What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Before you can truly understand how to lower blood pressure, hypertension, it is important to know what blood pressure is and what contributes to it.
Your blood pressure reading is made up of two numbers. Both of them refer to the amount of pressure that pulses against the inside of your arteries as blood is pumped through them. The top number is your systolic pressure. It corresponds to the amount of force created as your blood is pumped into your arteries and they expand. The second number is your diastolic pressure. It signifies the amount of force that results when your arteries contract and resist the flow of blood.
Receptors in the kidneys keep track of pressure and send hormone signals to the heart to speed up or slow down, as needed. A normal blood pressure reading is a systolic pressure of less than 120 over a diastolic pressure of less than 80. Pre-hypertension is defined as a systolic pressure between 120 and 139 or a diastolic pressure between 80 and 89. Those with stage I high blood pressure have a systolic pressure of 140 to 150 or a diastolic pressure of 90 to 99. Stage II high blood pressure is a systolic of 160 or higher or a diastolic of 100 or higher.
Finally, hypertensive crisis, where emergency care is needed, is defined as a blood pressure where the systolic reading is higher than 180 or the diastolic is greater than 110. It is estimated that 73-million Americans have high blood pressure uncontrolled.
So, what is the leading cause of high blood pressure, includes:
Stress, genetics, overweight, high-sugar diet, high-salt diet, heavy metal toxicity, lack of exercise, and thick blood. I advise my patients to obtain testing if their blood pressure is not controllable. I perform gene testing called SNPS (single nucleotide polymorphism) in the office, as well as central aortic pressure reading and endothelial function reading.
All patients are placed on a low-sugar diet as well as a low-salt diet. High fructose corn syrup is to be avoided. The patient is encouraged to exercise as well as intake organic, low-toxic food. Of note, heavy metal toxicity is a cause of high blood pressure. Let’s read on.
Mankind has invented no fewer than 10-million new chemicals, approximately 3500 of which are in your food with an equal number in your homes and household products. Roughly 300 known harmful substances can be found in most blood samples these days. There are at least 5000 chemical ingredients in cosmetics.
Our immune systems are under constant siege working 24/7 to destroy the impurities in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the chemicals we put on our skin. All these chemicals flood our system with dangerous free radicals contributing to oxidative stress, a key cause of high blood pressure.
Therefore, detoxifying your body plays a crucial role in high blood pressure treatment. To start with, there is a number of very simple strategies you can employ to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins. Once you put those in practice, I encourage you to start with a detoxification process. We use a pharmaceutical grade colon and liver detox in my practice.
You can also lower your blood pressure by limiting your sugar. Researchers at Louisiana State recently conducted an 18-month study of 110 people with either pre-hypertension or early hypertension. The goal was to evaluate how exercise, weight loss and diet affected blood pressure.
The results were published in the journal Circulation, found that cutting back on sugar lowered blood pressure. In fact, they found that overweight adults with high blood pressure who drank one less serving of sugary soda per day had a significant decline in blood pressure after 18 months. This is important because high blood pressure is a risk factor for both heart disease and stroke, and even moderate reduction in blood pressure readings can lower the risks. So, steps to take for slashing sugar intake:
Eliminate high fructose corn syrup; use natural sweeteners such as stevia; eat several small meals; and limit your alcohol intake.
Most of the sugar you eat is hidden, usually under the guise of high fructose corn syrup in processed foods.
This corn based sweetener is used in thousands of foods from ketchup and tomato sauce to soft drinks and crackers, and has specifically been linked to increased risk of high blood pressure. A team of researchers monitored more than 4500 adults with no prior history of hypertension. Using a Questionnaire, they found that people who ate or drank more than 74-g of high fructose corn syrup daily, the amount in about 2½- regular soft drinks, had a 28% higher risk of high blood pressure. Do everything to avoid these foods. Read your labels.
Use Natural Sweeteners:
If you need to sweeten foods, add a little juice from oranges, grapes, pears, peaches or other fruits. You can also try some shredded, raw dried apples, coconuts, raisins or dates, or xylitol. Coconuts are especially healthy. Try sprinkling on cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or you may also want to experiment with stevia, an herbal supplement, that is now available.
Eat Several Small Meals:
Start with breakfast and include some protein at each sitting to keep yourself satisfied. By eating little portions through the day, you will be less inclined to overload on sweets, and of course, limit your alcohol. This includes wine, beer and liquor. Many people do not realize that alcohol includes a large store of hidden sugar.
>Lower Blood Pressure with Exercise:
Regular exercise is a sure way to help prevent and reduce high blood pressure. Why? One reason that physical activity helps the body maintain healthy blood pressure is by lowering the stress hormone that tends to constrict arteries and drive up blood pressure. It also increases nitric oxide, which dilates and relaxes your blood vessels, further promoting increased circulation. And, perhaps most importantly, exercise lowers blood pressure by helping you maintain your weight. The more weight you carry, the harder your heart has to work because it has to push your blood through fat that narrows your blood vessels.
It is like trying to battle your way through a subway at rush hour. The best exercise for beating high blood pressure? The good news is, you don’t have to exercise intensely for hours in order to reap the blood pressure benefits. In fact, walking or dancing are my two favorite forms of heart-healthy exercise, and you only need 30-minutes per day. Of course, movement of any kind lowers blood pressure, so if you can’t take a walk every day or you don’t like dancing or weight lifting, try any of these, like riding a stationary bike, doing exercises to increase muscle tone, flexibility and balance, lift books over your head, or take up painting with a brush. The main thing to do is that no matter what type of exercise you decide to do, once you create an exercise routine that is suitable for you, be sure you stick to it. That is because it is not what exercise you do, but how often you do it, and that will keep your body and blood pressure healthy. Also, take your antioxidants.
I also use a arginine and beet product to lower blood pressure naturally. It raises nitric oxide.
Best in health,
Dean Silver, M.D.