If you’re taking a common class of blood pressure drugs known as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), or know someone who is, you’re going to want to stop and read this.
According to a study, published in the journal Lancet Oncology, if you are on an ARB there’s a small, but significant increase, in your risk of getting cancer.
Researchers say that for every 105 people taking one of these drugs we will see one extra case of cancer over four years. And while the numbers are admittedly small, let’s face it a raised risk for cancer—no matter how small—is never insignificant when you’re the one at risk.
At least 3 out of 7 ARB blood pressure drugs can raise cancer risk
Researchers focused in on three out of the seven FDA approved ARBs
- telmisartan (Micardis),
- losartan (Cozaar),
- and candesartan (Atacand).
But it’s not known if the other ARBs not included in the study—Avapro, Diovanm Teveten, and Benicar—cause the same elevated cancer risk.
Scientists are also unsure exactly what it is about ARBs that might elevate your risk of cancer. One theory is that the drugs might spur new blood vessel growth, which it turn could fuel tumor growth.
The truth is, this study raises a lot of questions and doesn’t offer nearly enough answers. But one thing is crystal clear and that is getting off these drugs should be a top priority.
Work on naturally reducing your blood pressure
There are some things you can try to bring your blood pressure down on your own. Mild daily exercise and dropping just a few pounds can make a major difference, even possibly helping you to get off your blood pressure drugs for good.
Focus on increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. A number of studies have shown the heart benefits—including a lowering of blood pressure–of adding DHA and EPA-rich fish oil to your diet.
Other supplements you can use to bring down your blood pressure naturally include garlic, grape seed extract, coenzyme Q10, and mild diuretic teas like hawthorne berry and dandelion leaf.
Just one extra case of cancer is one too many, if you ask me. And significance truly lies in the eye of the one at risk.
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