HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION)
Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
High blood pressure is a very serious health concern as it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Over half of the people taking multiple prescribed medications for hypertension are not able to manage their condition. But the good news is that over 85 percent of individuals with high blood pressure can normalize it through lifestyle modifications and natural remedies.
– Ideal blood pressure of truly healthy people should be 100/60. The blood pressure of 120/80 – regarded as normal – is actually an average blood pressure of a sick population! Over 140/90 is believed to be a high blood pressure.
First number indicates SYSTOLIC blood pressure (upper) which measures the pressure during heart contraction. Second number indicates DIASTOLIC blood pressure (lower) which measures the pressure during heart relaxation.
However, while measuring blood pressure you need to keep in mind that the following factors may affect the validity of blood pressure reading:
– Overweight and inappropriate size of blood pressure cuffs can lead to a falsely elevated blood pressure reading.
– If blood pressure is taken while arm is in a wrong position reading can be about 10 percent higher than it really is.
– Blood pressure can be higher due to the stress and fear associated with being examined by a medical personnel.
Unfortunately the above mentioned factors are usually neglected and whenever patients receive just a single elevated reading at the doctor’s office they are diagnosed with hypertension and encouraged to use medication which is not needed and often results in dangerous side effects.
– High Cholesterol levels (consumption of foods containing meat, poultry, fish, and dairy)
– Arteriosclerosis: Chronic hypertension is often caused by atherosclerosis which is the result of sedentary lifestyle, stress, stimulants, and unhealthy diet (high in refined products, animal fats, refined oils, dairy products, meat, sugar, and other unhealthy foods). All those factors eventually lead to chronic inflammation and hardening of arteries, which in turn causes chronic hypertension thus greatly increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack.
– Sodium (salt). Too much sodium can contribute to hypertension but on the other hand salt shouldn’t be regarded as the main cause of chronic hypertension, except for a minority of individuals who may be salt sensitive. Sodium retention is often caused by insulin resistance (see: DIABETES >). And sodium retention causes fluid retention leading to high blood pressure. Anyway, whether sodium contributes to your hypertension or not it is always much better to use only Celtic salt instead of refined one.
– Stress also contributes to hypertension by elevating adrenalin levels which raises blood pressure.
– Stimulants (alcohol, smoking, caffeine, chocolate, black tea, green tea, cola drinks, illegal drugs, etc.).
– Conn’s syndrome (especially in case of individuals who do not respond to medication). Non-cancerous growths (sometimes very small) on adrenal glands stimulate aldosterone which elevates salt (sodium) in the blood causing hypertension. Aldosterone stimulates more sodium reabsorption with water by kidneys. The increased sodium and water reabsorption reduces urine output and increases the circulating blood volume and stretches the heart muscle causing it to increase blood pressure. Below you will find more details about Conn’s syndrome.
– Lack of exercise
– Vitamin D deficiency (insufficient sun exposure)
– Potassium deficiency
– Magnesium deficiency: Insulin stores magnesium, but if your cells are resistant to insulin, you can’t store magnesium and it is flushed out of your body with urine. And if you are deficient in magnesium your blood vessels will constrict raising blood pressure.
– Lack of antioxidants
– Diabetes (higher blood sugar levels) and insulin resistance. A 1998 study reported that two-thirds of the test patients who were insulin resistant also had high blood pressure. It is clear today that high insulin, leptin and blood glucose levels can greatly contribute to hypertension.
Insulin resistance also contributes to hypertension by causing magnesium deficiency and sodium retention.
Also if blood pressure doesn’t drop significantly overnight, it means an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
– Thyroid problems
– Kidney problems
TREATMENT OF HYPERTENSION AND MOST IMPORTANT REMEDIES
– LIFESTYLE ACCORDING TO THE HEALTH RECOVERY PLAN >.
It is very important to implement those principles as it eliminates all possible primary and secondary causes of hypertension and any other health problem!
– One of the most important aspect of treatment is to LOWER blood CHOLESTEROL >
– EXERCISE gradually increasing pace and time as otherwise it might be dangerous!
