Blood Pressure : what drugs are you on? Conclusion

drugsThis is the conclusion of a 4 part article on blood pressure : what drugs are you on?  Renin Inhibitors is the last BP drug to discuss.  Click here if you want to catch up on: Part 1 for Diuretics, Part 2 for CCBs & ACEIs and Part 3 for ARBs and Beta Blockers.

And lastly – Renin inhibitors

Renin inhibitors are a group of pharmaceutical drugs used primarily in the treatment of hypertension.  These drugs decrease blood pressure (BP) by preventing the formation of both angiotensin I and angiotensin II.

Angiotensin causes vasoconstriction and a subsequent increase in blood pressure. It is part of the renin-angiotensin system.  Angiotensin also stimulates the release of aldosterone, from the adrenal cortex.  Aldosterone increases sodium retention in the distal nephron, in the kidney, with the consequence of driving blood pressure up.

Renin inhibitors contain ‘aliskiren’ which is causing some controversy. The FDA issued a warning which has been in operation since 2012.

FDA warning!aliskiren warning

Concomitant use of aliskiren with ARBs or ACEs in patients with diabetes is contraindicated because of the risk of renal impairment, hypotension, and hyperkalemia.

Aliskiren-containing Medications  by
  • Amturnide (aliskiren hemifumarate, amlodipine besylate, and hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Tekturna (aliskiren hemifumarate)
  • Tekturna HCT (aliskiren hemifumarate and hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Tekamlo (aliskiren hemifumarate and amlodipine besylate)
  • Valturna (aliskiren hemifumarate and valsartan). Since 2012 Valturna has not longer been marketed.
Side effects of Aliskiren (Renin Inhibitors) by

Most common

  • Body aches or pain

    Body aches
  • chills & fever
  • cough
  • diarrhoea
  • breathing difficulties
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose & sneezing
  • sore throat
  • fatigue

    tired kitten
  • ear congestion
  • headache
  • loss of voice


  • joint pain in knees, ankles and feet
  • blood in the urine
  • joint pain, stiffness or swelling
  • Angioedema – swelling on face, tongue, throat etc.
  • incontinence
  • losing consciousness

  • lower back or side pain
  • feeling sick and vomiting
  • groin or genitals pain
  • sharp back pain below the ribs
  • odema of the feet or lower legs

Others reported:

  • Blistering or peeling of the skin
  • itching
  • joint or muscle painred eyes
  • skin lesions
  • irritated eyes
  • sores and/or ulcers, in the mouth or the lips
  • tingling of feet and hands
  • Sudden weight gain/loss

Do you know which of the drugs I have covered in this 4 part article you are on for your hypertension?  If not, perhaps it would be a good idea to take a look at the leaflet that comes with your medication.  This should give you the type of drug it is and the possible side effects.  Are you suffering from any of them?

Decreased libido in women and ED in men

sexual dysfunctionIt is just not acceptable if you have to put up with this side effect.  If you are suffering from sexual dysfunction ie. decreased libido and/or ED, then ask you doctor to change your medication.  This particular side effect is often passed off by medics as something you just have to put up with.  In fact, you shouldn’t have to put up with ANY side effects.  These medications are supposed to make you feel better, not worse.  Who was it who said “Drugs make a well person sick. Why would they make a sick person well?” I think it was Dr Abram Hoffer.

Blocking Drugs

Drugs that actually block an enzyme or other natural processes within the body, cannot be good for you.  These processes are in your makeup for a reason.  For instance, the enzyme that controls the production of cholesterol is a good example.

cholesterol is goodTake statins for example

Statins are commonly prescribed to those with hypertension.  These drugs completely knock out the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase associated with cholesterol production.  This will decrease your cholesterol levels for sure, but at what cost!  HMG-CoA reductase is naturally controlled and regulated by Magnesium.

Shutting down the production of cholesterol is ludicrous. How about giving a Mg supplement instead of a statin.  This will control the cholesterol production without side effects along with another enzyme which Mg activates called LCAT (Lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase).  This enzyme converts LDL into HDL.

