Your Blood Pressure Medication Is Not Harmless

blood pressure drugsMedications used to reduce hypertension caused by our sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices has created its own unique set of risks.

Blood Pressure medications cause fatigue, and can cause you to be light headed, leading to loss of balance and increased falls in the elderly. In addition certain blood pressure medications lower diastolic blood pressure too much, which can increase atrial fibrillation and cardiac arrhythmias which can lead to death. 2,3

Beta Blockers

Beta-Blockers have been shown to increase insulin resistance making more people likely to get diabetes. In a clinical trial with 143,153 participants who did not have diabetes at the start of the study, the risk of developing diabetes was most pronounced in those taking beta-blockers.4


In a 2006 study  appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that patients with blood pressure below 140/70 mmHg that had their diastolic number (bottom number pushed down too low) had in increased death rate.5

blood pressure diastolic systolicThe diastolic number represents how hard your blood is pushing through your arteries between heartbeats, when your heart is relaxed and filling with blood. If you have coronary artery disease, you are at an increased risk of not having enough blood flow through your coronary arteries, when your diastolic blood pressure gets too low.

In a study with over 22,000 patients, they found a large increase in heart attacks in people whose medications brought down their diastolic blood pressure below 84. People with a diastolic blood pressure below 60 had 3x more heart attacks compared with the group, whose diastolic blood pressure stayed above 80.

The American Heart Association for many years, recommended beta-blockers and diuretics as the first line of defense for people with high blood pressure. But they often didn’t warn you about the fatigue, impotence, weight gain , increased risk of diabetes and many other side effects.

In a large POISE trail with 8,351 patients, they found that after a 30 day trial of metoprolol, ( a common beta-blocker) vs. a placebo, the overall mortality (death) death was higher in the group that was treated with the beta blocker. (3.1% vs only 2.3% in the placebo group) In addition, the beta-blocker group had almost twice the amount of strokes during this same period of time. 8

doctorCouple that with a study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which noted that in spite of over 30 years of use, no study on beta blockers has ever shown them to reduce morbidity (disease suffering) or mortality (death) in hypertensive patients and it makes your wonder why they are so widely prescribed.9

The American Heart Associations Council for High Blood Pressure Research and the European Society of Hypertension/European Society of Cardiology no longer endorse beta-blockers as a first line treatment for uncomplicated hypertension.

However due to deceptive marketing by the pharmaceutical industry, most doctors still think of Beta-blockers as being their first choice for patients with hypertension.

(Note: We do not endorse, stopping your medications, as your body becomes dependant on them and stopping quickly can cause more complications. We recommend you discuss proper ways to eliminate them with your doctor and look for natural alternatives.)

Calcium Channel Blockers

You may think that calcium channel blockers are a better choice?

Well, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Calcium Channel Blockers nearly double your risk of dying of cardiovascular diseases ( heart attacks and congestive heart failure). 11 In a study with 93,676 women, they found that those taking a diuretic with a calcium channel blocker were 85% more likely to have congestive heart failure than those taking a diuretic with a beta-blocker.

In an analysis of multiple combined studies, they found that calcium channel blockers did not decrease the risk of heart attacks or heart failure, and were inferior compared with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. 12

blood pressure drugs and nutritionalsAlpha-blockers are even worse than calcium channel blockers in that they do not reduce morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients, and are well-known to cause a variety of poorly tolerated side effects.13


You can learn more about your blood pressure medications and the side effects at

Blood pressure medications may reduce your risk of stroke, but because they increase the risk of heart failure and fatal heart attacks, their overall reduction in mortality is minimal.

There are however natural alternatives, along with diet and exercise that can make a dramatic difference in not just your blood pressure, but your overall health.

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2. Swaminathan RV, Alexander KP. Pulse pressure and vascular risk in the elderly: associations and clinical implications. Am J Geriatr Cardiol 2006;15(4):226-32; quiz133-134.

3. Mitchell GF, Vasan RS, Keyes MJ, et al. Pulse pressure and risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation. JAMA 2007;297(7):709-715.

4. Elliott WJ, Meyer PM. Incident diabetes in clinical trials of antihypertensive drugs: a network metaanalysis. Lancet 369:2007;201-207.


5. Messerli FH, Mancia G, Conti CR, Hewkin AC, Kupfer S, Champion A, Kolloch R, Benetos A, Pepine CJ. Dogma disputed: can aggressively lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients with coronary artery disease be dangerous? Ann Intern Med 2006 Jun 20;144(12):884-893.

6. Blacher J, Staessen JA, Girerd X, et al. Pulse pressure not mean pressure determines cardiovascular risk in older hypertensive patients. Arch Intern Med 2000; Apr 24;160(8):1085-1089.

7. van Bemmel T, Gussekloo J, Westendorp RG, et al. In a population-based prospective study, no association between high blood pressure and mortality after age 85 years. J Hypertens 2006;24(2): 287-292.

8. POISE Study Group. Effects of extended-release metoprolol succinate in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery (POISE trial): a randomized controlled trial. Lancet 2008;DOI:10.1016/S0140- 6736(08)60601-606017.

9. Bangalore S, Messerli FH, Kostis JB, Pepine CJ. Cardiovascular Protection Using Beta-Blockers. J Am Coll Cardiol 2007;50(7):563-572.

10. Wiysonge CS, Bradley H, Mayosi BM, et al. Beta-blockers for hypertension. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007;(1):CD002003.

11. Wassertheil-Smoller S, Psaty B, Greenland P, et al. Association between cardiovascular outcomes and antihypertensive drug treatment in older women. JAMA 2004 Dec 15;292(23):2849-2859.

12. Furberg CD, Psaty BM, Pahor M, et al. Clinical Implications of Recent Findings from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment To Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) and Other Studies of Hypertension. Ann Intern Med 2001;135(12):1074-8. Doggrell SA. Has the controversy over the use of calcium channel blockers in coronary artery disease been resolved? Expert Opin Pharmacother 2005;6(5):831-834.

13. Messerli FH, Grossman E. Therapeutic controversies in hypertension. Semin Nephrol 2005;25(4):227-235. References