Lowering Blood Pressure is Key to Stroke Prevention

Deanne Stein Health Guide July 06, 2006
  • It amazes me how many drugs are available out there. There is literally something for any type of problem imaginable. There are pills to help you sleep, to stop leg pain and to even improve your sex drive. Then I hear controversy from some people who believe drugs aren’t the cure all, but could be the end all. Some drugs may correct a problem, but down the road could cause other problems.

    I say this, because my father is a prime example. He has battled high cholesterol all his adult life. Until about two years ago, he took medication for this problem. Then one day, he just stopped. He said he wanted to lower his cholesterol the natural way, through diet and exercise. I can’t say with certainty which is better, drugs or no drugs. I do know, my father’s father and my two uncles also had trouble with high cholesterol. They took the drugs, but all ended up having bypass surgeries anyway. Two of them, have since died. So far, my father hasn’t had a major problem. His cholesterol is still out the roof, but he tells me he feels great, better than he did when he was on the drugs. I still worry, though.

    The American Heart Association recently announced a new drug in its rapid access journal report. Researchers have discovered a blood pressure drug that may benefit heart patients with impaired kidney function. In a secondary analysis of the Prevention of Events with an ACE inhibitor (PEACE) trial, researchers found that the 16 percent of patients with reduce kidney function had a 27 percent lower risk of death from any cause when treated with trandolapril. Trandolapril is an ACE inhibitor high blood pressure drug, rather than placebo.

    Ace inhibitors reduce angiotensin II in our system, which in turn helps our blood vessels relax and expand. This lowers blood pressure, which makes the heart's job a lot easier.

    It’s an interesting debate, to take drugs or not. I sometimes wonder if there is a natural way to thin my blood, without taking coumadin. But the thought of another stroke is too scary for me to consider that. I will continue taking my medication until my doctor suggests differently. I’m still not sold on what my dad is doing. I want him to be healthy and if taking medication will keep him here with me longer, I’m for it. But it is a personal choice.

    All I can say is to please consult your doctor before taking or going off any medication.

    Information about Ace Inhibitors
    PEACE Trial