I've long since been convinced that there is a "cholesterol scam," and that the recommended target numbers are way off (if not simply pointless). My question is whether or not blood pressure numbers are similarly questionable (and used to sell drugs in the same way cholesterol numbers sell statins)?
The reason I'm asking:
I'm 40 and my own systolic pressure reading usually comes in at around 140 (but drops another ten or fifteen points if I wait out the white coat hypertension effect). Diastolic is usually in the mid-60s and my resting pulse is low (around 48 first thing in the morning). The diastolic and resting pulse have both dropped significantly after two and a half years paleo and losing 60 pounds, but the systolic hasn't budged. In fact, it's been the same for the last fifteen years. The doctor was quite hostile when I refused to take any medication until someone could explain the why of my elevated systolic pressure.
I probably should have clarified. I'm aware that HGs have lower average blood pressure, and that therefore high blood pressure is not "paleo" or ideal. I'm just wondering if the target numbers for treatment make sense (i.e., anybody over 140/90) and/or if the drugs used for treatment are more harmful than the condition itself (particularly when given for "moderate" hypertension).
asked byJonathan (865)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on August 23, 2011
at 01:42 PM
Scam may be the wrong word. "Mis-guided", "wrong-headed", "inappropriate" hit the mark for me.
1-Is chronic hypertension a "Risk factor" for dying?= Yes, of course
One can't really argue that chronically-elevated blood pressure is at least "associated" with (has a direct correlation with and therefore is a so-called "risk factor") cardiovascular-related death. At least this is true in the generally-sick, grain-fed, sedentary, stressed-out populations that have been studied. (i.e Western societies)
(side bar: Those Paleohackers just beginning in their quest for better health and more knowledge must make sure you clearly understand the difference btwn "risk factor" and "cause", very important.)
2-Does drug intervention cause decreased deaths?= not proven.
The current (sickness paradigm- driven) medical approach of trying to save lives (prevent heart attacks and strokes, etc.) via chemically-altering/lowering chronically-elevated BP (wherein the elevated BP is simply a 'correct', genetically-programmed response to multiple chronic physiological stressors i.e. wrong diet, insufficient physical activity, and chronic mental/emotional stress, et al) is not science-based when looked at holistically.
The epidemiological studies which purport to show drug interventions as beneficial, do indeed show a tiny total mortality benefit from lowering BP via meds. In other words, there appears, on face, to be a very, very small absolute benefit with the use of various drugs.
(Side bar #2: Note to all newer PaleoHackers: make sure you understand the difference between an absolute vs a relative benefit and/or risk....VERY important!)
But, these studies have failed to actually tease out/separate the artificial lowering of the BP (via meds) from other important (actually-beneficial) factors including the positive lifestyle changes that inevitably follow a medical diagnosis and prescription. Therefore, in truth, it is not possible to say for sure that these meds directly CAUSE a tiny decrease in cardio-related deaths OR whether they are simply ASSOCIATED with a tiny decrease in mortality (via the complex array of events that occur in the life of a human being who gets diagnosed with hypertension [a life-threating Dx in their minds no doubt] and then is placed on meds and is now staring at their own mortality and probably making some changes in their lifestyle that are indeed beneficial to overall physiological function.
A growing number of mainstream medical practitioners are beginning to recognize these facts and as they more become educated in a true wellness paradigm (I look at this Paleo movement as being under the umbrella of a greater wellness paradigm), they will start to change their approach. A precious few are speaking out now, but it will continue to take time. http://www.spacedoc.com/blood_pressure_heart_disease.htm
on August 20, 2011
at 12:23 PM
When i cleaned my diet my blood pressure dropped so much that i wonder if its due to lack some mineral or something. It used to be like 130/85 or there abouts. Now between 105/63 -95/57. I think this is quite close to what hunter gatherer groups have.
on August 20, 2011
at 11:57 AM
I don't think so, there is incredibly strong evidence that hypertension contributes to heart disease and stroke in a big way.
