In 95% of cases high blood pressure does not result from a specific organic cause and therefore is known as essential hypertension. Only 5% of hypertension diagnoses detects any organ damage.
Hypertension is the most important risk factor for stroke, diseases associated with aging, myocardial infarction, aneurysms, peripheral arterial disease, chronic renal failure and retinopathy.
In people who are genetically predisposedtoit, there is a tendency to develop high blood pressure as a result of one or both parents having it. It can also caused by a lavish life style, both from poor food habits and high levels of daily stress.
Therefore it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle, do some physical activity at least three times a week, and eat a healthy balanced diet.
However, the normal preventive measures are often insufficient. In such cases, doctors prescribe drugs to treats the symptoms ok high blood pressure for the rest of the patient’s life.
Researchers at the Dr. Rath Research Institute have shown that a chronic shortage of micronutrients plays a crucial role in modulating blood pressure.
Read more on › how to lower blood pressure in a natural way.
ARB: antihypertensive drugs potentially harmful
ARBs are chemical compounds that act as antagonists to the angiotensin II AT1 receptor, a multifunctional peptide that acts as a vasoconstrictor.
They are among the most prescribed drugs and are used for the regulation of blood pressure. This class of drugs includes losartan, valsartan, irbesartan, candesartan, eprosartan and telmisartan.
These drugs are used for the treatment of hypertension because of their property of inhibiting the action of angiotensin II, as an alternative to more traditional therapies, in particular those based on ACE inhibitors, that act through the inhibition of the enzyme responsible the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II.
The use of ARBs, introduced in the mid-1990s, quickly spread thanks to the alleged reduction in the incidence of various side effects such as cough and angioedema associated with taking ACE inhibitors.
As well as for the treatment of hypertension, in the early 2000s there were studies for the use of angiotensin receptor blockers in the case of heart failure, even in cases of previous myocardial infarction or diabetes type II.
However, during a press conference in Kyoto on July 11, 2013 officials of the Medical University of Kyoto were forced to apologize publicly because of the revelations that its research team had manipulated data in a study for the drug valsartan, produced by Novartis. (1)
On August 12, 2013, the Wall Street Journal, discussing the exposure of this fraud, stated : “Two surveys on university research for Novartis discover that the data had been altered to produce inaccurate results.”
In addition to handling data, were been accusations of a conflict of interest and, in August, The Lancet, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world, withdrew the study. (2)
Japanese researchers involved in the study, were promoting the benefits of valtarsan, but university research discovered that the data from this study had been tampered with, in order to create false results.
Data on adverse effects was omitted, and data about deaths from lung cancer and other causes were manipulated, showing a reduced risk of stroke, angina pectoris and heart failure. At this point doubt emerged that ARBs offer real benefits. So far, eight Japanese hospitals have announced they will cease using valsartan.
Dr. Thomas Marciniak, an investigator with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an expert on patient safety, had previously reported a potential risk of cancer associated with the use of ARBs.
The first concern dates back to 2010, following an article published in The Lancet Oncology.
While the FDA plays down cancer risks, Dr. Marciniak analyzed the raw data and concluded that an increased risk of lung cancer by 24% was reported.
For the FDA the cancer risk is negligible, but its statements are based on studies that had a duration of three and a half years, which is insufficient to determine whether a substance is carcinogenic, even if we wanted to establish the carcinogenic risk of cigarettes!
On 20 June 2011, a study from Taiwan, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, revealed that patients with diabetes who take ARBs such as candesartan and telmisartan (Micardis) experienced an increased risk of cancer.
In September 2011, this time in Germany, another study stressed the same problems, in a particularly vulnerable population.
Researchers have found a significantly higher rate of lung cancer in patients undergoing kidney transplantation who had smoked and used ACE inhibitors or ARBs for the treatment of hypertension..
The FDA, which regualtes America’s foods and medicines, did not take any action, while in Japan the hospitals withdrew valsartan.
New side effects of ARB blood pressure medications
In addition to all the bad news about manipulated data, Japanese officials have asked Novartis to warn doctors and patients that the drug Diovan (valsartan is the active ingredient) can cause five skin reactions five that are potentially life-threatening:
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)
Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN)
Anyone who develops a rash while taking valsartan should immediately contact a doctor!
Other side effects that may occur using valsartan and other angiotensin receptor blockers are:
– Dizziness, fatigue, low blood pressure
– Upper respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, stuffy nose
– Indigestion, diarrhea, stomach pain, back pain
– Joint pain, arthritis
– Swelling of your face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat (requires immediate emergency medical treatment)
– Potassium retention and storage (hyperkalemia)
– Kidney damage, liver damage
– Hair loss
What can I do? What kind of alternatives are there for treating high blood pressure?
As a patient you should NEVER stop taking a medication without first consulting your doctor.
This goes for valsartan and other angiotensin receptor blockers. That said, it is unlikely that many general practitioner have heard of the Japanese scandal.
Your doctor might not be aware that the FDA is ignoring the risk of cancer associated with the use of angiotensin receptor blockers. Our advice is to print out the article from the Wall Street Journal, which you will find at the bottom of this page, to show to your doctor.
Although most doctors believe that ARBs do not cause cough, some people are sensitive to this side effect.
For information you can read › clinically proven natural methods for control blood pressure: basic principles, research, clinical trials.
Share your experience with ARBs or other pressure medications. We would love to hear your story. Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
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