Diuretics for high blood pressure- I don't like 'em
- Created on Saturday, 18 May 2013 09:28
I wrote an article bashing diuretics for my retreat website:
That was some years ago, but I have not changed my mind or softened my position. Taking diuretics does not solve anyone's problems. It only adds a new problem to the ones they already have, which is pharmaceutical dehydration. It is a doctor-induced abnormality which guarantees more trouble down the road.
So, please read the above article.
But, now I want to discuss a recent research study about the use of diuretics for high blood pressure. Specifically, it compared the effectiveness of two popular diuretics: chlorthalidone and HCTZ. Which is better for treating high blood pressure? Well, they determined that they were both about the same at preventing death and cardiovascular catastrophes, but HCTZ incurred fewer hospitalizations for diuretic side effects: hypokalemia (low blood potassium) hyponatremia (low blood sodium) heart rhythm disturbances, and other problems. So, the gist of it was that HCTZ is the better choice.
But, I want you to realize how presumptuous the whole thing was. My contention is that diuretics do not prevent any deaths from high blood pressure, and therefore I wanted to pick apart that aspect of the data. But that they glossed over, insisting that patient outcomes were about the same in both groups. But traditionally in medical research, they include a “control group“ that doesn't get the treatment so that you can see what happens to people who don't get the drug at all. Usually, they just give them a placebo- a fake, inert pill.
So, did they use a placebo-control in this case? No, they didn't. I don't know that they ever have.
In this case, they glossed over the effectiveness of either drug, but digging deep I found it. Among patients taking either drug, about 3 and ½ out of 100 suffered a major cardiovascular event which resulted in hospitalization or death per year. So, at the end of the first year, 3 and ½ were so affected; by the end of the second year about 7 were affected; by the end of the third year, over 10% were affected, etc.
Are those good results? They assumed that they were. But, compared to what? They didn't say. And, they don't sound like good results to me.
"After adjustment for baseline differences, the patients treated with chlorthalidone and those treated with HCTZ did not differ in the primary study outcome: a composite of death or hospitalization with acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or ischemic stroke.”
So, they didn't differ, but how did taking diuretics compare to doing nothing? Again: they didn't say.
But notice that above they admitted that people taking diuretics for high blood pressure continue to have heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. Therefore, I have to ask: what good are they?
“However, patients treated with chlorthalidone were approximately 3 times more likely to be hospitalized with hypokalemia and approximately 1.7 times more likely than those prescribed HCTZ to be hospitalized with hyponatremia.”
So, this wasn't really a comparison of the benefits from diuretics; it was a comparison of the harms. And they decided that one was more harmful than the other. But, the idea that taking a diuretic, any diuretic, is a good thing was just presumed and was never tested.
When a person has high blood pressure, there are certain abnormalities that are responsible for it. Taking a diuretic corrects none of the abnormalities. It usually lowers the blood pressure some, but that's because the resultant dehydration reduces the blood volume some. But, it doesn't usually lower it that much, and that's why in the majority of cases doctors decide that the diuretic drug isn't enough, and they give the patient another blood pressure drug to go along with it.
By itself, a diuretic drug might lower the blood pressure about 10 points. It might knock a 150 blood pressure down to 140. Is it worth it to endure the harms from the diuretic to get that 10 point drop? I don't think it is, and they, the medical establishment, refuse to test it by doing placebo-controlled studies.
But, let's remember that in real life, people aren't limited to taking a drug or a placebo. They also have the option of doing constructive things to correct their high blood pressure. That would include ditching harmful substances that cause blood pressure to rise, such as salt, alcohol, and caffeine. It would include taking off excess weight, that is, shedding excess body fat and getting down to lean body weight. It would include exercising. It would include switching over to a high fruit and vegetable diet; eating mostly plant foods and severely restricting animal foods. And it might also include taking natural supplements that can safely help to lower blood pressure, such as magnesium, resveratrol, CoQ10, fish oil, melatonin, and more.
How do you think that would affect the death rate compared to taking a diuretic? They are never going to do a medical research study to find out, but I can just imagine the results.
The vast majority of people with hypertension have “walking hypertension” where they don't have symptoms from it, and the doctor just tells them that their blood pressure is high. These people do not need drugs. They do not need diuretics, and they don't need any other drugs. They need the above regimen that I laid out. Throwing drugs at them may lower the pressure some, but it will not restore them to health, and it will not reduce their risk of future problems. It is simply the wrong way to go.
So, if you are discovered to have high blood pressure, so long as it's not an emergency situation, it's time for you to say Sayonara to your regular MD and get started on a real health program. Forcing the pressure down with drugs only creates the illusion of improvement; it is not a real health improvement. It does not restore normality. In reality, it just digs you in deeper and guarantees more trouble down the road.
So, I wouldn't do it; I wouldn't recommend it. Stop everything if you have to and just attend to your health through natural means. Just say no to the medical monkey-business, because that's all it is.