– Learn to control STRESS >
– Take care of your KIDNEYS > and ADRENAL GLANDS > as they play important role in regulating blood pressure
– Treat THYROID PROBLEMS >
– LOOSE WEIGHT if you are overweight >
– Treat DIABETES and insulin resistance as it often causes high blood sugar. Find out how to recover from type two diabetes >
– Avoid SUGAR, FRUCTOSE, GLUCOSE, WHITE FLOUR PRODUCTS, REFINED GRAINS, FRUIT JUICES, and reduce grains. Fructose Can Cause Your Blood Pressure to Skyrocket therefore you need to remove all sugars from your diet, particularly fructose, until your blood pressure gets back to normal. Eating sugars and refined grain products — including bread, pasta, or rice — will cause your insulin levels and your blood pressure to remain elevated. Fructose breaks down into uric acid which drives up blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric oxide in blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps your vessels maintain their elasticity, so nitric oxide suppression leads to increases in blood pressure. There are many studies which demonstrated that elevated uric acid levels lead to hypertension. Also consumption of meat and dairy products lead to increased level of uric acid.
– If possible AVOID MEDICATION THAT CAUSES HYPERTENSION
REMEDIES AND SUPPLEMENTS
One of the most effective herbal formulas for high blood pressure I can recommend is a combination of Hawthorn, Ginkgo & Garlic by HealthAid:
– CoQ10 – According to one analytical research, after reviewing 12 clinical studies, scientists concluded that CoQ10 can lower systolic blood pressure by 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by about 10 mm Hg. > Due to the fact that we gradually lose this very important antioxidant (CoQ10) with age and because most of us do not get enough of CoQ10 from food some experts recommend that even relatively healthy individuals under 60 should take 30mg of oil-based Ubiquinone form of CoQ10 every day.However, Supplementation of CoQ10 for those who are over 60 or those who are on statins should be increased to 100 – 200 mg a day as this very popular drug (statins) greatly increase the risk of CoQ10 deficiency. Some specialists maintain that the use of statins can reduce the production of CoQ10 in our body by 50% within only two weeks!
Apart from Conergy Coenzyme Q10 30mg capsules (recommended for healthy individuals under 60) the HealthAid also provides a range of higher strength CoQ10 supplements (120mg and 200mg) which are more suitable for older individuals (over 60) or those who are on cholesterol lowering drugs such as Statins.
Apart from CoQ10 there are other excellent herbal formulas and supplements which used together with Q10 and improved diet and lifestyle will lead to recovery:
Colestroforte Tablets (HealthAid) – another excellent formula with most beneficial ingredients to lower cholesterol, strengthen blood vessels and maintain healthy blood pressure. See the ingredients below:
– Vitamin D3: 10,000 – 20,000 IU a day with meal. Try to increase the blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to at least 50 or more ng/ml. Vitamin D reduces blood pressure and risk of stroke and heart attack according to new studies. Vitamin D must be taken with magnesium as it 2010 study confirmed that low levels of vitamin D up-regulated the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
– Magnesium citrate or another well absorbed magnesium: 2 times a day 200-400 mg between meals. The more vitamin D3 is used the more magnesium must be taken as D3 leads to magnesium deficiency.
– L-ARGININE – relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure through nitric oxide. You can also increase nitric oxide by taking a warm bath, breathing in and out through one nostril (close off the other nostril and your mouth). Aminoacid L-arginine is converted in our body to nitric oxide and therefore it is a very effective in relaxing and dilating arteries in our heart and brain thus preventing heart attacks and strokes. One researcher even said that, „By Converting Into Nitric-Oxide (vasodilator), the Amino Acid, L-Arginine, Has Changed the Paradigms of Cardiovascular Health Forever!”
You can lower cholesterol through improved diet and by increased nitric oxide production in blood vessels. Nitric oxide is made from L-arginine, and the highest nutritional source of L-arginine are nuts, especially wall nuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, and cashew nuts. The next source are sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Also Spirulina, pistachios, soybeans, pumpkin seeds and peanuts are high in L-arginine.
Researchers also found out that citrulline – a compound found especially in watermelon – can also increase arginine levels and nitric oxide.
– CELTIC SALT or HIMALAYAN SALT instead of refined salt
– MISTLETOE TEA: 2 x a day between meals.
