Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease in modern cultures, more common in men than women, and in African Americans over Caucasians.
Hypertension literally means ‘too much tension,’ and of course, stress plays a role in this factor/disease that causes many other problems in the cardiovascular systems as well as in the kidneys and brain.
It is also called the “silent killer” because typically people are not aware they have high blood pressure unless they have it checked. So, check yours out at the local pharmacy, your doctor’s office, or from a company nurse, or friend who has a blood pressure cuff. Check it both when you are relaxed and also when you are under stress, as in just out of heavy traffic or right after work.
Normal blood pressure should be below 130/80
The normal numbers should be below 130/80, and ideally between 110/70 and 120/80. The old level for labeling HBP was 140/90 as borderline, yet that is now considered hypertension because even those numbers have been shown to be problematic over the long-term.
|General Blood Pressure / Hypertension Guidelines|
|Following are blood pressure guidelines as noted by Life Extension website, Dr. Michael Murray and others.
The Life Extension Institute has reported that new government guidelines have recently been published which state that blood pressure should be considered normal only if it is at or below 119/79.4
Those with blood pressures of 120/80 up to 140/90 are now considered ‘prehypertensive’ and are encouraged to take immediate measures to decrease their blood pressure, such as daily exercise, decreasing salt in their diet, and consuming no more than two alcoholic drinks a day. Also, it is wise to limit caffeine, which clearly raises blood pressure.
What do these blood pressure numbers really mean?
The higher one is called systolic and is the number that occurs when your heart pumps blood, so it is the higher pressure.
The lower number is termed diastolic, and is the reading with the heart at rest, or between pumps. Elevation of the diastolic pressure appears to offer greater concern for health infringement.
Overall, it’s important to maintain normal pressures to protect your health. There are many natural ways with lifestyle and natural therapies to keep a healthy pressure, yet I would say as a practicing physician, that getting results, and in this case a normal blood pressure, is the goal. If it can be done more naturally, then all the better. Yet, if people cannot change their habits/lifestyles, they may need to take medication. Let’s look at more factors and therapies in relation to hypertension.
The main areas of concern, at least that we have some control over, are diet, smoking, cholesterol levels, stress, exercise, and weight. Dietary matters include following a low-fat diet (aligning with the bulleted chart below), minimizing the salt intake, and really becoming more of a vegetarian, including some animal proteins primarily from some fish, occasional eggs, and low- or non-fat milk products if desired. Create a balanced diet and exercise program that will allow appropriate weight reduction and the maintenance of your optimum weight.
Exercise guidelines involve a balance between stretching and flexibility, strength and toning exercises, and aerobic/endurance training. Choose exercises that you can enjoy, make time to do them, get your friends or family involved with you, and set reasonable goals at first. Be sure to check with your doctor if you have not been doing any strenuous workouts in a while, and consider having a treadmill/stress test to monitor your blood pressure and heart function while you exercise. Yet clearly, people with high blood pressure or those who are prehypertensive can lower their blood pressure by losing weight and increasing physical activity (especially by doing aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes every day).
Learn some stress reduction techniques to help with relaxation of your body, mind, and your blood vessels. Do whatever it takes to stop smoking; dietary changes and regular exercise will help with motivation. Programs using hypnotherapy, acupuncture, and/or nutritional cleansing practices may all be helpful. And monitor your cholesterol levels to see how low they will go with your natural program for lowering blood pressure.
|DIETARY FACTORS FOR HYPERTENSION|
|Following are tips to control your blood pressure
You may also find common dietary modifications to be helpful:
First, initiate the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan, which increases dietary potassium, fiber, and calcium intake through a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low- or non-fat dairy products, whole grains, and foods with reduced saturated fat and reduced total fat content. The DASH plan is also rich in magnesium (from green vegetables, nuts, and seeds), a crucial mineral that may help promote optimal blood pressure levels.
Also, limit alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women. Red wine may have the best cardiovascular protection. Furthermore, reduce salt intake to no more than 2.4 grams (g) of sodium or 6 g of sodium chloride each day. Use sea salt or salts with other minerals. We do need more when we exercise and sweat, plus some people are more sensitive to sodium and their blood pressures than others.
HERBAL & NATURAL TREATMENTS
Both Western and Chinese herbs and herbal products can beadvantageous to the basic support and reduction of blood pressure. Any herbs that help to relax the body, reduce the blood fats (often by supporting liver metabolic functions), and strengthen the kidneys as well as help get rid of excess water may be useful in the treatment of hypertension.
In Chinese medicine, the overall treatment is oriented to subduing the rising Yang energies and nourishing the Yin. More specifically, we are trying to calm the heart fires and strengthen the kidney chi (energy). This can be done in part through the needling of certain acupuncture points as relevant to the individual case. Also, the person must attempt to reduce tension and excessive activity levels, and try to take a more relaxed “let it flow” attitude toward life. Regarding Chinese herbal treatment, the goals include cooling the heart by reducing the fires, strengthening the kidneys, and relaxing the liver, much like the goal of shifting energies with needles.
In my office I use several herbal combination formulas that work quite well. One is called Cardiotone and is a mixture of Ayurvedic Herbs that contains Rauwolfia serpentina, a source of reserpine, an alkaloid widely used for antihypertensive and sedative effects, Arjuna and rose powder to support heart function, Tribulus terrestris for renal support, and Indian coral powder as a good source of calcium and magnesium. The other is called APC and is a mixture of Western and Chinese herbs. They both work quite well.
Nutritional approaches and Detoxification can really be helpful at clearing hypertension problems. Over the years, I have had many people with HBP and who were on prescription medications join my Detox Groups. Typically then, as they change their diets and begin to lose water pressure and weight, their blood pressures go down. Then they need to begin to lower their medicine dosages. I often have them half their dosages first. Then, it they continue to make positive changes and keep their pressures down, they can go off of them eventually and support themselves more naturally. Thus, the goal is to improve the health condition so that prescriptions are not needed, and not to just get off medicines. The problem for which the medicines were required needs to be addressed. For people who are not my patients, I suggest that they work with their own physicians.
Other nutrients are also important. Magnesium is the key here as it is often deficient and it helps to relax the blood vessels. Typically I provide some calcium/magnesium formula in a one-to-one ration and then additional magnesium, at least twice daily, often after lunch and at bed. Potassium is also important and especially to balance out excess sodium. And potassium has cardio-protective effects, especially on electrical conductivity (as does magnesium). The preferred source for potassium is through the intake of fruits (dried apricots, avocados, dates, dried figs, raisins, and bananas), vegetables (beet greens, Jerusalem artichokes, winter squash, spinach, carrot juice, potatoes), and legumes (white beans, lima beans, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans). The B-complex vitamins are also important to support many functions and balance stress and blood pressure.