The brain needs cholesterol

25% of the cholesterol in the body is in the brain and a recent study observed that the best memory function was in those with the highest levels of cholesterol. Prescribing statins to all and sundry is a real concern for brain health, apart from other side effects.  This needs investigation especially with respect to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, depression and other brain problems.

stress and MgLifestyle factors deplete Magnesium

Two major lifestyle factors that deplete your body of Mg are stress and prescription drugs. It is inevitable that the medical paradigms of always prescribing a drug over a natural approach, will lead to a Mg deficiency and without addressing this deficiency, further medical complications such as cardiovascular diseases will ensue.

“Diabetes is a Mg deficiency state”

Mg deficiency is also a common symptom in diabetes, so drugs will contribute to diabetes simply by depleting the body of Mg.  Renowned diabetes researcher Dr Jerry Nadler says: “diabetes is a magnesium deficiency state”. Dr David Williams – A medical researcher, biochemist, and chiropractor says: Because the “average” diet provides barely enough of this precious mineral, you may need a magnesium supplement, especially if you have high blood pressure. I recommend 500 mg per day.

befriend your drWork with your Doctor

If you are on hypertension drugs, try to work with your doctor to reduce them slowly and at the same time start taking a good quality Mg supplement.  You may have to educate your medic because vitamins, minerals and nutrients are not on the curriculum of most allopathic medical schools, maybe that’s because most medical education is controlled by pharmaceutical companies.

Mg and other supplements?

There are a plethora of vitamins and minerals that would be beneficial.  Choosing just a few to get you on the road to health is the key.  IMHO Mg is the king of all nutrients because it is necessary for every one of the  37.2 trillion cells in your body and the majority of the population is deficient in this vital mineral.  It will calm your state of mind, ease your depression, soothe your muscle aches and spasms, aid restful sleep and that’s just for starters!  This will give you the impetus to get your health back on track.

Vitamin K2 (MK7)

Other helpful natural supplements to take with Mg is vitamin K2 (MK7) which will help move excess Ca you have in your tissues from a continual lack of Mg.  Mg is necessary to keep Ca dissolved in the blood.  Being replete in Mg will stop further calcification and the K2 will help move Ca out of your tissues and into the bones.

KrillKrill oil , Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C

Krill is a superior supplement providing omega-3 fatty acids, essential for the heart, brain and body.  Other considerations are vitamin D3, if you are lacking in sunshine where you live.  Don’t forget though, Mg is necessary to activate the stored version of vitamin D.  Try Mg first, you may find your vitamin D levels will stabilize once you are replete in Mg.  Vitamin C is always a good choice, it aids numerous functions in the body but I think being a powerful antioxidant is its greatest attribute, so necessary with all the rubbish food we eat, the artificial sweetened sodas we drink and the pharmaceutical drugs we ingest.

Have you had a Mg deficiency test?

If your doctor offers you a Mg test, it will probably be the inaccurate total Mg serum test which is likely the reason why most medics think everyone has plenty of Mg!  This test is out of the ark and should be abolished for the more accurate but not ideal, RBC test or even better the Buccal Smear test which is, at the moment, mostly unavailable.

baby's foodWe are pristine at birth

If a baby is born healthy from a healthy mother, that infant will have all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals in its body ready for life.  All that has to be done to keep the child healthy is to keeps those nutrients in balance.  This is achieved by consuming mother’s milk initially and eating good wholesome non processed foods with no additives and nothing artificial or genetically modified.  Yes, this is a hard task especially in these times of plastic foods and artificially sweetened drinks but nature has given you the tools to counteract the toxins we consume, by way of our natural life giving nutrients.  Use them to keep you and your family healthy against all the odds!

junk foodAs for your blood pressure

Before you find you have high BP, get yourself a good blood pressure monitor and check your BP regularly.  If you see it is going up then find out the reason why.  Are you eating junk food and drinking sodas?  Are you watching TV for too long and not get enough exercise?  Is your job a sedentary one, on a computer all day?  How often do you walk?  Are you getting enough sleep?  Do you have digestive problems?  Are you always taking antacids like ‘Tums’ or worse ‘Nexium’?

dog walkingWhat to do

Try and do 10,000 steps per day.  Your first plan of attack is to take a Mg supplement because a pound to a penny, you will be deficient in this vital mineral and Mg will stabilize your BP before it gets out of hand.  Make sure you get plenty of exercise and eat unprocessed foods and do your own cooking when you can.  Take the dog for a walk, if you haven’t got a dog, perhaps you should adopt one and give him a home and you your life back.

