I agree completely with Machon (thanks for posting).
I had tremendously "spiky" BP readings 9 yrs. ago when I was 43, as in going from 125/75 to 190/95 then back to 140/85 in just a few hours time. (It turned out to be a really bad case of GERD (acid reflux).
I had also gained about 50 lbs in just 7 months right before that all happened
Dr prescribed me first TAZTIA XT (TIAZAC) which was marginally effective, then prescibed me quinapril (Accupril) a few years later, which actually worked for awhile, then put me on HCTZ (a diruetic) which all 3 together worked. Keep in mind that my usual BP's without the spikes was between 122/72 to 140/85. (not terribly hypertensive)
Now why he kept me on TAZTIA, since it didn't really work all that well (and is EXPENSIVE) is a mystery to me. But I blindly followed his ministrations.
Fast forward 8 years... I lost 85 lbs since 1/3/11 (now at 199 lbs.)
A month ago I started feeling dizzy and unbalanced, and had periods of almost blacking out when I stood up, and in the morning I would wake up feeling nauseous, and feel lethargic and cloudy-headed most of the day. I hadn't taken my BP in awhile, and unlike a lot of people, I can tell when my BP is spiking (or on the low side) when I feel dizzy and strange.
So, I took my BP and it was 92/62! I then started taking my BP every day, twice a day (in the morning and at night (just before taking BP meds)).
My daily BP's readings read 92-105/62-68, which are a bit on the low side.
So I methodically started cutting down on one of my 3 BP meds. I cut the 40 mg quinapril pills in half (20 mg), and noticed my BP rising somewhat each day for the first 7 days. (up to 140/86), then after that, it started to decrease back down to 102-135/69-85. (morning BP's were always the lowest for me, and highest just as my BP meds were wearing off at night).
Anyway, after about 2 weeks, I stopped the calcium channel blocker (TAZTIA) altogether (not advisable
, but its hard to split a capsule in half that contains teeny tiny pellets inside). And I monitored my BP even more closely because of that.
Again, my BP started to rise each day for the next 4 days.... and suprisingly dropped even LOWER than when I cut the first meds in 1/2.
So after cutting the quinapril in half for 16 days, and then cutting the TAZTIA off completely for 5 days my BP readings were back down to 97-119/69-79 !! which is in the normal range!!
Which beckons the question... WHY WAS I ON BP MEDS ALL THIS TIME IF AFTER CUTTING THEM DOWN OR OFF MY BP IS NORMAL ???
(I wanted to point out that as of today, I've been at the reduced quinapril for 33 days, and off the TAZTIA for 17 days,and the only other notable symptom is my pulse rate which was 48-65 ON the meds, and 65-80 OFF them).
It's clear that my system became dependent on them to keep my BP low, but watching them go up (rebound effect?) and then back down to normal again was a strong indication that I didn't need them anymore.
Currently, I'm still maintaining on 20mg quinapril and 50mg HCTZ. which I'm going to stop taking for a few days to see what happens. I don't think stopping the HCTZ is going to have any effect (except no longer having to get up in the middle of the night to pee - lol), but I expect another rebound effect from stopping the quinapril, though probably not as much.
We'll see what happens...
So, drastically changing my diet, and resuming my exercise program (very strenuous cardio and moderate weight lifting) back in January '11, and losing 85 lbs over the past 11 months, my blood pressure has been reduced naturally.
I do believe that somehow taking BP meds perpetuates the need to continue taking them. You'll never know unless you cut back on them, monitor your BP closely, keep track of them, and look for trends.
Since I don't have coronary artery disease or a history of persistant uncontrollable high BP, I felt OK about taking the risk to cut them back on my own. If I depended on my Dr to do it, it would probably take years, and since my health insurance ended when my job did, I don't have the time or $$$ to do that.
(I had a cardiac catheterization back in 2004 (which ruled out heart disease when I was having those bouts of crazy blood pressure spikes, and that was because I didn't know what side of the genetic coin I was on. My father had 5 procedures to put shunts or stints in his clogged arteries, and my mothers family all live past 90 yrs old. So I now know whose genetics I have.
Anyway, that's been my experience.