There is no shortage of drugs to treat high blood pressure.
No fewer than 14 different classes of medications have been approved for hypertension. And within those classes are more than 110 drugs.i
So why would any doctor advise you to take one that not only works poorly, but also raises your risk for the deadliest type of cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It has a five-year survival rate of only 7%. That makes it the deadliest type of cancer.ii
A major study shows that one common class of blood pressure medication dramatically increases the risk of pancreatic cancer in women.iii
The study followed 145,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 for five years.iv
Calcium Channel Blockers Raises Women’s Cancer Risk
By 2014, more than 800 had developed pancreatic cancer. The researchers found that subjects taking a class of drugs called short-acting calcium channel blockers (CCBs) were at far higher risk than those who took a different hypertension medication.
Subjects taking short-acting CCBs for any length of time had a 66% greater risk of pancreatic cancer. If they used the drugs more than three years, their risk was 107% higher.v
The medications include:
- Short-acting nifedipine
Dr. Zhensheng Wang led the study. He’s a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Short-acting CCBs are the “least effective” kind of blood pressure drugs available, Dr. Wang said. And that might be the root cause of their increased pancreatic cancer risk, he said.vi
Since people who take short-acting CCBs get poor blood pressure control from the medications, it puts them at higher risk of diabetes…And diabetes is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
If you take one of these drugs, you shouldn’t panic. Keep taking the medication until you can see your doctor. At your next appointment, show this article to your provider and talk to him or her about switching to another hypertension medication.
There is no reason to take short-acting CCBs when there are better treatments. You and your doctor might also consider natural remedies. Some people find that they work so well that they can decrease their medication dosage or even stop taking it altogether.
3 Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure
- Potassium. We recently told you about the importance of potassium to lower blood pressure. And we gave you the best food sources of the mineral. (Surprise: bananas are not one of them.)
- Saunas. Regular sauna use has been shown to cut high blood pressure risk in half. Start with five-to-10 minute sessions. Once you’re used to it, aim for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a week.vii
- Grape seed extract. The seeds have powerful antioxidant properties that lower blood pressure. You can find grape seed extract supplements online and in health food stores.
If you must take a drug to control your blood pressure, ask your doctor if a diuretic is right for you. They are “water pills” that reduce your blood pressure by flushing water from your system. They are an older class of drugs and are safer than other blood pressure medications.viii ix
Editor’s Note: Something strange was happening to pilots training to fly F-16 fighter jets. The ones who went into the program with elevated blood pressure were coming out a few weeks later with normal, healthy readings.
They hadn’t taken any medications… Their diets hadn’t changed… And they hadn’t made any changes to their exercise regimens.