Persistently high blood pressure is a common problem and is known as hypertension. Hypertension means high pressure inside the arteries.
High blood pressure can be called “the silent killer,” as it slowly and insidiously damages the walls of the blood vessels and our internal organs, even if it is only moderately elevated. The organs most vulnerable to damage are the heart, brain and kidneys.
Unfortunately many folks underestimate the damage that high blood pressure can cause; for example they have an aversion to taking their medication, forget to take their medication or have a funny belief system that they can control their blood pressure with stress management alone.
The reality is, that the proper control of blood pressure needs a holistic approach, which if implemented can prevent organ damage and add many years to your life.
There are two different types of hypertension
- Essential hypertension is the most common type and refers to high blood pressure with no underlying specific cause.
- Secondary hypertension refers to high blood pressure being a result of another condition, for example kidney disease.
How do you measure blood pressure?
Normal blood pressure should be less than 140/90, but it is normal that your blood pressure increases with age.
Blood pressure readings will change given one’s age, exercise status and whether you are standing or sitting. Your health care practitioner will measure your blood pressure using a blood pressure cuff placed on your upper arm. If a BP reading is high, many doctors will measure it on both arms and also in the sitting and standing position.
- Systolic blood pressure – systolic pressure is the top number of your measurement and represents the maximum pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and pumps blood out into the arteries.
- Diastolic blood pressure – diastolic pressure is the bottom number of your measurement and represents the minimum pressure in the arteries between contractions when the heart relaxes to fill with blood.
What causes high blood pressure?
Most cases of high blood pressure are caused by hardening and/or blockage of the arteries. These diseased blood vessels become narrowed and inflexible, and thus the heart must exert more pressure to pump the blood through the blood vessels. Hardened blood vessels are less elastic and do not dilate properly which increases the pressure inside them.
Other possible causes may include; kidney disease and stress/anxiety which can cause an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system via excess of production of adrenalin. There may be a family history of high blood pressure, or Diabetes or Syndrome X. Blood pressure most commonly occurs during middle age and is more common in the overweight.
See the Syndrome X
book for more information and diet to help reduce weight excess.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
If there is a family history of blood pressure it is important to have your blood pressure monitored regularly.
It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, as elevated blood pressure often does not produce any symptoms.
Possible symptoms of high blood pressure are –
- Poor concentration
- Poor vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Cramps in the legs
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
What are the complications of persistent high blood pressure?
Elevated blood pressure can be extremely dangerous and if poorly controlled results in an increased risk of –
- Heart attacks
- Kidney disease
It is sad that many patients with high blood pressure are unaware of the dangers of poorly controlled blood pressure. It is generally always possible to control even very high blood pressure if a holistic approach is used – this means using drugs along with nutritional medicine.
Visiting with an eye specialist (Ophthalmologist) is advised, as examination of the retina can be a reliable index of the extent of damaged blood vessels throughout the body caused by high blood pressure.
Treatment of high blood pressure
You may need to make lifestyle changes. Begin with simple daily changes such as stopping smoking, limiting alcohol and sugar. Try to introduce gentle regular exercise and reduce stress levels where possible. If you have poor sleep associated with snoring and interruption of breathing (apnea) please ask for a referral to a sleep laboratory. These sleep problems can be treated effectively and they are very high risk factors for high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
Blood pressure medication is often needed and is very effective; it needs to be prescribed by your doctor. The most popular drugs are called the ACE inhibitors and they act by opening up the blood vessels – this is called a vasodilator effect.
Natural therapies can be used along with blood pressure medication; however you should not take anything extra if you are taking blood thinning drugs, unless first checking with your own doctor. If you are taking diuretic drugs you should not take potassium supplements unless first checking with your own doctor.
A Low carbohydrate diet
This should include regular protein, nuts, fresh fruits & vegetables – this will reduce insulin levels, which in turn reduces high blood pressure. Of course a low carb diet is also the best way to lose weight, especially from the abdomen.
For an easy and very effective low carb eating plan see the book “Can’t Lose Weight? Unlock The Secrets That KEEP You Fat“.
You will find the eating plan outlined on pages 244 and 245. The Syndrome X book is perfect for people with a fatty liver, high blood glucose, elevated insulin and insulin resistance, abdominal weight gain, blood lipid problems and cravings for carbohydrates etc. By following this eating plan one can lose weight, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent diabetes and avoid sugar cravings without feeling hungry.
Warning: Grapefruit can interact with a number of high blood pressure medications and should be avoided.
“Raw Juices Can Save Your Life”
outlines juicing recipes and smoothies to help reduce hardening and blockage of the arteries. Raw Juices book is an A-Z medical guide to raw juicing. See in particular, page 52 for high blood pressure recipes as well as useful supplements.
Natural therapies can reduce high blood pressure and those recommended are –
- Take 2 – 4 tablets daily or 1 teaspoon daily. Magnesium has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve peripheral circulation. Magnesium relaxes the smooth muscle in the artery walls and this is highly beneficial, as it opens up the arteries – this lowers blood pressure and also increases blood flow to vital organs. Magnesium can also reduce spasm of the coronary arteries; for this reason it has a protective effect against sudden heart attacks. Magnesium works much better if it is taken alone, as a pure magnesium supplement away from other supplements containing calcium. If calcium is taken at the same time as magnesium, it will fight against the blood pressure lowering effect of magnesium. Magnesium does not interact with blood pressure lowering drugs.
Magnesium can be taken in tablet or potent powder form – it should be taken twice daily to help those with high blood pressure. Doses range from 300 to 600mg elemental magnesium daily. The evening dose also helps to promote a restful sleep and reduce anxiety. Magnesium also prevents muscle cramps, facial twitching and greatly reduces migraine headaches.
- Take 2 capsules twice daily – Omega 3 fats help to lower blood pressure as well as cholesterol and may help to keep the arteries clean and clear. Avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils and industrial seed oils. Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation in the arteries and reduce blood clots.
Take 1 capsule with each meal. This formula contains herbs and nutrients that help to lower blood insulin levels. This helps to address syndrome X (metabolic syndrome) which is commonly a driving factor in high blood pressure.
- Take 1 capsule daily with food. CoQ 10 is an antioxidant that is essential for the health of cells, tissue and organs. It helps keep your heart healthy by improving blood flow and oxygen to the heart.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.