It seems to correlate with disturbed blood sugar too but even when all other confounders are taken into account it's still not a good thing.
on August 19, 2011
at 09:59 PM
I've wondered the same thing. However, your numbers aren't too bad according to conventional medicine. 140 is a bit high, but certainly not high enough to warrant medication. According to my husband's doctor (and my mother- a nurse and former medical journal proofreader- confirmed this) says that the second number is the most important. If you're down to 130 over 60+'s after a few minutes, I should think that your numbers are perfectly fine.
When I'm calm, my numbers are generally 120 over 72. The first three times that they took my blood pressure and actually told me my results, they said I was perfect. The very next time, with no change, I smiled at the girl and said "Yay! Perfect!". She then shook her head and said "No, that's really a bit high. You're ok, though." Again, verified by mom, they've now lowered their idea of acceptable or normal blood pressure. So, I definitely think that there's a little bit of scam beginning, but not on the scale of the cholesterol scam. At least, not yet. I also don't think that it's a total scam. The problem with the high blood pressure issue is the same as the cholesterol issues, though. Both are the symptom, and the root needs to be treated.
on August 20, 2011
at 01:45 AM
Problem wit high blood pressure is I'm not convinced there has been legitimate study into the natural aging process and the changes that "should" occur in these stats. If I'm wrong please point me to some research that indicates those with somewhat higher ranges in the waning days of life do not actually require that for improved function. Same goes for a lot of "normal" hypothesis. Do we have these "normals" in mind when they are completely irrelevant? Just wondering.
on August 19, 2011
at 09:38 PM
When I cut fructose out of my diet and increased vitamin C (and presumably lowered my serum uric acid level) my blood pressure dropped down to 110/60 or thereabouts from 130/70 or so. I would be tempted to argue that what is considered to be normal is actually too high.
on September 14, 2013
at 09:50 PM
I agree with ED(type in all caps). I'm 55 and have way high blood pressure. I had a prior Doctor who put me on the pills and wanted me to come in for a VISIT ($100+) every month or so. The pills made me dizzy when working at hights or just working hard along with extreme sweating. He became angry when I told him "not taking pills and coming in for more visits". I wrote my new Doctor a "your not liable for my high blood pressure" note to put in my file and she was OK with that. Its all about the legal issues. I feel great. I recomend swimming, because its low impact and I've lost weight. The big plus is I'm not taking viagra at +25 a pop. And ... I'm still alive and kickin.
on November 24, 2011
at 08:22 PM
THE REASON YOUR B/P GOES UP AS YOU AGE IS SIMPLE.ITS SUPPOSED TO!! CHECK ON THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE EARLY ONSET ALTZHEIMERS. LOWER THE BLOOD PRESSURE AND IT DOESN'T GET TO THE BRAIN.YOUR BODY HAS EVOLVED OVER MANY YEARS.YOU BODY KNOWS WHAT IT NEEDS MORE THAN THE MARKETING DEPT. OF PHIZER.IF YOU WANT TO HAVE THE SAME B/P YOU DID IN HIGH SCHOOL,WEIGHT THE SAME.EVERYBODY HAS A RELATIVE WHO LIVED TO AN OLD AGE AND NEVER TOOK ANY MEDS. STAY OUT OF THE DRS OFFICE.USE YOUR BRAINPOWER.YOUR DOCTOR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.IF YOU ARE WELL HE MAKES NO MONEY. SO.. WE'LL FIND SOMETHING THAT REQUIRES MEDICATION/CHECK-UPS /TESTS/ AND ON AND ON.
on August 20, 2011
at 11:38 AM
Paleohacks seems to be populated by people that can't use google.
I googled hunter gatherer blood pressure and found a wealth of information.
BP doesn't rise with age in hunter gatherer groups.
I also found on the http://missinghumanmanual.com/ page 24 of Dr. Staffan Lindeberg's presentation at Primal Health showed that hunter gatherers have significantly lower blood pressure than Westerners.
Then there were a few google books that came up and they basically said the same thing. All in all, it took me 6 seconds to type the search term into google and 15 minutes of reading to find the answer you wanted.
Edit - by the way, you'll notice that I didn't really answer your question, but I did in fact find the answer based on "primitive" people.