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Hypertension


Introduction

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a major problem in America's fast-paced, high-stress world. It causes 60,000 deaths a year and directly relates to more than 250,000 deaths from stroke. There are two main types of hypertension. Hypertension without an identifiable cause is categorized as essential or primary hypertension. When hypertension has a specific cause, such as in cases of kidney disease, it is considered secondary hypertension. Most cases of high blood pressure are caused by arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis, along with exhausted kidneys - factors that can be brought under control by diet and lifestyle improvement. In fact, clinical studies show that people with hypertension that make good lifestyle changes fare much better than those on anti-hypertensive prescription drugs.

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Common Symptoms

Headaches; irritability; dizziness and ringing in the ears; flushed complexion; red streaks in the eyes; fatigue and sleeplessness; edema; frequent urination; depression; heart arrhythmia; chronic respiratory problems.

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Common Causes

Poor stress management, clogging arterial fats and increased fat storage; calcium and fiber deficiency; thickened blood from excess mucous and waste; insulin resistance and poor sugar metabolism; thyroid imbalance; obesity; lack of aerobic exercise; too much salt and red meat, causing raised copper levels; kidney malfunction; auto-toxemia from constipation; prostaglandin imbalance.

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Medications

Americans are being told that if they have high blood pressure that lifetime drug therapy is the best solution. Long-term, these drugs have detrimental side effects. In fact, calcium channel blockers can actually increase heart attack risk up to 60%. For men, impotence commonly results. The drugs are also linked to breast cancer, memory loss, and even suicide. Side effects of beta blockers are dizziness, nausea, asthma symptoms, impotence in men and joint pain, to name a few.

Beta blockers work to impede the action of the body's beta receptors, adrenaline response modifiers between the heart and brain. The theory is that the brain cannot notify the heart to constrict the arteries, so it slows down, regardless of its need.

Calcium channel blockers inhibit the entry of calcium into heart cells and smooth muscle cells of blood vessels. Without calcium, the cells cannot contract and the result is lowered blood pressure. But, calcium is an important mineral for heart health! Calcium regulates the contraction and relaxation of the heart and inhibits heart spasms. Calcium is most beneficial when it is brought into the body with a balanced ratio of magnesium through foods. Magnesium naturally blocks the entry of calcium into heart muscle cells and vascular smooth muscle cells, reducing vascular resistance to lower blood pressure. Most people do not understand that these medications are meant to be taken with a modified diet (online or in person) and lifestyle.

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Natural Treatment

High blood pressure is a sign that body is under excessive stress. Eighty-five percent of hypertensive cases are preventable without drugs and a dietary change is the best thing you can do to control high blood pressure (online or in person). Most people have been taught, however, that the main dietary focus for blood pressure control is salt restriction. While monitoring salt intake may be helpful to manage symptoms, it is even more important to support stress management through a low stress diet and exercise regimen. The adrenal glands (stress glands) control fluid balance through the production of aldosterone, which adjusts blood concentrations of potassium and sodium. This regulatory function is influenced by physical, environmental, thermal, and emotional or mental stressors. This includes excess body weight and/or poor sleep. Therefore, long-term blood pressure control is accomplished through achieving optimal adrenal health and weight management.

If you are currently taking blood pressure medication, it is important to provide additional nutritional support through the use of vitamins and supplements. Due to the fact that hypertensive medications often result in nutrient depletion, specific B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants must be replenished. In addition, there are a number of natural herbs that may be used in therapeutic dosages to assist with blood pressure management. Determine the nutrients that are right for supporting your heart by consulting (online or in person) with an EB Dietitian!

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References

Page L. Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone Eleventh Edition. Traditional Wisdom, Inc; 2000.

Sheps SG, MD. High blood pressure (hypertension). MayoClinic.com. 2008. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleep-deprivation/AN01344. Accessed on October 26, 2009.

Weinberger M, Fineberg NS, Fineber SE, Weinberger M. Salt sensitivity, pulse pressure, and death in normal and hypertensive humans. Hypertension. 2001;37:429.

Williams J. 50th Anniversary of Aldosterone. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2003; 88 (6) 2364-2372.

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