Hypertension – High Blood Pressure
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. 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; it is often hereditary.
- Secondary hypertension refers to high blood pressure being a result of another underlying 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 or short term stress.
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 heart 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 may become narrowed and for sure 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 diseases of the adrenal glands. Protracted stress/anxiety can cause an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system via excess production of adrenalin. There may be a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes or syndrome X (metabolic syndrome). High blood pressure is more common in the overweight. Excess inflammation is a causative factor in the vast majority of high blood pressure patients and it occurs in the blood vessels, liver and kidneys. Your liver and kidneys need to function properly to regulate blood pressure.
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 whole 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, and 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. Beta blocker drugs such as Propranolol are also excellent drugs especially for systolic hypertension and stop a pounding heart beat.
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.
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 carbohydrate 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 “Fatty Liver – You can reverse it.” By following this eating plan one can lose weight, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce blood sugar levels and avoid sugar cravings without feeling hungry.
“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.
High Blood Pressure Juice
This juice will improve kidney function and reduce hardening and blockage of the arteries.
- 2 sticks celery
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped fennel
- 1 spring onion or 1 clove garlic (optional)
- 1 apple
- 1 orange or 1 grapefruit
- 1 lime or 1 lemon
- Wash, trim and chop all ingredients and pass through the juicer.
- Drink 2 glasses daily.
Recommended supplements for high blood pressure
- Magnesium Complete Tablets or Magnesium Powder
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 away from 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. 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.
- Fish Oil
Take 2 capsules 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.
- Co-Enzyme Q10
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.
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)
Take 2 capsules twice daily to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels.
Take one capsule daily to reduce inflammation in the heart and blood vessels. Selenium has been shown to help many types of heart disease.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.