Hypertension medications – what’s the deal?
Let me state right from the beginning – I’m not in favor of taking prescription medications for high blood pressure control (if it can be avoided).
The are a number of reasons for my anti-medication stance, one of which is my personality. I’m a long-distance single-handed sailor and I value and guard my independence fiercely. Being tied to a prescription and regular doctor appointments really doesn’t suit me psychologically. If there was an alternative I would use it.
The good news is that there is an alternative to prescription medications and that’s what this post is about.
High blood pressure medication side effects
Another reason I’m not in favor of medications is the side effects.
For a list of hypertension medications side effects click here
Most all hypertension medications have side effects. Some of them may be minor, but they can all reduce your quality of life.
My only experience of hypertension medications was Rampril, ACE Inhibitor prescribed here in the UK. Soon after taking Rampril daily I developed a dry and persistent cough. And I mean persistent. All day and all night long.
It got to the point where I kept a glass of water by my bed so I could relieve the tickle in my throat that would wake me up several times a night. Two months of this slow torture and my blood pressure was still measuring 195/130 at the doctor’s and 175/120 at home.
High blood pressure control or high blood pressure cure?
The third, and possibly most important reason I have chosen to reduce my blood pressure naturally, rather than going down the medication route is that medications don’t actually cure hypertension.
Let me explain.
All hypertension medication prescribed by doctors are meant to lower your blood pressure. A prescription that works for one person may not work so well for another. Several medications may sometimes have to be tried for each patient to see what works best for him or her. Occasionally combinations are used for best results.
Of course sometimes the medication that best lowers your blood pressure also produces the worst side effects and other treatments must be sought.
There is one thing that all hypertension medications have in common:
You have to keep taking them day after day for the rest of your life to keep your blood pressure within acceptable limits. If you stop taking them your blood pressure can shoot right back up to former levels.
In short, you have not cured your hypertension – you are merely controlling it.
While high blood pressure control is obviously a good thing, the conditions that gave rise to your elevated blood pressure are still there. And they are still waiting to raise your blood pressure back up to dangerous levels the minute they’re released from their chemical bondage.
There’s also the statistic that more people die of stroke and heart attack while on high blood pressure medications than those who are not on them. So when you consider all this, the pharmaceutical approach to high blood pressure control seems even less attractive.
(That’s not to say that hypertension medications cause stroke and heart attack. But that statistic does seem to suggest that these drugs do not offer the protection against these diseases one might have hoped.)
Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure
For all these reasons I chose the alternative route to lowering high blood pressure.
Out went the medication, in came natural alternative methods for reducing blood pressure. Four months later and my blood pressure was down to the 135/95 range. And the cough was just a distant bad memory.
Now, almost nine months after starting alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure my readings are sometimes below 120/80. I wouldn’t have believed it last Spring but the ‘proof is in the pudding’ as they say.
The good news for you is that if I can do it – anyone can!
How I lowered my blood pressure naturally
The main approaches I have used have been changes in my diet, and regularly practising slow breathing (I was already quite active).
Obviously, some people are more genetically prone to high blood pressure than others. I certainly am. Age is also often a factor and there’s not much we can do about that! However, the main ‘lifestyle causes’ of high blood pressure are an inappropriate diet, not being active enough, and being too stressed. The good thing is you can do something about these!
You can read this article for a good summary: The Best Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure
I myself relied heavily on David Riley’s “Get Natural!” book about lowering blood pressure naturaly, and on David O’Hara’s “Breatheasy” program of guided slow breathing exercises. These aren’t available any more now (2017). However, my partner and I have put together our own up-to-date guide to lowering blood pressure by natural means. And I’ve created a guided slow breathing audio program to go with it.
As the title suggests, the book is laid out in nine easy-to-follow steps. So you can work through the various aspects of lowering blood pressure naturally in a way that’s clear and simple. And of course you can do it at whatever pace suits you.
I say ‘work through’ but one of the main things we try to get across in our guide is that using natural methods to lower your blood pressure doesn’t have to be hard work. It’s not a life of denial. In fact, there are plenty of good foods and drinks that help lower blood pressure, including some alcohol and certain kinds of chocolate. And you don’t have to resort to low-fat foods either.
Making time to relax and breathe is another vital aspect of lowering blood pressure. And it’s enjoyable! Watching your favourite comedian is another good option.
In my own path to lowering my blood pressure without medications has certainly proven to be enjoyable and enriching. I don’t feel I’m missing out on anything and I am definitely appreciating feeling healthier and more relaxed! I hope you find the same!