No aspartame please!

Don’t consume artificial sweeteners like aspartame, don’t eat junk foods, plastic margarines and kick the sodas to the kerb!  Eat organic eggs, extra virgin olive oil (not for cooking), organic coconut oil or avocado oil which are better oils for cooking because they have a higher smoke point.  Avocado oil has a high smoke point of  271°C/520°F.

Don’t like avocado?avocado oil

Many people don’t like avocados including me.  Luckily, this oil has a very pleasant aroma but seems to be pretty tasteless and I wouldn’t use anything else.

questionsStart asking questions

I hope you have gained a little insight and are now starting to ask questions. Don’t leave your health to someone else.  They may be doctors but they can’t know everything. The medical professionals are also under strict rules.  If they go against protocol, they will be reprimanded. Those that buck the trend or don’t follow procedure, can actually lose their licence.  They are under a lot of pressure to conform, even if they know that what they have prescribed is not in your best interests.

Do your own research

The very best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is to DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH! You know how you feel much more than any health professional.  Research your particular disease or condition and make an educated judgement on what and how you should be medicated.  Take pharmaceutical research and studies with a pinch of salt.  It is a known fact that much of it is fake, false or well massaged.  Seek independent research and make sure the researchers have no conflicts of interest.

Don’t be afraid

Ches PowerDon’t be afraid to question something you’re not sure of.  This is your body we’re talking about and you need to be very sure that what you put into it will not make you worse. Work with your medic and be sure you get the treatment that you know is right for you. Try and find nutritional methods that will not be toxic to your body.  Drugs should be a last resort when all else natural fails.

Blood Pressure: what drugs are you on? Part 3

In Part 3 of Blood Pressure: what drugs are you on, ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers) and beta blockers will be looked at.  Have a look at Part 1 for Diuretics and Part 2 for CCBs and ACEIs

High BP 

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)

One of the most irritating side effects for patients taking ACE inhibitors is the persistent dry cough and one of the most serious, the possibility of angioedema.  The patient often complains mostly about the cough so may be given the alternative drug ARBs.  There is still a chance of the cough and the angioedema but these side effects are usually less common.

ARBs work in a similar way to ACE inhibitors but they do not inhibit the breakdown of bradykinin or other kinins, and are thus rarely associated with the persistent dry cough although it is still given as a side effect.  Like other antihypertensives, ARBs are associated with sexual dysfunction, but it is claimed that the incidence of ED is less likely with ARBs.

For those patients with narrowing of the arteries to the kidneys, they may experience diminishing kidney function which is not good!

What are the side effects of ARBs?

Common side effects include:

  • dizzinessdizzy
  • headache
  • back pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • pharyngitis
  • nasal congestioncramps
  • renal impairment
  • drowsiness
  • diarrhoea
  • hyperkalemia
  • low blood pressure
  • muscle cramps or bone pain
  • rash
  • dyspepsiainsomnia
  • insomnia
  • abnormal liver function
  • cough
  • myalgia
  • sexual dysfunction

Serious but rare side effects include:

  • Kidney failureliver failure
  • Liver failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Low white blood cells
  • Swelling of tissues (angioedema)

If a patient has experienced serious side effects with an ARB they should be prescribed different medication. Again pregnant women must avoid using ARBs because they have the same risks as ACE inhibitors, birth defects.

Other side effects?

