advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Can Lead Cause High Blood Pressure?

Is it true that after menopause lead from thinning bones causes high blood pressure in women? If so, what can you do about it?

A
Answer (Published 4/30/2003)

We've long known that lead from environmental sources - air pollution, water, paint - can accumulate in bone over time, and a few years ago research showed that lead exposure was associated with high blood pressure among men. Other research has shown that lead in bones can enter into the bloodstream during pregnancy (when demineralization takes place) and can be linked with decreased cognitive development of the infants born to these moms. Results of a study published in the March 26, 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association have linked lead from thinning bones to high blood pressure among post-menopausal women. The study involved 2,165 women aged 40 to 59 who were surveyed between 1988 and 1994. Those with the highest levels of lead in their blood were 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than those with the lowest blood-levels of lead.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Women's Health Issues - If you are going through menopause, a support group can be helpful. The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide has a vibrant, active community of supportive members, and a dedicated moderator to help guide you along. Start your 14-day free trial now!

The researchers said that the highest levels averaged 6.4 micrograms per deciliter. That's worrisome because it is below the government's "level of concern" for childhood lead exposure of 10 micrograms per deciliter. The lead in the women's bones presumably got there years earlier due to environmental exposure and remained there harmlessly, perhaps for decades. Lead linked to high blood pressure in men stemmed mostly from occupational exposure.

Fortunately, environmental sources of lead are now much lower than they used to be thanks to the gradual elimination of lead-based paint and leaded gasoline so perhaps today's generation of young people won't accumulate lead levels comparable to those found in this study. (It is also important to remember that lead levels in the blood aren't the only cause of high blood pressure.)

These findings certainly should remind all of us to support efforts to further reduce environmental exposure to lead and to block any attempts to roll back exposure limits. You can keep track of environmental issues, including this one, at www.NRDC.org.

Some research suggests that you may be able to combat the effects of lead on blood pressure by making sure that you're getting adequate calcium. I recommend that all women, including post-menopausal women get 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium daily from diet and supplements, while men should get no more than 600 mg of calcium daily. Both men and women need 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here