High Blood Pressure
In the United States, it is estimated that over 60 million adults have hypertension (high blood pressure), affecting 50% of the population over 60 years of age. After the initial screening, hypertension is defined as two or more blood pressure readings of systolic blood pressure >140mmHg and/or a diastolic >90mmHg. The prevalence of hypertension in men increases dramatically with age over that of women. Family history, race, and socioeconomic groups are also factors that may contribute to the development of hypertension. Of these cases over 90% have no identifiable cause (essential hypertension) and are often asymptomatic unless significant specific organ damage is done.
Hypertension is a very important risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Treating hypertension is effective at reducing these risks and often, for some patients, only requires lifestyle modifications, including things like exercise and improved nutrition. However, other patients may require a multifaceted treatment plan to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
In all cases of hypertension an evaluation is required to rule out kidney disease, coarctation, hyperthyroidism, adrenal disease and hormone secreting tumors. Many things may contribute to an elevation in blood pressure, for example, high caffeine or alcohol intake, magnesium deficiency, high homocysteine levels, obesity, a diet low in fiber and/or a low intake of essential fatty acids.
Dietary changes have a significant influence on blood pressure. Eating a diet with few refined carbohydrates and very little saturated fats can reduce the risk of developing insulin resistance, thus reducing the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This kind of dietary change leading to weight loss, along with a reduction in salt consumption, has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Try using alternatives to salt like sprinkling or mixing seaweed flakes into your meals.
High blood pressure is rarely a problem for those who adopt a vegetarian/vegan diet. These diets are much lower in saturated fats and higher in fiber, potassium, essential fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin C and calcium. Although, it is important to remember not to over do it with cheese/dairy products; this can really elevate lipid panels. The best way to reduce high blood pressure is a raw foods diet. Also, introducing more sulfur containing foods like garlic, onions, and ginger increases the amount of nitric oxide synthase in the body, which helps dilate blood vessels and ultimately decreases blood pressure. Beets have also been shown to convert nitrates into the active form aiding in the reduction of blood pressure.
Another vital component to controlling high blood pressure is managing stress. The connection between our body and mind is extraordinary. Stressful events or situations cause the body to release hormones that increase blood pressure by increasing heart rate and narrowing blood vessels. This change is temporary, although this spike in blood pressure may damage blood vessels, the heart and kidneys. Eventually, exposure to long-term stress may lead to permanent elevations in blood pressure and more damage to vital organs increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The goal of treatment is to take steps toward improving overall health and vitality while minimizing stress and the need for pharmaceutical intervention. Keep an open mind, work toward attaining goals, and enjoy the benefit of positive change.
Our Treatment Protocol for High Blood Pressure Incorporates the Following Elements:
- Basic Nutrients: 2 caps TID with food
- Calcium, 1200mg
- Magnesium, 540mg: 2 caps TID
- CoQ10, 200mg: 1 cap QD
- EPA, 3g: 2 tsp BID with food
- Flax oil: 1 TBS QD
- Arginine, 1000mg: 1 cap BID
- Vit C, 2g: 2 caps BID
- ALCAR (L-carnitine), 2000mg: 2 caps TID
- B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate): 2 caps BID
- Avoid caffeine, refined carbohydrates and sugars
- Limit or eliminate alcohol consumption
- Drink at least 2 liters of water per day
- Raw foods diet
- Remove sodium
- Low incidence of high blood pressure with this diet because it is higher in potassium, fiber, EFAs, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and lower in saturated fats
- Increase fiber, veggies and fruits
- Various proteins: beans, nuts, fish, and organic eggs. Eat less meat/ poultry
- Increase intake of garlic, onions, and ginger all contain Sulfur which increase Nitric oxide production in the body
- 5 celery stalks per day in green juice – Celery contains 3-n-butyl phthalide: http://www.asktheladies.com/celery-can-lower-your-blood-pressure.htm, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/570051?sssdmh=dm1.336137&src=nldne
- Eat Your Vegetables!! They have been shown to convert inactive nitrate to biologically active nitrite nitric oxide. This ultimately lowers blood pressure, platelet activation and endothelial reperfusion injury.
Increase intake of garlic, onions, and ginger all contain Sulfur which increase Nitric oxide production in the body
- NO SMOKING!!!!
- It increases oxidative stress, causes hypertension, and impairs the availability of nitric oxide, which helps to relax the blood vessels.
- Weight bearing exercise: At least 30-60 minutes per day
- Exercise will help improve vitality and reduce stress. Advantages also include enhanced sense of well-being, improved sleep and energy level.
- Proper exercise also insures strong healthy bones!
- Make sure to hydrate thoroughly before each workout and continue to maintain hydration throughout the session.
Yoga is a great way to get exercise that helps with flexibility, strength, posture, breathing, meditation, stress, relaxation, concentration and mood.
Supporting the Vis ~ The Healing Power of Your Body ~
Stress negatively affects the body. It can lead to the manifestation of disease, so it is vital that stress levels are minimized.
Try to get at least 20-30 minutes of sunshine per day. This is great for overall mood, sense of well-being, and, not to mention, it increases Vitamin D levels and calcium absorption in the body.
Tea time – take 45 min per day to yourself to drink your tea in peace, creating a sacred space in time that is yours. Use this as an introduction to meditation for beginners.
Beliefnet is a wonderful spiritual and inspirational website that provides helpful insights on how to get started on meditation. Here’s the link to a tutorial on “Getting Started with Meditation.” http://www.beliefnet.com/Holistic-Living/Meditation/Getting-Started-with-Meditation.aspx
How to Meditate: More Than Just Meditation. http://howtomeditate.me/ for more instructions on meditations as well as supplemental resources.
Deep Breathing Exercises
By simply adding a few minutes of deep breathing throughout the day, one can greatly increase their health while decreasing their stress. Under stress people have the tendency to take shallow breathes. Deep breathing releases endorphins into the system, which help relieve general aches and pains, relax muscles. Also strengthens weak abdominal and intestinal muscles.
To try deep breathing, draw air into the lungs while expanding the stomach rather than chest. Sit or lie down somewhere quiet and get comfortable. You may place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest to feel the difference between regular and deep breathing. This allows you to fell you are breathing correctly. Take breaths that are long and slow, thus allowing the body to absorb more of the inhaled oxygen. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through pursed lips. Practice this until you get it right.
This is a great stress reliever when you feel you have no one to talk to and can be very therapeutic by allowing you to express yourself freely and creatively.