It would appear that some side effects have been missed off the list.  Apart from an increased cancer risk and the chance of birth defects, there has been a law suit that’s just been settled for $300 million. According to ReutersDaiichi Sankyo on Tuesday said it has agreed to pay up to $300 million to settle some 2,300 U.S. cases accusing the Japanese drugmaker of failing to warn that its blood pressure medication Benicar can cause gastrointestinal illness.  So let’s just put these extra 3 side effects here shall we:

  1. Risk of cancer, in particular lung cancer
  2. Risk of birth defects (see Part 2 of this article)
  3. Risk of gastrointestinal illnesses
Cancer link?

There has been a link to an increased risk of lung cancer which Dr Thomas Marciniak, an FDA official brought up, but these concerns were dismissed by other FDA officials who are not asking for any further clinical studies.

FDA not interested?

The decision not to pursue further studies was made after the FDA combined different old studies looking at more patients and multiplying the statistics to find possible side effects.  This is a technique called meta-analysis. The problem is, according to researchers, if the studies have any flaws, meta-analysing just compounds them.  Also, Dr Marciniak said the FDA did not include cases of lung carcinomas as lung cancer which, of course, they are.

David & GoliathDr Marciniak’s David & Goliath approach

As Dr Marciniak works for the FDA, it is unusual for employees such as he, to bring these concerns to the public eye.  He warned other FDA officials that taking tabulated results from companies, was likely to produce unreliable results.  He wrote “Garbage in, garbage out”. Dr Marciniak suggests that these ARBs produce a 30% increased risk of cancer.  It is interesting to note that the Wall Street Journal seems to support Dr Marciniak’s “David & Goliath” approach.  It appears that Dr Marciniak is no longer with the FDA and I can find no reference as to why he left.

Millions are taking ARBs

Millions of high BP patients are taking ARBs with sales at $7.6 billion in the US at the last count.  Drug companies are increasing their profits year on year and are disinterested in looking into the long term effects relating to lung cancer.

According to Fox News: “In a 2010 study published in Lancet Oncology, Ilke Sipahi and colleagues at University Hospitals in Cleveland looked at five studies involving 68,402 patients and found that people taking ARBs had an 11 percent greater risk of new cancer overall and a 25 percent greater risk of new lung cancer, compared with patients who didn’t get the drugs.”

ARBs on the US market include:
  • Novartis AG’s Diovanbenicar lawsuit
  • Daiichi Sankyo Co.’s Benicar
  • Merck & Co.’s Cozaar
  • Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH’s Micardis
  • Avapro, from Sanofi SA and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
  • AstraZeneca PLC’s Atacand

These drugs are commonly used for:avapro

  • Hypertension (high BP)
  • Strokes
  • Heart failure
  • Following a heart attack
  • Chronic kidney disease?
A contradiction?

As for taking ARBs to help chronic kidney disease, I read this on the British Heart Foundation website which somewhat confused and worried me, especially as kidney failure is on the serious side effects list for ARBs.

“After you start the drug, you’ll need another blood-test to check your kidney function. In some cases, ARBs can upset the kidneys, especially if the blood vessels to your kidneys are narrowed (renal artery stenosis).”

Ask questions

albert einstein

If I were taking ARBs for chronic kidney disease (CKD), I would really need to know why a drug that has a possible side effect of kidney failure, albeit rare, is being prescribed for CKD?  The reasoning behind this would have to be really solid and independently researched for me to take this drug.  Apart from the  threat of an increased cancer risk and gastrointestinal diseases.

You can’t have enough independent research

There has been some research on this CKD medication but looking at it, the results appear a bit spurious especially as some of the data are admittedly missing as stated – They noted some limitations of the study, however, including the lack of information on actual levels of renal function, blood pressure, proteinuria, and some important patient characteristics. The study authors pointed out, too, that an observational study cannot prove causality.  I hope this is not the only study they are going by to prescribe these drugs for CKD?

beta blockerBeta blockers

Beta blockers, otherwise known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents are drugs that are given to a patient to reduce blood pressure.  They work by blocking the effects of epinephrine, better known as adrenaline.  Taking these drugs will reduce your heart rate so your heart beats with less force which should reduce your blood pressure.

The following are some of the more common side-effects.

