1. The non-condition that'll get you medicated

    New push to drug people for 'prehypertension'

    Being told you have "prehypertension" is about as ridiculous as a man being told he's "pre-pregnant."

    It's nonsensical. Yet not only does the mainstream keep pushing this as some sort of real diagnosis, they actually want to DRUG people for it. This time, they claim "prehypertension" patients who take their pills have a lower risk of stroke.

    You don't need me to tell you that strokes can be both notoriously unpredictable and potentially deadly -- so anything that REALLY lowers the risk is worth some attention. But don't start sniffing around your doctor's office for an ACE inhibitor or a beta blocker just yet...

    In the analysis of 16 handpicked studies involving more than 70,000 patients who took either BP meds or a placebo, researchers found that just 2.01 percent of patients on drugs suffered a stroke.

    That sounds low -- and highly effective -- until you see that just 2.61 percent of those who got a placebo suffered a stroke.

    That's an absolute difference of 0.6 percent.

    And if you think that's unimpressive, you should see the rest of this study -- because these supposedly heart-helping drugs didn't make a hint of a difference in the number of heart attacks... and not even a dent in the rate of cardiovascular death.

    Heck, these meds didn't even lower BP all that much: When all was said and done, patients who took the drugs had an average systolic (top number) reading of 130.5... while patients who took a placebo had an average of 134.2.

    That's almost no difference at all -- and still squarely in the "prehypertension" category, for those of you keeping score.

    Bottom line on hypertension -- "pre" or otherwise -- is what I've said all along: Any doc who focuses on just the number is doing you a disservice. It's possible to have perfect BP and be deathly ill -- just like it can be sky high and nothing to worry about.

    A good doc will look beyond the numbers and know when you might need treatment -- and, more importantly, when you don't.

  2. WARNING! Don't lower your BP after a stroke

    Survive a stroke and you'll probably be so relieved you'll do just about anything your doctor tells you to.

    But don't follow his orders too closely -- because they might just kill you!

    One of the first things a doc will do after a stroke -- or heart attack or anything else for that matter -- is lecture you about whatever bad habits you might have, regardless of whether or not they had anything to do with your condition.

    And of course, the chief nag is always blood pressure, blood pressure, blood pressure.

    But the latest research finds that stroke victims who rush to bring their BP into the supposedly "perfect" range -- a systolic (top number) reading of under 120 -- actually have a HIGHER risk of a second stroke, heart attack and vascular death than patients with systolic readings of between 140 and 150.

    For those of you following guidelines, that's supposed to be "dangerous" hypertension territory… yet they had the lower risk. And the lowest risk of all was found in stroke patients with systolic readings of between 130 and 140 -- or right at the top end of "prehypertension."

    Naturally, the researchers missed the point of their own study.

    Instead of admitting that maybe this BP business isn't all its cracked up to be, they merely urged docs to wait six months before trying to bring those levels down in stroke patients.

    How about this: If your BP is a little on the high side, stop worrying about it at all -- whether it's six days, six weeks, six months or six years.

    It's an overrated biomarker -- and worrying about it too much is clearly enough to give you a stroke.

  3. Scary new plan to drug teens

    A new study opens the door for pumping kids full of blood pressure meds -- even if they're perfectly healthy and even if they don't actually have high blood pressure by any standard definition.
  4. Prehypertension is a big, fat lie

    Researchers have found that up to 100 million Americans have needlessly been told they need to do something about their BP levels.

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