Blood Pressure Meds May Increase Risk of Cancer—12 Natural Ways to Drop Levels

Monday Oct 14 | BY |
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Blood Pressure

Medications can keep your blood pressure levels under control,
but they can also increase your risk for some types of cancer.

If you’re taking blood pressure medications, most likely you trust that they’re good for you. They’re supposed to help lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke, which many studies have shown that they do with a fair amount of success.

Another recent study, however, has raised a red flag concerning one type of blood pressure medication. Here’s more, along with some natural ways to reduce blood pressure, in case you want to see what you can do without drugs.

What the Study Found

For the study, researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, gathered data on women between the ages of 55-74 from the 3-county Seattle-Puget Sound metropolitan area. A total of 880 of them had invasive ductal breast cancer, 1,027 had invasive lobular breast cancer, and 856 had no cancer and served as the controls. They then looked at the women’s exposure to blood pressure medications to see if these had any affect on their risk of breast cancer.

The results showed:

  • Women taking calcium channel blockers for more than 10 years had an over two times higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who weren’t taking the drugs.
  • No other blood pressure medications—including diuretics, beta-blockers, and angiotensin II antagonists—had any relationship to breast cancer.

“While some studies have suggested a positive association between calcium-channel blocker use and breast cancer risk,” the researchers wrote, “this is the first study to observe that long-term current use of calcium-channel blockers in particular are associated with breast cancer risk.”

Other Meds May Increase Risk of Skin Cancer

Experts say we need more studies before we can be sure about this connection, but obviously, it raises some concern for women taking calcium-channel blockers. Currently, high blood pressure drugs, in general, are the most-prescribed drugs in the U.S.

If you take these drugs and you’re concerned, check with your doctor. You may be able to switch to one of the other types of medications that are not connected with breast cancer risk. Be warned, however, that other studies have indicated some of the other blood pressure meds may increase risk of lip cancer. A 2012 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that Caucasian patients who regularly use commonly prescribed blood pressure medications may be more than four times more likely to develop lip cancer than those not taking the medications.

For this study, researchers looked at more than 700 lip cancers among nearly 24,000 subjects taking high blood pressure medications, including hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL and Microzide) and triamterene (Dyazide, Maxzide), both diuretics; and nifedipien (Adalat, Nifedical XL, Nifeditab CR, Procardia), which relaxes heart muscles and blood vessels. These drugs also cause photosensitivity, making skin more vulnerable to the damaging effects of UV rays.

Investigators found that among subjects who used the drugs for five or more years, hydrochlorothiazide users had more than four times the risk of developing lip cancers as non-users. Those taking hydrochlorothiazide and triamterene combined were almost three times as likely, and subjects taking nifedipine were 2.5 times as likely.

Natural Ways to Reduce Blood Pressure

If you want to try more natural ways to bring your blood pressure down, try one or more of the following:

  1. Pomegranates: Studies have shown they can inhibit ACE, which can lead to high blood pressure. Drinking pomegranate juice also reduces oxidative stress.
  2. Potassium: Eat more sweet potatoes, dried fruit, and bananas to boost potassium levels, which can help lower blood pressure levels.
  3. Raisins: A study from the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center found that snacking on raisins three times a day could mildly lower blood pressure, compared to other types of snacks.
  4. Kiwis: Another study showed that eating three kiwis a day lowered blood pressure.
  5. Soy foods: Tofu, soy nuts, miso, edamame, tempeh, and soymilk are all linked with decreased blood pressure in studies.
  6. Hawthorn berry: Give it 4-8 weeks to create an effect. For some patients, it works.
  7. Walk: Exercise can lower blood pressure by 4-9 mm Hg, and can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which will bring blood pressure down.
  8. Reduce sodium: Cut back on processed foods to reduce your sodium intake.
  9. Drink moderately: In small amounts, alcohol can lower blood pressure by 2-4 mm Hg, but if you drink too much (more than one a day for women, two a day for men), you can actually increase your levels.
  10. Don’t be a workaholic: Putting in more than 41 hours per week at the office raises your risk of hypertension by 15 percent, according to a University of California study of 24,205 residents.
  11. Take CoQ10: In a review of 12 studies, this supplement was found to reduce blood pressure—systolic pressure by up to 17 and diastolic pressure by up to 10. Take 60-100 mg up to three times a day.
  12. Drink hibiscus tea: Researchers from Tufts University found that those who sipped three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic pressure by 7 points in 6 weeks. Those on placebo improved their readings by only one point.

Will you switch medications after hearing about this study? Please share your thoughts.

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Sources
Christopher I. Li, et al., “Use of Antihypertensive Medications and Breast Cancer Risk Among Women Aged 55 to 74 Years,” JAMA Intern Med., August 5, 2013, http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1723871.

“Blood Pressure Medication Ups Risk of Lip Cancers,” SkinCancer.org, Winter 2012, http://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/winter-2012-29-4/blood-pressure.

Amanda L. Chan, “Raisings and 7 Other Foods That Could Naturally Lower Your Blood Pressure,” Huffington Post, March 28, 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/raisins-and-7-other-foods-lower-blood-pressure_n_1382535.html.

“13 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally,” Prevention, April 29, 2013, http://health.yahoo.net/articles/blood-pressure/photos/13-ways-lower-blood-pressure-naturally#1.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Thanks for the tips. I have been struggling with hypertension for 16 years, ever since I had my first child. I am always a little frightened about the medications that I have to take because if they are not safe to use during pregnancy how can they be safe for me to use at any other time.

  2. Sasha says:

    Blood pressure medication will lead to cancer, it is good to have alternate medications for blood pressure.

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