WARNING: Blood pressure meds speed up mental decline

I’ve warned you about the dangers of blood pressure drugs before. And now a new study highlights another hazard associated with these medications.

According to research from the University of Florence in Italy, aggressively treating hypertension (high blood pressure) with drugs may speed up mental decline in older adults.

In this study, researchers looked at 172 older people with some level of cognitive impairment. Almost 70 percent of the subjects were also taking medication for high blood pressure.

The researchers recorded participants’ blood pressure and their performance on a mental test at the outset and then again a year and a half later.

They found the subjects with the lowest blood pressure had bigger decreases on their mental performance tests than those in the middle and high blood pressure groups.

When the researchers took blood pressure drugs into account, they discovered that people on medications experienced the most cognitive decline.

Of course, this finding turns conventional beliefs about “healthy” blood pressure on its ear.

I’ve talked about this before—last fall in the Reality Health Check “The blood pressure controversy big pharma doesn’t want you to know about,”  In that article, I told you about a study indicating the current mainstream 120/80 standard for “healthy” blood sugar is outdated. Those researchers suggested readings of 140/90 (or less) should be considered normal. And some people in the medical community are even calling for that ideal number to be 150/90 if you’re 60 years or older.

The bottom line is, forcing your blood pressure to an excessively, unrealistically low number with drugs is dangerous. If your blood pressure is truly high (and as you can see, based on recent research, it may NOT be), you’re much better off reining it in with a natural approach that targets the source of the problem—inflammation.

Inflammation is the root cause of so many diseases, from high blood pressure and depression to heart disease and dementia. And healthy fats, which make up the basis of my Hamptons diet, are well-known for their anti-inflammatory benefits. But in addition to incorporating delicious healthy fats like macadamia nut oil, salmon, and avocado into your regular menu, you should also take a good fish oil supplement every day. I recommend 3,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day. These steps will help reduce inflammation and normalize your blood pressure to the point where you may not even need meds.


“Effects of Blood Pressure in Cognitively Impaired Elderly Patients Treated With Antihypertensive Drugs. JAMA Intern Med. Epub ahead of print 3/2/15

Of course, if you’re already taking blood pressure medications it’s important not to stop taking them suddenly. Work with a physician skilled in natural medicine who can help you determine the best approach for tapering off of these medications safely. To find one near you, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine (www.acam.org, 800-532-3688).