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PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Drugs aren't the only treatment for hypertension

Losing weight and performing breathing exercises can also help lower blood pressure

August 17, 2009|Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon

I was diagnosed recently with borderline hypertension.

My internist has prescribed the diuretics HCTZ and spironolactone. My reactions to those have been headache, nausea and intestinal upset.

We also have tried Coreg, Norvasc, Accupril and lisinopril. My reaction to those medications has been severe migraine-like headaches. Are there any alternative therapies for treating hypertension?

There are many ways to treat high blood pressure, but you will need to work with your doctor to make sure the tactics you adopt work for you.

As one reader of this column has noted, "Losing a little weight (even just 10 pounds) could bring blood pressure down to normal with no drugs, no expense and no side effects."

Another reader had success with alternative approaches: "I am a 65-year-old female, and my blood pressure was going up. I started drinking beet juice (I make it myself), and I do breathing exercises for 15 minutes every morning. I breathe slow and deep (less than 10 breaths a minute) for 15 minutes. It took me two months, but my pressure is normal."

::

Recently, someone complained to you of excessive sweating. That person might have an endocrine problem. I used to sweat so much that I would ruin my clothes. This stopped once I had my hyperactive thyroid removed.

Excessive sweating can be a symptom of too much thyroid hormone. We hope that girl's doctor has checked her thyroid function.

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Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. www.peoplespharmacy.com

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