The Pharmaceuticalization of Americans: Blood Pressure

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News headlines are filled with the new advice from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and other health organizations: 50% of all Americans now have hypertension, given the new target blood pressure of 130/80 or lower, and more Americans therefore require treatment of their blood pressure.

CNN reports, for instance:
“One in three Americans had previously been diagnosed with the condition, but now 14% more Americans will be diagnosed with high blood pressure. The new guidelines will classify 103.3 million people as having high blood pressure, while the previous guidelines placed only 72.2 million Americans in this category, according to the authors of the report.”

TV news reports (you know, network and cable TV whose biggest advertiser is the drug industry with direct-to-consumer drug ads) are filled with talk of hypertension, the “deadly, silent killer” to prompt people to run to their doctors to be saved by another prescription.

The halls of pharmaceutical companies Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and others will be filled with rejoicing employees, as these guidelines—just like the (inane) cholesterol treatment guidelines—expand the ranks of Americans who “need” treatment of their high blood pressure and thereby enrich the revenue flow, salaries, and perks for insiders. It means that more prescriptions for beta blockers (that contribute to obesity/weight gain and raise blood sugar), diuretics (that deplete magnesium and potassium and cause the occasional sudden cardiac death), ACE inhibitors and ARBS (that cause a variety of peculiar issues such as angioedema and abdominal pain), and other drugs will be handed to Americans—the same people advised to cut their fat, eat more “healthy whole grains,” eat in moderation, move more and eat less, and take their statin drugs. It means that TV drug ads will feature more blood pressure agents, but not inexpensive generic drugs, but newer, even “me-too” drugs that yield little to no additional benefit and are more costly. It means that doctors will be more likely to bully you into taking more blood pressure drugs to treat this “silent deadly killer,” just as they try to force statin drugs on their patients.

So it helps to remind people following the Wheat Belly or Undoctored lifestyles that:

1) Populations that eat no grains, no sugary foods like soft drinks, but consume plenty of fat and other wildly-obtained foods have essentially NO high blood pressure. Blood pressures in such populations are typically around 110/80 or lower, BMIs average 21, and they take no drugs for blood pressure.
2) Visceral fat surrounding abdominal organs and heart is a huge driver of hypertension, cultivated by insulin resistance resulting from grain and sugar consumption.
3) Vitamin D, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acid, and iodine deficiencies are major contributors to high blood pressure, deficiencies made common in modern life.
4) Dysbiosis or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth caused by prescription drugs (e.g., acid reflux drugs, antibiotics), antibiotic residues in food, herbicides/pesticide residues in food, chlorinated drinking water, emulsifying agents in processed foods, prolonged and profound emotional stress, and other factors allow blood pressure to rise. (Do doctors contribute to high blood pressure with their drugs? Yes, they absolutely do.)

In the Wheat Belly/Undoctored approach, we therefore recreate the situation of people who have no high blood pressure and address the above factors. The result: dramatic weight loss from visceral fat; reversal of inflammation (that you can track with measures such as c-reactive protein, TNF-alpha, and others); reduction in waist circumference; ideal blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, magnesium; correction of all myriad phenomena of dysbiosis . . . and reduction of blood pressure back to ideal levels in the majority.

Problem: The Wheat Belly/Undoctored approach does not run billions of dollars of TV ads, nor does it generate billions of dollars of revenues for anyone, does not pay six-figure salaries to good-looking sales reps to promote to doctors, but it essentially without cost except for the few dollars to buy common nutritional supplements and buy higher-quality foods.

And never accept the blood pressures obtained in the doctor’s office. Instead, obtain your own measures in the comfort of your home, such as blood pressures obtained with the wonderfully easy-to-use Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure-measuring devices.

Enjoy ideal blood pressure without drugs, while enjoying the many other aspects of good health that derive from these insights. But, as I often point out, if you are healthy, you are useless to the healthcare system. So go ahead and be useless.


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