– OLIVE LEAF. A 1,000 mg of olive leaf extract daily over eight weeks caused a significant reduction in both blood pressure and LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol in people with borderline hypertension. You can also make an olive leaf tea by placing a large teaspoon of dried olive leaves in two 2 or 3 cups of boiling water and steeping it for about 10 – 30 minutes.
– VITAMIN B3 up to 1000mg a day.
– BARLEY FIBRE (Beta glucan) removes cholesterol and regulates blood sugar.
– GARLIC, BEETROOT, ARTICHOKE, OAT BRAN.
– OMEGA 3, GROUND FLAX SEED, soaked CHIA SEED.
– VITAMIN E.
– STAR FLOWER OIL or EVENING PRIMROSE.
CONN’S SYNDROME (ALDOSTERONISM) TREATMENT
– LIFESTYLE ACCORDING TO HEALTH RECOVERY PLAN >
– Vitamin D3: 20,000 – 30,000 IU a day (very important!)
– Magnesium citrate: 2 x 400-800 mg a day.
– MILK THISTLE.
– Very low SALT (sodium) diet.
– Stress control (adrenaline).
– POTASSIUM only if levels are low (not always are). It is safer to have potassium not from supplements but from food): Vegetables, bananas, baked potatoes with skin, tomatoes, fruits, prunes, raisins, tomato juice, almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach and artichokes, soy foods.
– Since the cause is a growth on adrenal gland the treatment should be the same as for cancer (vegetable juices, chlorella, vitamin D with magnesium, Cat’s claw, hydrotherapy, avoiding meat, dairy, sugar, stimulants, bad fats and oils, etc.). Find out how to effectively treat CANCER >
Every 5th person with hypertension do not respond to any medication. Some of them suffer from Conn’s syndrome caused by nonecancerous growth on adrenal glands (on top of the kidneys) which stimulates them to produce too much aldosterone – a hormone which elevates salt (sodium) levels in the blood causing high blood pressure.
Two types of abnormality are seen: a benign tumour of one adrenal, called an adenoma or a general enlargement of both adrenals, called hyperplasia.
Too much aldosterone also lowers levels of potassium which is essential for keeping blood pressure low.
This caused by hormonal imbalance hypertension can also lead to tiredness and lethargy because of the low potassium levels, as this mineral is needed to keep muscles functioning properly.
But the condition is under-recognised by doctors, leaving patients trying one drug after another without benefit.
The fall in blood potassium results in tiredness, muscle weakness and passing of large volumes of urine (polyuria), especially at night (nocturia).
Also, many patients with proven Conn’s syndrome do not have a low blood potassium level.
Susan, a mother-of-four from March in Cambridgeshire, called an ambulance and was rushed to her local hospital. En route, her blood pressure read 200/104. By the time she arrived at A&E, it had gone off the digital scale.
However, blood tests and heart checks showed no problems, and doctors discharged her the following day with pills called ACE inhibitors to lower her blood pressure.
They failed to take effect and, over 18 months, she had eight similar ambulance admissions – with her blood pressure alarmingly high. Doctors tried a number of different medications, including beta-blockers, but nothing seemed to work, and the side-effects left her feeling unwell.
But a chance discovery 18 months after her first episode revealed the true cause. A doctor sent her for further tests on her heart, including an angiogram, which involves sending a tube into the vessels around her heart via an artery in her groin. This releases a special dye, enabling the vessels to be seen under X-ray.
However, during the procedure the doctors were worried that one of the blood vessels in her groin had started to swell, and gave Susan a CT scan.
Although this showed the vessel was fine, it highlighted a small 17mm growth on her left adrenal gland, and Susan was diagnosed with Conn’s syndrome.
According to Professor Brown, these growths, called adenomas, can begin in the 20s and 30s, but are so slow growing that they create a problem only in middle-age.
Furthermore, the body can compensate for the high aldosterone levels for a number of years, but eventually is unable to do this.
Some patients start to develop symptoms before middle-age.
‘For reasons that are not clear, young patients are more likely to be women, and to have larger adenomas, whereas older patients tend to be men with smaller growths,’ says Professor Brown.
