Beta-Blocker Drugs Found To Promote Diabetes

September 2006 - New UK research indicates that taking beta-blocker drugs to treat high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing diabetes by 50 percent, compared to newer drugs.

Researchers from Imperial College London studied 14,000 blood pressure patients in the UK, Ireland and Scandanavia. Half the patients were being treated for high blood pressure with the beta-blocker drug Atenolol, along with a diuretic, and half were being treated with a newer calcium channel blocker drug called amlopdipine, along with an ACE inhibitor called perindopril. The researchers found that the group taking the calcium channel blocker and ACE inhibitor experienced a 34 percent lower rate of diabetes than the patients taking beta-blockers.

"The result emphatically adds to the evidence that beta blockers and diuretics can exacerbate that risk [of diabetes] ... We have to stop pretending that it's ok to give people diabetes. These cases are absolutely unnecessary," says the study's lead author, Professor Neil Poulter.

Though conventional doctors are urging patients to seek newer pharmaceutical treatments for their high blood pressure, natural health advocates say the condition can be treated with simple lifestyle and dietary changes.

"None of these drugs are truly safe," says Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate, "and even the ones that don't promote diabetes are dangerous in other ways. Artificially lowering blood pressure by chemically treating the symptom instead of the underlying cause is a sure recipe for disastrous long-term health consequences," he says. "Patients need to lower their blood pressure through dietary changes, exercise and stress reduction, not chemicals that we now know can seriously harm them."

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Hypertension may also be brought on by chronic dehydration, so simply drinking more water -- not soda or beverages with caffeine -- can often lower high blood pressure. Patients should also drastically lower their intake of sodium and avoid foods containing sugar and hydrogenated oils, two ingredients that can accelerate the onset of diabetes. However, high blood pressure patients should always work with a qualified health practitioner before altering their treatment strategy.

Source: mperial College London