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • A slow heart ratehallucination
  • Dizziness.  If your heartrate drops too low and/or you faint or feel dizzy, see your medic.
  • Nightmares and sleeping problems
  • sexual dysfunction or ED
  • visual disturbances/hallucinations
The Safety of Beta Blockers

There has been much controversy over the past few years, regarding the safety of beta blockers, especially with regards to using the drugs for non-cardiac surgery patients.  Many people may have died as a consequence of receiving this medication based on guidelines from what is now found to be discredited science.

Don PoldermansCardiac researcher fired

The cardiac researcher, Don Poldermans, who was discredited and fired back in 2011, was the chairman of the committee that drafted the guidelines for the European protocol and ‘standard of care’.  His studies were found to be flawed and the extent of his scientific misconduct has not been established but appears to be extensive.

Shady research

It is a sign of the times now that research specifically done by the pharmaceuticals, is often shady with conflicts of interest and research findings massaged for the benefit of the drug companies’ future sales of the products being studied.  A most prestigious journal wrote the following, just a part of a scathing article about the state of medical research today

Science has taken a turn towards darkness

Richard Horton“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”  Richard Horton, The Lancet

800,000 feared dead

As for the discredited beta blocker study, it is estimated that 800,000 patients in Europe may have died as a result of this misconduct.  The guidelines were set on the basis of this distorted research and if a physician decided not to follow the guidelines, he/she would be at risk of being medically reprimanded.

Independent studies

In one study,² use of beta-blockers before during and after surgical procedures found that those more likely to die because of the drugs, were patients with the lowest cardiac risk.  On the other hand patients that had serious pre-existing heart problems were probably helped by the giving of beta blockers perioperatively.³

The last of this series of posts on blood pressure : what drugs are you on, will discuss the last drug on our list Renin Inhibitors and a determination of the options you have if you find you suffer from hypertension.

Ches Power2.  Am Coll Cardiol. 2008;52(18):1482-1489
3.  BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2013, 13:52

Blood Pressure : what drugs are you on? Part 2

hypertensionPart 2

This is Part 2 of Blood Pressure : what drugs are you on?  Suffice to say, the list of drugs for high blood pressure is extensive so I am just covering what I consider to be the most commonly prescribed.

In part one of this article, diuretics were described along with their extensive side effects. The next most common BP drugs would be CCBs (calcium channel blockers) and ACEIs (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) which we will look at in this part.  But first, another story from Dr Carolyn Dean.

Dr Carolyn Dean is stunned!
Dr Dean
Dr Carolyn Dean

I first found out about the merits and miracles of magnesium (Mg) when I came across the book The Magnesium Miracle by Dr Carolyn Dean M.D., N.D.

This short story is enough to make you laugh and cry at the same time, but in fact, it is not funny!  On page 96 of The Magnesium Miracle, Dr Dean explains what happened when she visited an internist friend of hers.  She describes him as prescribing “recipe medicine” for his high blood pressure patients.

Sitting in on a consultation

He invited her to sit in whilst he consulted with one of his patients.  This patient was an overweight, highly stressed newspaper reporter.  He was suffering from seemingly unmanageable high blood pressure despite being on a plethora of BP drugs.   The patient said he was becoming very depressed and was concerned about his serious blood pressure problem.

A serious side effecthypertension

Dr Dean recognised that the medication he was on could cause depression, especially as it didn’t seem to be improving his high BP.  She also considered that the patient may be impotent, a common symptoms of many BP drugs.  He did in fact confirm EDthat he had been suffering from impotence since taking the drugs but had put it down to his stress.  Dr Dean also asked about the patient’s diet as he was considerably overweight.  Her doctor friend admitted that he had not given the patient a diet plan but had advised him to lose some weight.

A suggestion!

Then she suggested that magnesium may be of benefit as this mineral excels as a natural antihypertensive, a muscle relaxant, anti depressant and anti anxiety mineral as well as a sleep aid.

