low in refined carbohydrates (flour), lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein from beans, dairy, eggs, chicken, and turkey. Eating a low fat/low cholesterol diet can be dangerous to your health. To lose a significant amount of weight I recommend a no-grain diet and a rigorous exercise regime. A recent survey found that 75 percent of overweight Americans had given up on losing weight. Depressing.

To specifically treat blood pressure and prevent associated heart disease and strokes, I recommend acupuncture and Chinese herbs along with nutritional supplements and a diet/exercise program. Essential supplements include omega 3 fats, garlic, CoQ10, and vitamin E. Other antioxidants and nutrients may be necessary for different individuals, and other, additional health problems require a more individualized plan.

To view the complete hypertension guidelines go to:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

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