“Dr. Sam – my blood pressure levels are all over the place and my doctor has me on various drugs to lower it. Before the drugs, I was around 160-180 systolic and with the drugs I’m around 120-150. Sorry, I don’t remember the bottom number. Unfortunately, I feel horrible with the lower blood pressure, shouldn’t I feel better? Honestly, I felt fine with the higher blood pressure. What’s the best BP levels for me?”
This is a very important question because ⅓ of adults over the age of 20 have high blood pressure. And the older we get, the worse the numbers become.
For example, over 60% of the population over the age of 65 has high blood pressure. For women, it’s even worse because of menopause.2,3
Sadly, 70% of the population doesn’t even know they have high blood pressure, which greatly increases your risk of death by 43%, in addition to other health ailments.2,3
Now, before I get to Linda’s question, here’s a quick chart on blood pressure levels.
As you can see, anything in the red that’s over 140/90 is considered “high” blood pressure. The yellow zone is better, but still a problem.
Ideal range is in the green, which is LESS than 120/80. I prefer around 110/70.
Now, the reason I like it lower is because studies1 have found that lower than 120 mmHG Systolic (top number) caused
- 43% lower risk of cardiovascular death
- 38% lower “heart failure”
- 27% in less deaths
- 25% lower deaths from “first” heart attacks
- 17% lower heart attacks
- 11% lower strokes
So lower is better, as long as you feel fine… and preferably done naturally – through specific diet, exercise and supplements.
Now, getting back to Linda’s question – she feels worse with the “lower” numbers because of the stupid prescription drugs. So, that’s the first thing I want to point out.
Secondly, she stated that she “felt fine” when her levels were higher. This is another problem with high blood pressure. You feel fine because there aren’t any real symptoms. That’s why it’s known as the “silent killer”.
So if you want to live longer, lowering your blood pressure levels below 120/80 is a huge benefit and a necessity for total health. I would skip the drugs and try to do it naturally.
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- Sprint Research Group, Wright JT, Jr., Williamson JD, et al. A Randomized Trial of Intensive versus Standard Blood-Pressure Control. N Engl J Med. 2015;373(22):2103-16.