blood pressure drugs

  1. 1 in 8 seniors fighting memory problems

    Fight memory loss and brain fog

    Seniors like to say "life begins at 60" and for good reason: Your golden years can be among the best years of your life.

    But for millions of older people, something else begins at 60 -- memory problems that can threaten to turn your best years into some of the worst.

    New government numbers show 1 in 8 Americans over the age of 60 are battling "brain fog," memory loss, or other signs of cognitive decline. And for a full third of them, the memory problems are so bad that they interfere with or limit daily function.

    Now, some people will tell you memory loss just means you're getting older... that it comes with the turf... and there's nothing you can do about it.

    But I know that's not true.

    In many cases, memory loss and other cognitive problems accompany aging, but they're not necessarily caused by aging. Just look at the over-60 crowd in the new study: Sure, they're getting older.

    But folks over 60 are also among the nation's leading consumers of prescription medications -- and many of those medications come with a notoriously high risk of memory loss and other cognitive problems.

    Blood pressure drugs, for example, can lead to memory loss. And cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are so notorious for this risk that the FDA recently issued a warning over it. Painkillers, antidepressants, and more can also do the job -- which is why whenever patients complain of memory loss, the first thing I do is look at any drugs they've been given by a mainstream doctor.

    (If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or even Alzheimer's disease, you need to know that the real source of the problem might be in your medicine chest. Click here to learn more.)

    In some cases, the drugs were never even necessary in the first place. In many others, they can be replaced by natural alternatives that can work just as well, but without the side effects.

    Of course, not all memory problems are due to meds. But that doesn't mean the rest are due to aging, either.

    Diabetes, for example, is known to increase the risk of dementia -- and another new study shows how elevated blood sugar levels can increase your own risk even if you don't actually have diabetes.

    In the study, brain scans of 124 patients who were healthy but had a family history of Alzheimer's revealed reduced metabolism in key regions of the brain among people with elevated blood sugar levels.

    Those are the same changes we see in Alzheimer's disease.

    What makes this truly frightening is that the "high" blood-sugar levels in the study aren't sky-high. They're at the high end of the normal range, or levels that millions of otherwise healthy Americans seniors live with every day.

    Other conditions that can cause, mimic or worsen memory loss and dementia include exposure to toxic metals such as lead, which is why I also frequently test for metals.

    You might be surprised to find out how much metal you have inside yourself right now -- and even more surprised at how much better you feel after detoxification.

    If you're suffering from a little "brain fog" yourself, don't ignore the warning signs. Work with a holistic doctor to find the cause -- whether it's medication, blood sugar, metals, nutrition, hormones, or something else entirely.

    PS: I'll have more on natural brain protection -- including the one supplement that can fight the damage in the brain linked to aging -- in Thursday's House Calls. Keep an eye on your in-box -- you won't want to miss this one!

  2. Blood pressure pills don't lower hypertension risks

    Blood pressure meds don't work

    Taking blood pressure meds? Then I have a study you just have to see -- because the pills you're taking every day might help keep your BP levels down... but you're still facing plenty of risks if you have even mildly elevated blood pressure.

    A new look at data on some 9,000 people who took part in one of four clinical trials on BP meds in the United States, Britain, and Australia finds that patients who took meds for their high blood pressure simply didn't have better outcomes than those who took placebos.

    And they didn't even have better outcomes than patients who received no treatment at all.

    All of the patients in the studies were very similar to the majority of people who now take blood pressure meds. They all had stage 1 hypertension -- or blood pressure that falls somewhere between 140/90 and 159/99.

    And after four or five years, there were only two real differences.

    First, patients who took drugs actually had a slightly higher risk of a heart attack -- although, to be fair, the increase in risk was so small it could have been due to chance.

    And second, the ones who took meds of course had a much higher risk of side effects. The side effects were severe enough that 9 percent had to stop taking their drugs.

    The new study, conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, is coming as quite shock to many people (especially the millions who currently take BP meds). But it's no surprise to me.

    The real problem with elevated blood pressure isn't the number itself -- it's the underlying cause. If you take a drug that just lowers the number without fixing that underlying cause, it's only natural that the risks will remain.

    That's why I recommend controlling blood pressure through a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes as well as some natural supplements.

    Your own holistic doctor can help find the approach that's best for you, but you can start with the vices: If you smoke, stop. If you're eating too much animal fat and salt, cut back (and increase your potassium intake while you're at it). If you're a couch potato, get more movement.

    And consider taking supplements such as hawthorn berry and gingko biloba as well as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10.

    Together, this approach won't just lower your blood pressure. It'll help make you healthier -- and that's what will really lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.

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