And the answer!!Mg glass

Her doctor friend stunned her with his next remark.  He said that if the four different kinds of antihypertensive drugs didn’t help, he would add magnesium and it always did the trick!!  She saidfrustrated that only her professional courtesy kept her from shouting “Why not prescribe magnesium first, before all the other drugs with their nasty side effects?”


Other BP medications

I covered diuretics in part one of this article so let’s look at two other common medications for hypertension:

CCBsCalcium Channel Blockers

So your medic has given you a hypertension drug known as a CCB (calcium channel blocker).  Does your doctor actually know what a CCB does within the body.  If he does, he should not be prescribing a CCB but a Mg supplement instead.  He has no excuse whatsoever not to bypass this drug and give you a Mg supplement, which will do exactly the same job as a CCB but with no side effects.  There must be another reason?

Mg controls Ca

If he does know what a CCB does, then he should know that Mg controls the ‘channels’ to our cells, allowing Ca into the cells only when the body needs it and ushering it out when the task it done.  Without Mg, Ca can flood and stay in the cell and cause cell death.  This doctor will surely prescribe a good quality Mg supplement instead of a CCB with all its side effects?

A possible reason why he won’t

My guess is that your doctor has no idea how important Mg is.  Even if he does, he would still prefer and be encouraged to prescribe a drug.  He could also be reprimanded for NOT prescribing the pharmaceutical’s hypertension drugs.  That could be why he won’t prescribe a natural mineral which will do the job cheaply and without repercussions and with the added bonus of enhancing the general health of the patient at the same time.  (With Mg you can also eat as much grapefruit as you like!!)

Side effects of CCBsheadache
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizzines
  • Arrythmia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slower heart rate
  • Drowsiness & fatigue
  • Swelling of feet ankles and legs
  • Increased appetite
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Tenderness or bleeding of the gums.
  • Sexual dysfunction (ED)
  • Weight gaindizzy
  • Flushing
  • Nausea
  • Breathing difficulties (shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing)
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • (Certain CCBs interact with grapefruit products)
ACE Inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme)

There is an enzyme known as ‘bradykinin’ which is a peptide (consisting of 9 amino acids), that dilates the arteries and decreases blood pressure.  ACE inhibitors increase bradykinin by reducing its degradation therefore further lowering blood pressure.  This seems to be an efficient way of reducing high blood pressure but it comes at a price.   As with all drugs, there are side effects, some of which can be serious.

Side Effects of ACE Inhibitors


  • A dry cough that refuses to shift
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Drug Induced Angioedema: a swelling in the throat, tongue and face which can happen suddenly and cause suffocation by blocking the airways
  • Diminished kidney function exacerbated by taking ACEs together with diuretics and/or NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

The last two symptoms can be very serious and treatment is needed immediately.

Dr James R Roberts

Dr James R Roberts, who is the director of emergency medicine at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital in the US says that there is around one case per week of ACE related angioedema, some proving fatal.  He says the condition is a “silent epidemic that is not appreciated by the public or by many doctors”.  Taking ACE inhibitors with diuretics and/or NSAIDS he describes as a ‘triple whammy’ which increases the risk of kidney damage significantly.¹

Birth Defects?

If you are planning a family or are already pregnant, the FDA has issued a warning about taking ACE inhibitors before or during pregnancy. This comes after a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine shows higher birth defects in babies born to women taking ACE in the first trimester of pregnancy.  It is already known there is a risk of birth defects when taking this drug later on in pregnancy but the study suggests that the risks may start earlier than previously thought.

This new study looked at ACE inhibitors in general and did not mention specific drugs but here are a few examples of ACE inhibitors:

‘Black Box’ Warningblack box warnings

A black box notice is the FDA’s strongest warning, is attached to ACE inhibitors alerting about possible birth defects when taking these drugs during pregnancy.

A spokesperson for the FDA says “The reason for that is that we’ve known for at least a decade, if not longer, that these drugs, when exposure occurs in the second half of pregnancy, are associated with abnormal kidney functions in infants, as well as sometimes abnormalities of the kidney anatomy itself”.


