Author: Dr. Quinte Naturopathic Centre on 21 January 2010
You may already have read or heard about the recent notice from the Heart and Stroke Foundation that taking two commonly prescribed blood-pressure drugs in combination may cause severe heart and kidney problems, possible organ failure, and even death.
On their own, the drugs are considered safe. But angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) should not be used at the same time. The foundation estimates that about 175,000 Canadians have been or still are taking the two together.
Last year, a Canadian-led study showed that taking ACE inhibitors and ARBs at the same time was only marginally more effective than taking either one singly. In addition, the side effects far outweigh the benefits.*
Lowering your blood pressure to avoid heart disease as well as other serious ailments is indeed very important. But you should know that it can be done effectively without taking drugs at all and without negative side effects. However, if your condition is serious enough that you need to remain on your medication, naturopathic medicine can work with you to ease the side effects of the drugs and/or help decrease the amount of medication you are taking.
Lowering blood pressure can also simply be a matter of both lifestyle changes — such as weight loss, healthy eating (especially consuming less salt), and exercise — and working with a naturopathic doctor to discover and remedy the root causes of your high blood pressure and balance your body with a customized regimen that can include supplements if necessary.
Happy Healthy Heart Month!
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