Should You Take Drugs for Mildly Elevated Blood Pressure?

Medication for high blood pressure is extremely common. But who needs it? How high should the blood pressure be before medication is indicated? Usually a blood pressure above 140/90 is said to be high and a lot of people are then put on drugs.

But a new big review of all studies shows that it’s unclear if medication helps when blood pressure is only mildly elevated (140-159 systolic and/or 90-99 diastolic). It’s likely that the risk of side effects may outweigh the potential benefits in these cases.

Eating less sugar and starch may be a healthier way of lowering a mildly elevated blood pressure. A significantly reduced blood pressure has been shown in a number of studies testing low carb diets for weight loss (lower than on other weight loss diets). And I see it regularly in my patients.

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70 Comments

Top Comments

  1. Ruby
    I am a living proof. I was never obese, not even overweight, and exercised regularly, yet I had what a number of doctors considered high BP (avg. 140/85) and was advised to take drugs ASAP. I ignored them and reduced my sugar and grain intake instead. Just a few months down the road, my BP averages 120/70.
    The "downside" of this advice is that it will not generate any money for doctors, big pharma as well as sugar and grain producers :-)
    Read more →
  2. Galina L.
    I convinced my mom to go on a LC diet. She is 75,lives in Moscow, and her BP without meds was around 160/100. In 3 day it went 125/80 and still there. She is overweight, on LC she lost only 23 lb, but her energy got much better , GERD greatly improved, she didn't get a seasonal flu during previous year.
    Read more →
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All Comments

  1. You can download a free personal copy of the paper
    Zinc, copper, and blood pressure: Human population studies
    I haven't read it yet but my money would be on increasing copper a little (2mg/d) to counterbalance excess zinc.
    This is not to be regarded as medical advice as I haven't yet read what the paper says.
  2. Bar Kohavi
    thanks ted :)
  3. blerim
    im 32 yrs my Bp 150/ 80 doctor says me to take pils RELIKA 4 mg anD NEBILEN 5 miligram and i started to use 3 days also i do not wannt to use for next life time . pleas tallme what to
    Reply: #54
  4. Zepp
    Those pills seems to not be in sale in Sweden, so we dont know what those is good for!

    And to the rest.. do you have any other conditions.. how mayby is the real reason for your condition?

    Nebilen is probably a Beta blocker.. its often used to lower ones pulse.

    There is no information on RELIKA on the whole Internet, you must have read wrong?

  5. These dietary changes are a most important aspect of your high blood pressure remedy.
    The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension),
    is a highly endorsed diet program to follow in controlling and possibly eliminating hypertension.
    Once your reading goes over 140 systolic (top number), or 90 diastolic (bottom number), your risk of
    cardiovascular disease increase.
  6. What is the most affordable and accurate personnel blood pressure monitor?
    Reply: #57
  7. Ted Hutchinson
    If you live in the UK then a Lloydspharmacy Blood Pressure Monitor and Cuff £14.99 is perfectly adequate. Several times I've taken mine with me to an appointment and checked the pressure on my Llodspharmacy BP monitor with the reading from the nurse at the surgery using their monitor and I've always found the special offer Lloyds monitor is consistent with the readings from the Surgery.monitor.

    Do be aware that correcting potassium, magnesium and vitamin D3 levels will almost certainly drop BP readings. Most of us consume only about half the 4700mg potassium adequate intake and would benefit from increasing potassium by 2g daily.

    Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease:

    If you really can't manage the 7~9 portions of vegetables daily then at least make up the difference with potassium bicarbonate which is available as a food grade powder from EBAY or consider Potassium Bicarbonate capsules.

    SuperhumanRadio has a useful programme on potassium.

    and there is a supporting blogpost here The Macro-Mineral Alphabet & the Potential Health Hazards of Diet-Induced Latent Acidosis

    Reply: #58
  8. Ted Hutchinson
    Useful summary of dietary suggestions for correcting high blood pressure.
    Paleo and Hypertension
  9. Bob
    Great article except how long and how strict does a person need to be? I mean does it takes months for your BP to get a normal pressure? And in the meantime, can you be risking your life? The strain on your heart, etc. while trying something that may or may not work? I had to lose weight. My heart doctor but me on pills and I changed the diet, exercised more and I did cut out sugar/ etc. I dropped weight in 6 months. My heart doctor then slowly took me off the pills. I'm now fine and have maintained healthy weigh and low BP. I think consulting a professional before trying something. If you not you may end up in an ER.