Remember in the list of side effects for the patient, abnormal kidney function was a possible problem with these ACE inhibitors.  It would appear that the unborn child could also suffer the same side effect.

Ches PowerPart 3 of this article will be dealing with ARBs, similar drugs to ACE Inhibitors, and Beta Blockers.

1. Roberts JR, Lee JJ, Marthers DA. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor angioedema: the silent epidemic. Am J Cardiol. 2012; 109(5):774-775.2.


Blood Pressure : what drugs are you on?

diureticsWhat drugs are you on?

The array of different high blood pressure drugs being prescribed today are increasing year on year.  There seem to be so many for a doctor to choose from.  Is your doctor giving you the best treatment for your blood pressure?

What drugs are you on?  I am going to go through the most common high blood pressure (hypertension) drugs that are being prescribed today.  Some of them have some serious side effects which possibly many patients don’t know about.

You should know the facts!know your meds

I think you should know exactly what the drug you are taking is doing to your body.  Is it always necessary to take a prescribed hypertension drug, or are there any other ways to control your elevated blood pressure?
Will your doctor offer you an alternatives to taking a drug with side effects? I doubt it!

But first, a story about Mike

But before I go into the first hypertension drug known as a Diuretic, I want to tell you a little story about a man called Mike in his 40s, who was suffering from some worrying problems, the worst of which was chest pain.  He first thought it was indigestion but when he started getting pains in the night, he started to get worried.

cardiologistMike consults a cardiologist

He consulted a cardiologist who said his arteries were a little blocked but not yet serious enough to have any surgery, but surgery would have to be done sooner or later.  He also had elevated cholesterol and the cardiologist advised him to lay off the butter and eggs.  He gave Mike nitroglycerine for his chest pain.  The cardiologist said he would prescribe more medications if Mike’s symptoms worsened.

Mike does his own research

Now Mike wasn’t the kind of person to take things at face value and he decided to do a little research for himself.   He found out that chest pain known as angina, doesn’t always mean blocked arteries and often it’s because of a mineral deficiency, a magnesium (Mg) deficiency being the most common.   Around 50% of heart attacks happen despite there being no evidence of arterial blockages, clots or other cardiovascular events.  Also, 50% of fatal heart attacks are suffered by people who have never had previous problems with a heart event.  The cause of these attacks can be from muscle spasms in the cardio system.   Cardiac arrhythmia can occur because of a serious sudden decline in vital magnesium.  The heart can then go into spasm or cramp, just like any other muscle which cramps up such as in your calf muscle.

stressWithout Mg, the heart will die!

This often happens to very fit people such as athletes and those with a stressed and high powered lifestyle, which Mike had. With the stresses of competing or training excessively, playing a hard game or training in very hot/cold weather and/or a lack of water and electrolytes, the heart can be depleted very quickly of vital Mg.  Without Mg, the heart contracts, but cannot relax which can result in sudden death.  Remember that Mg is the relaxation mineral, calcium (Ca) is the contraction mineral.  These two minerals work together and should be in equilibrium to keep your muscles working efficiently.  It is the most common that Ca is in abundance whilst Mg is depleted, which will give you a Mg deficiency by default.

Mg and hypertension

Mike also found out that Mg is a natural blood pressure (BP) regulator and can help to keep BP at its optimum.  Mg can be used to control high BP and restricts the amount of calcium (Ca) getting into the cells.  Ca should be mainly outside our cells whilst Mg should be inside them.  Mg opens the channels that allow Ca into the cell when necessary and Mg ushers Ca out of the cells when the task is finished.  If Ca is allowed to stay in the cell, it will cause cell death.

I'm a doctorMike returns to his cardiologist

Armed with all his research Mike returned to his cardiologist.  Whilst waiting to be seen by him, the nurse took Mike’s BP and it was elevated.  This surprised Mike because at home it was usually close to normal.  After being informed of Mike’s BP reading, the cardiologist came marching into the room and starting talking about BP medication.

(If on the first reading, your nurse or medic says your BP is elevated, ask for a second reading and either close your eyes or look at a blank wall during the process. There is a high probability the 2nd reading will be lower (white coat syndrome). 

