COVID-19 is not the only pandemic threatening the world right now. Metabolic syndrome (a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar) which has been rising for decades before COVID-19 deteriorates overall health making people prone to other acute and chronic diseases. According to the CDC, close to 50% of the adult population in the US already has high blood pressure and only 1 in 4 of them have it under control. Appropriately named as the “silent killer,” consistent high blood pressure damages multiple organ systems in the body. In addition to the increased risk of a fatal heart attack and stroke, hypertension is a cause of other debilitating conditions such as heart failure, kidney damage, and various eye problems including blindness. While there are a large number of antihypertensive medications, some of the most common ones are thiazide diuretics, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors. Most of these drugs are useful only for the temporary reduction of hypertension and are associated with a wide array of side effects. A very recent clinical trial conducted on more than 300,000 adults revealed that prolonged use of thiazides, including hydrochlorothiazide, was associated with a significantly increased risk of skin cancer.1
The drugs intended to reduce blood pressure, correct arrhythmias and some forms of heart disease are the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US. One in every three adults, or approximately 75 million people, is diagnosed with high blood pressure in the US and many more have pre-hypertension. About 15 million people have some form of irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias. The most commonly prescribed drugs to treat these and other conditions are the so called “channel-blockers” or “agonists” which include calcium, sodium and potassium channel blockers. Worldwide sales of these drugs have reached $6 billion. In the United States, calcium channel blockers are the eighth largest drug class in prescription sales.
One in every three adults, that is approximately 67 million people in the US, already have high blood pressure and many more have prehypertension. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is diagnosed when the blood pressure readings are consistently higher than 140/90 mm of Hg. Worldwide, there are more than 1 billion people living with uncontrolled hypertension, and the number is estimated to increase by 60% by year 2025. The lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure is more than 90% for people after 55-60 years of age.