‘We think the tumours started at a similar age, but the smaller tumours take much longer to be diagnosed.’
Although doctors are still unsure what causes the condition, there is evidence that high salt in the diet may also trigger the condition, as it damages cells in the adrenal glands.
Until recently, Conn’s syndrome was thought to affect only a handful of treatment-resistant high blood pressure patients.
But recent research, as well as the development of more sophisticated scans, has revealed that many patients have the microscopic growths – adenomas – in their adrenal glands, which trigger excessive levels of aldosterone.
Some studies suggest that Conn’s syndrome is rare (one new case in a million people each year). However, when detailed investigations have been performed in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure), up to 15 per cent may have this condition.
High blood pressure, known as the silent killer, is often symptomless but is a leading cause of stroke, killing 40,000 Britons every year.
Professor Brown says although one in ten treatment-resistant cases has obvious growths on their adrenal glands, a further 10 to 15 per cent may have microscopic growths which are visible only with a special scan called a PET-CT. This uses a mildly radioactive dye to locate nodules, and CT scans to pinpoint location.
However, these scans are expensive, and still may not show very small growths.
Instead, to confirm diagnosis, he recommends a £15 blood test to check levels of the kidney hormone renin, which is almost always suppressed in Conn’s syndrome and is a good indicator of it.
‘If renin is low, then a further blood test costing about £25 can check aldosterone levels, and then a scan can look for tumours,’ he says.
Plasma renin activity may be suppressed by some drugs that are commonly used to treat hypertension (for example, beta-blockers).
We can survive with only one adrenal gland, so if one is affected, it can be removed with surgery.
However, if both glands are affected, surgery is not an option. Professor Brown adds that, for some reason, only 50 per cent of older patients respond to surgery.
Instead, doctors prescribe drugs that block aldosterone production, with common ones including spironolactone (which may trigger the growth of breast tissue in men) or the more expensive eplerenone.
‘Once resistant hypertension has developed, the chances of this being due to high aldosterone are so high that renin should be measured, if only to make sure the patient receives the correct drugs, as these are not usually used in hypertension,’ says Professor Brown.
With no tumours, Charles did not qualify for surgery, but tests showed his levels of aldosterone were high, suggesting microscopic growths in his adrenal glands. A combination of the drugs eplerenone and amiloride, which maintains potassium levels, now keeps his blood pressure at a steady 135/90.
Professor Brown explains: ‘Not only is high blood pressure a major health risk, but the low levels of potassium can be very fatiguing.
Treatment for an aldosterone-producing adenoma is surgical removal (unilateral adrenalectomy). This may be performed via laparoscopic (keyhole) approaches in some experienced centres.
Patients with bilateral hyperplasia (and also those with an adenoma awaiting surgery) may be treated with the drug spironolactone (eg Aldactone), which acts by blocking the effect of aldosterone. Spironolactone is somewhat similar in chemical structure to the female sex hormone, oestradiol, and therefore has some female hormone-like actions.
An alternative medication is called eplerenone (Inspra). Like spironolactone, this blocks the action of aldosterone.
Eplerenone is about half as strong as sprionolactone and usually has to be taken twice a day. The main advantage of eplerenone is that it does not have female hormone-like actions, such as increasing breast size or breast pain.
Natural Treatments for Primary Aldosteronism
Vitamin D may be a potential miracle drug for this condition.
Potassium is not among them.
There is however, one very challenging aspect with this disorder; not everyone will have low levels of potassium.
This is the major reason it is a misconception that taking potassium supplements help this disorder, but if you do have low levels of potassium, there are other symptoms you may experience.
These include weakness, cardiac arrhythmias which are situations where your electrical impulses that control your heartbeats do not work properly, as well as muscles cramps.
Muscle cramps can affect anyone at any time, but in this case it will become a regular event that will be very difficult to control.
Excessive thirsts as well as frequent urination are other symptoms, as your body is retaining water at dangerous levels as all of the water is not being flushed out of your system properly.
Although vitamin D is best known for activating and controlling the phosphorus and calcium levels in your bones, it is also emerging as a very powerful agent in increasing your sodium levels as well as the secretion of potassium.
By preforming this task, it takes center stage of the two natural treatments for primary aldosteronism.
