According to WHO data, more than 15 million Italians have high blood pressure (hypertension) and the majority avoids regular checks. It’s good to know that high pressure is the most significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Medications to lower blood pressure are among the most prescribed, especially ACE inhibitors, with an average distribution per 1000 inhabitants of around 116.1 doses per day.
Keeping the pressure under control sometimes can be quite complex and the doctor is obliged to associate multiple medications: for example, an ACE inhibitor and a calcium channel blocker.
All classes of drugs that lower blood pressure have significant side effects.
A new study  shows that women who take calcium channel blocking drugs, such as Norvasc (amlodipine), for 10 years or more, have a 2.5 times greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who have never taken the drug or have used other treatments for blood pressure.
WHO data of 2012 suggest that cancer deaths could rise by 93% over the previous period.
It is a sad fact that many of these deaths can be victims of cancer caused by taking a calcium channel blocker.
Basic information on calcium blockers
Calcium antagonists reduce blood pressure by preventing calcium from entering the cells that relaxe blood vessels. Since calcium is necessary in the function of nerve transmission and muscle contraction, the effect of blocking the calcium channel it is to slow nerve conduction and inhibit the contraction of the muscle.
In the heart and vascular system, this action results in reducing the rate and force of contraction, by relaxing the arteries and slowing nerve impulses in the heart. Although calcium antagonists have shown to be able to reduce the risk of stroke, they have also shown to be able to produce an increased risk of heart attacks.
Even though better tolerated than other categories of drugs used to control high blood pressure (beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and diuretics), calcium blockers produce some mild side effects such as constipation, allergic reactions, fluid retention, dizziness, headaches, fatigue and impotence (about 20% of users). More serious side effects include heart rhythm disturbances, heart failure and angina.
Examples of calcium antagonists are:
diltiazem (Cardizem CD, Cartia, Dilacor Xr, Diltia Xt, Tiazac)
nicardipina (Cardene, Carden SR)
Nifedipina (Adalat CC, Procardia XL)
nitrendipina (Cardif, Nitrepin)
verapamil (Calan, Covera-Hs, Isoptin, Verelan)
New data on the side effects of calcium antagonists
Previous studies have shown that drugs that lower blood pressure may increase the risk of some cancers. To evaluate the association between the use of different classes of medications for blood pressure and the risk of invasive ductal lobular breast cancers in women after menopause, a study was conducted in the metropolitan area of Seattle-Puget  .
Participants were women aged 55 to 74, 880 of them with invasive ductal breast cancer, 1027 of them with lobular invasive breast cancer and 856 without cancer.
The results showed that the use of calcium blockers for 10 or more years is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer both ductal and lobular breast cancer. This report does not vary significantly according to the type of calcium blocker used. On the contrary, the use of diuretics, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, was not associated with the risk of breast cancer.
The risk of developing breast cancer was 2.5 times (250%) greater among users of the substance blocking calcium channels.
Conclusion: better to prefer natural therapies to reduce blood pressure, especially for women
These findings provide a major cause for concern and emphasize the importance of using alternative therapies for blood pressure control in women, preferably non-drug therapies.
All classes of drugs lowering blood pressure have significant side effects.
You should make every effort to control blood pressure through diet, changing lifestyle and the proper use of natural products.
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