    Thanks

  10. Julio Guimaraes
    Hello all, I have a question about LCHF diet. I have tried this diet many times and I really lost weight. The problems are:
    1 - My cholesterol goes high
    2 - My Uric Acid also goes high
    3 - My faeces get too hard

    What to do?
    Anybody can help?

    Reply: #61
  11. Zepp
    1, How high.. moste peopel get higher HDL.. thats good!

    2. Its a high fat diet.. not a high meat diet!

    3. Its comon in the begining, eat more low starchy veggies, use some home cures like pshylium seeds, magnesium, to make the transition!

  12. Galina L.
    Devil is in details most of the time. For example, many people gets too hard feces from eating too much cheese. Magnesium should address that issue.
  13. Mohamed elsagheer
    My bp was 150/ 95 average , my doctor told me , take atakand plus so my pb becam 130 /80, but I am stop taking any drugs from 3 weeks ago and my bp 140/ 85 average
    Without drugs , my question is. , is this Deserve to take drugs ?
  14. RosC
    I normally have low blood pressure (about 100/75) which has been exacerbated since I started the LCHF diet (going into 4th week). I exercise in the morning and I am trying intermittent training on the exercise bike (3m warm up, 30s sprint 30s normal, 3m cool down for a total of 15min, followed by about 30m of weight training, abs and stretching) and for 2 mornings in a row my bp has been 80/50). Feeling very fatigued, but able to lead a normal life. Is this due to the lack of carbs in my diet and the exercise combined? Could I be dehydrated? I do drink more water than normal (1- 1.5 litre a day) and about 4 cups of tea/coffee a day with 1 sugar. Any advise?
    Reply: #65
  15. Zepp
    Make sure you get the salt you need.. becuse your body regulat blood pressure by taking up salt, and water comes with it by osmos.. with more water your blood volym get higher and your blood presure rises.

    And to that.. more HDL says to make a better vasodilation.. and one get more HDL by a fat diet and excersise!

    Whit more salt you get more water in your blood.. but its temporary.. if your body dont like it.

  16. Galina L.
    It takes time to be adapted to the exercising in a fasted state or while eating a LC diet .Absolute minimum is 3 weeks, but it took me longer - I am not very young. I would say it is worth trying - you will get much more endurance as a result.
  17. Alex Lim
    I have started on the LCHF diet about 2 weeks ago and got great numbers from my blood GI readings. Been a Type 2 diabetic on Glicazide 6omg once a day and Metformin 800mg twice a day since 2010.

    I have managed to contain the GI numbers while at the same time reduced my medicine intake to just Glicazide 60mg once a day and still manage to get below 5 mm/ol (90) morning readings most of the time and the occasional 5.5 (99) once or twice a week.

    Problem is my blood pressure has gone up to as high as 169/90 and at times even higher. The average readings during the daytime is almost always about 140 on the systolic and the diastolic will remain below 80 for most time.

    I am afraid my doctor will start me on hypertension medication soon. :(

  18. Trent Black
    In the USA, MEDLINE, our wonderful drug database, says that flax oil is a blood thinner. A healthy blood thinner (but not for bleeders.) Here is a book that explains what to expect and how to do it.

    It works fast, so if you are on high blood pressure medication, check it daily. It fits in well with the Diet Doctors suggestions.

    https://sites.google.com/site/anorexicfreaks/illnesses-eliminated/hig...

  19. CatalinRo
    A lot of people with mild elevated blood pressure like 140/90 are putted on drugs such as beta-blockers with serious side effects including sexual performances. Why people accept to take drugs while studies clear show no decreasing in mortality or any cardiac related events.
  20. Didar Singh
    Good Sir,
    My bp is 140/100 and heart beat is 99.Pls advice.
    Thanks.
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