Your aldosterone targets your collective ducts in your kidneys as it does two things; it increases sodium and water re-absorption, as well as the secretion of potassium in your body.
There is an enzyme that is secreted by your kidneys referred to as renin, which are the primary regulators of both your aldosterone production as well as the release of it.
There was a study that was released in the July 15th 2002 edition of the “Journal of Clinical Investigation” that reported that vitamin D successfully suppressed the production of renin in animals.
This was later followed up by a report in the June 2010 issue of the “International Journal of Clinical Chemistry” that substantiated that for the first time it was confirmed that low levels of vitamin D also up-regulated the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone system as well.
This was a huge report as it proved that vitamin D is also very effective in improving the functions that regulate your systems that directly affect your cardiovascular system making it a most powerful of the natural treatments.
The second of the natural treatments for primary aldosteronism is the herb milk thistle.
Although it is not known to affect your adrenal glands directly, it does help them by removing as well as deactivating toxins directly from your liver which allows it to function much better as a filter.
In doing so, it helps to relieve any type of chemical stress in your body which allows your adrenal glands to release hormones properly.
Diabetes can damage your kidneys’ filtering system, which can lead to high blood pressure.
Polycystic kidney disease.
In this inherited condition, cysts in your kidneys prevent the kidneys from working normally and can raise blood pressure.
Your kidneys filter waste and sodium using microscopic-sized filters called glomeruli that can sometimes become swollen. If the swollen glomeruli can’t work normally, you may develop high blood pressure.
This is a type of secondary hypertension caused by narrowing (stenosis) of one or both arteries leading to your kidneys. Renovascular hypertension can cause severe hypertension and irreversible kidney damage. It’s often caused by the same type of fatty plaques that can damage your coronary arteries (atherosclerosis) or a separate condition in which the muscle and fibrous tissues of the renal artery wall thicken and harden into rings (fibromuscular dysplasia).
Cushing syndrome. In this condition, corticosteroid medications themselves may cause secondary hypertension, or hypertension may be caused by a pituitary tumor or other factors that cause the adrenal glands to produce too much of the hormone cortisol. This raises blood pressure.
In this condition, a tumor in the adrenal gland, increased growth of normal cells in the adrenal gland or other factors cause the adrenal glands to release an excessive amount of the hormone aldosterone. This makes your kidneys retain salt and water and lose too much potassium, which raises blood pressure.
This rare tumor, usually found in an adrenal gland, increases production of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, which can lead to long-term high blood pressure or short-term spikes in blood pressure.
When the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or produces too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), high blood pressure can result.
The parathyroid glands regulate levels of calcium and phosphorus in your body. If the glands secrete too much parathyroid hormone, the amount of calcium in your blood rises — which triggers a rise in blood pressure.
Coarctation of the aorta.
With this defect you’re born with, the body’s main artery (aorta) is narrowed (coarctation). This forces the heart to pump harder to get blood through the aorta and to the rest of your body. This, in turn, raises blood pressure — particularly in your arms.
In this condition, often marked by severe snoring, breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, causing you to not get enough oxygen. Not getting enough oxygen may damage the lining of the blood vessel walls, which may make your blood vessels less effective in regulating your blood pressure. In addition, sleep apnea causes part of the nervous system to be overactive and release certain chemicals that increase blood pressure.
As you gain weight, the amount of blood circulating through your body increases. This puts added pressure on your artery walls, increasing your blood pressure. Excess weight often is associated with an increase in heart rate and a reduction in the capacity of your blood vessels to transport blood. In addition, fat deposits can release chemicals that raise blood pressure. All of these factors can cause hypertension.
Pregnancy can make existing high blood pressure worse, or may cause high blood pressure to develop (pregnancy-induced hypertension or preeclampsia).
Medications and supplements. Various prescription medications — such as pain relievers, antidepressants and drugs used after organ transplants — can cause or aggravate high blood pressure in some people.
Birth control pills and decongestants.
Herbal supplements, including ginseng, licorice and ephedra (ma huang), may have the same effect.
Many illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, also increase blood pressure.
Stressful situations can cause blood pressure to spike temporarily, but researchers are not sure whether stress can also cause long-term high blood pressure.