What Should my Blood Pressure Be?

H/T The Peoples Chemist

Being alive raises blood pressure (BP), and you usually don’t need medications to adjust it. Unfortunately, far too many people have been drugged by their doctors to curb the natural rise. This is a dangerous game of roulette. Understanding what a normal, healthy BP is will help you make better decisions about medications and their natural alternatives.

For the first year of life, the average BP is 100/70. The top number is known as systolic and represents the amount of pressure placed on the arteries when the heart contracts. The bottom number is known as diastolic and represents the pressure when the heart relaxes. When you’re lucky enough to age, your BP will continue to rise and in most cases there’s nothing to fear.

For decades, Big Pharma has been pushing us to drive our blood pressure lower and lower, even pushing doctors to suggest a systolic of 120. These guidelines of “lower is better” has been at war with the scientific evidence, which proves that “lower is not better,” as we age. In other words, high blood pressure—as defined by anything over 140/80—is not a death sentence. Evidence for this was uncovered over a century ago.

In Circulation of the Blood: Men and Ideas, (Oxford University Press, 1964) cardiovascular research pioneers Fred Mahomed, Clifford Allbutt, Henri Huchard, and others demonstrated from 1874 to 1893 that hypertension may occur without overt renal disease and may even be present before hardening of the arteries or blockage, signaling that rising BP is no sign of illness. These early scientists coined the term, “essential hypertension” to describe the elevation of blood pressure as a normal, compensatory reaction to healthy aging. In a 1912 speech to the Glasgow Southern Medical Society, Sir William Osler made the following statement about high blood pressure associated with atherosclerosis: “In this group of cases it is well to recognize that the extra pressure is a necessity–as purely a mechanical affair as in any great irrigation system with old encrusted mains and weedy channels. Get it out of your heads, if possible, that the high pressure is the primary feature, and particularly the feature to treat.” These very early biological observations were the eventual basis for scientists to discourage the development of blood pressure drugs, and in 2016, The British Medical Journal published findings that confirmed these sentiments and warnings!

Independent researchers in Sweden conducted a systematic review and meta-analyses guided by recommendations of the Cochrane Collaboration. Comparing about 74,000 blood pressure patients, they concluded, “This systematic review and meta-analyses confirms if systolic blood pressure is less than 140 mm Hg, we found no benefit, but potential harm, with an increased risk of cardiovascular death.” The harm they reported was from prescription drug side effects, a classic story of the cure being worse than the so-called disease. In addition to putting a spotlight on the dangers of meds, it also proved that essential hypertension is no cause for drug use.

To assert that we all need to be lower than 140/80 is nothing more than a ploy to sell drugs. As a former pharmaceutical chemist, “The Peoples Chemist” saw this far too many times…and to further disprove the lower is better dogma of the medical community, you can look at lifespan among those who adhere to it. If high blood pressure were dangerous, then lowering it with hypertension drugs would increase longevity.

But the opposite is true! Studies in older people found that those who reduced their systolic pressure to less than 140 fared no better than those who reduced it to between 140 and 160. Worse, as seen in previous research, the medicated suffered undue side effects. These included obesity, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer as a direct result of using drugs like beta-blockers ace-inhibitors and calcium channel blockers.  Quality of life was eroded exponentially, despite the “doctor approved” lower is better numbers.

In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Suzanne Oparil, director of the vascular biology and hypertension program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine affirms the risk, saying, “Medications that lower blood pressure can have effects that counteract some of the benefits.  The mantra of blood pressure experts in the past has been that lower is better. Recent studies don’t seem to support that.”

In an article titled, “Hypertension Guidelines Can Be Erased, Panel Says,” The New York Times wrote that, “New guidelines suggest that people over 60 can have a higher blood pressure than previously recommended before starting treatment to lower it. The advice, criticized by some physicians, changes treatment goals that have been in place for more than 30 years.”

In sum, past, previous and current research supports the early theory of chemists and doctors that prescription drug side effects outweigh benefits of using meds to lower blood pressure.  Therefore, it’s completely natural for the first number (systolic) to be 100 plus our age. Diastolic pressure has shown no correlation to early death.  But if it goes to 100, you may or may not have poor kidney health. Otherwise, rising blood pressure is simply essential hypertension.

The exception to the rule would be if you have rising blood pressure coupled to obesity, heart disease or Type II diabetes. In this case, rising blood pressure may not be “essential,” but instead a dire warning! If you have rising blood pressure coupled to any of these, then hypertension can be a sign of illness and early death at worst—at best a sign that your lifestyle habits (smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, eating too much)—are eroding away your longevity.

The solution is working with your Naturopath, not drugs. At Pressing Matters, we have several treatment options that have worked for others and just might work for you.