What a response!

Mike responded by suggesting Mg.  The cardiologist was visibly annoyed and stated that Mg was used to control pre-eclampsia in pregnant women because it had no side effects. He continued that there were plenty of good hypertensive drugs for everyone else.  Mike said that he would also prefer not to have any side effects.  With that, the cardiologist gathered up his paperwork and flounced out of the room retorting as he went that Mike should come back when he was ready to accept medication for his cardiovascular disease.

Mike starts taking MgMg glass

Mike started to take a good quality Mg supplement and changed his diet to include foods with Mg.  Living a pressured life, he also worked on lowering his stress levels and upped his Mg dose when he knew he would be having a stressful day.  He started working out and increased his Mg intake to alleviate the effects of sweating and excessive exertion.

After 12 weeks…

Within 12 weeks, Mike was a new man.  His chest pain had gone and he felt calmer and able to cope with all that life threw his way.  His blood pressure was normal and his energy was up.

Avoid the treadmill!

Try to avoid getting on the treadmill of BP drugs unless it cannot be controlled naturally.  Once on them, most patients are on them for life!  Question your medic if your BP is supposedly “pre-hypertensive” ie. 120-139 over 80-90 and BP medication is suggested.  This “pre-hypertensive” is a relatively new concept.  IMHO it is aimed at getting even more people on BP medication than is really necessary.  Don’t forget, we are all different and our BP readings will vary from one person to another.  The elderly will often naturally have a slightly elevated BP because their arteries may be a little less pliable with age.


Common BP drugs

Diuretics (water pills)

The first drug that Mike would have been prescribed would likely have been a diuretic. These are the first drugs often used when patients are initially diagnosed with high BP.

diuretic drugsFlushes water from the body

Sometimes called ‘water pills’, this drug flushes water from the body, the theory being that if you have less water and sodium in your bloodstream, then the blood vessels will be less pressurized.  This is a rather hit and miss procedure because there is no way of telling how much water the patient carries without doing a series of tests.  If the patient is already dehydrated, diuretics could worsen the problem by thickening the blood and exacerbating clot related conditions.  Strokes and DVT (deep vein thrombosis) come to mind.

Dehydration causes hypertension

Dehydration actually causes blood pressure to rise as the body tries to compensate for the loss of water by constricting blood vessels.  The body also lessens the moisture lost from sweating and breathing.  If blood vessels are constricted you will have higher BP.

Some diuretics deplete potassium

Patients are told that the side effects of diuretics can be a potassium (K) deficiency because diuretics induce K to be flushed through the system.  K pills are often prescribed to counteract this loss but what is not realized by many medics is that Mg is drained from the body along with the K!  A Mg deficiency leads to constricted blood vessels which are more likely to spasm, a forerunner to hypertension.  So the diuretic treatment actually worsens the problem.  How many of you have been on a diuretic which has actually cured your high BP?

Potassium needs Mgpotassium

Another ill-considered problem is that replacing the deficient K will not work without replacing the deficient Mg. Without Mg the body is unable to transport K to the cells.  Very rarely is Mg given as a supplement along with K.

Diuretic side effects and Mg deficiency

The most common side effects of a diuretic is muscle cramps, weakness, joint pain, gout, heart arrythmias, headaches, dizziness, increased blood sugar, gastric upsets, impotence, lethargy.  It’s not a coincidence that all of these conditions are symptoms of a Mg deficiency!

Types of Diuretics (according to

Meanwhile, have a look at the information slip in your medication box and get yourself educated about what is going into your body and the possible side effects.  If you do suffer side effects, ask you doctor to change your medication to a drug which doesn’t exhibit the symptoms you’re having.  Discuss possible natural alternatives with your doctor, that’s if he/she is receptive to it.  Don’t forget, most doctors have scant knowledge of vitamins, Ches Powerminerals and nutrients.  Many don’t take kindly to patients questioning the treatment they have been prescribed.

In Part 2 of this article, I will go through some other hypertension drugs you may be prescribed.

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