Almost everyone with type 2 diabetes will eventually develop high blood pressure.
And if you have type 2 diabetes and your blood pressure is slightly above normal, your doctor will put significant pressure on you to take blood pressure medication.
New research now shows that you must resist this pressure. Because these “medications” can kill you.
In January 2016, a Swedish PhD student and his professor from Umea University published an alarming review of the scientific literature that shows again that blood pressure medication is either useless or dangerous for certain classes of people.
They reviewed 49 of the best studies on the effect of blood pressure medication on patients with type 2 diabetes.
Altogether, these studies had 73,738 subjects. They included only well-designed scientific studies that treated their subjects with drugs for at least a year. The result held for all types of blood pressure medications.
These are their findings:
• If your systolic blood pressure score is more than 150 mm Hg before treatment, and you start taking blood pressure medications, you are less likely to die than if you don’t take medications.
If it is less than 140, and you begin taking medications, you are more likely to die than if you don’t take medications.
• If your systolic blood pressure score is more than 140 mm Hg before treatment, you are less likely to die of a heart attack if you take medications. If it is less than 132, you are more likely to die of heart attack if you take medications.
• If your systolic blood pressure score is more than 150 mm Hg before treatment, you are less likely to die of all cardiovascular causes if you take medications.
If it is between 140 and 150, the treatment won’t make a difference at all, and if it is below 140, you are more likely to die of cardiovascular events if you take medications.
To put this in simple language: if you have diabetes and a moderately high blood pressure between 120 and 140, all types of blood pressure medications will increase your risk of dying of either a cardiovascular or some other health event.
A previous study, published in the journal JAMA, reached similar conclusions, but added stroke and kidney disease to the list of deadly events from which diabetics with moderately high blood pressure treated with blood pressure drugs may die.
Why does this happen?
Blood pressure treatment probably limits blood flow to organs. If organs are permanently supplied with too little blood, they struggle to function and begin to die.
This matters less when your risk of death is already very high, such as when you have both diabetes and extremely high blood pressure (above 150 mm Hg), but it certainly increases your risk of dying when your overall risk of dying is lower because your blood pressure is only moderately high (below 140).
Why is this so important?
People with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of diabetes.
Because these two conditions aggravate each other, many official medical guidelines advise that doctors start treating blood pressure before it becomes a problem. That is, they treat blood pressure to prevent it from becoming a problem rather than because it is already a problem.
This study shows that this advice for preventative treatment is wrong because it might end up killing diabetics.