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Blood Pressure - The Silent Killer
by Dave Foreman
High blood pressure (hypertension) is also known as the silent killer because most people don't feel any warning signs or symptoms. Hypertension often will develop slowly and can cause serious damage. New guidelines from the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure recommended more stringent measures and created a new category called pre-hypertension for those whose pressure is borderline high (130139/8589 mm Hg) or normal (120/80). This all came about because new research is showing the risk of heart disease and stroke can occur at lower blood pressures than we originally believed. Personally, I think this is overkill and simply another rationalization to medicate America. I believe that having regular checkups and monitoring blood pressure is wise, but if this recommendation leads to more people being medicated count me out. Too often we are alarmists and medicate, as opposed to being alarmists who are inspired to change our lifestyle(s).
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE READING
We often hear that normal blood pressure is 120/80 or below. Now, with pre-hypertension being 120-139/80-89 or hypertension being 140/90 or above, we need to understand the numbers. The top number (systolic) is the pressure of your blood in your veins and arteries just as your heart pumps. The bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure when your heart is at rest. As we age and the elasticity of your veins and arteries decreases, the top number often will climb while the lower number remains in check. As your arteries become smaller (like your garden hose that gets blocked), it takes more force to get the blood (water) moving. This need for increased force is what I like to call high blood pressure. If you had a squirt gun with a large hole, it would be easy to pull the trigger. If the whole was very tiny, it would take a lot more force to pull the trigger and shoot the water out.Your body is the same way. By relaxing (opening the hole) your heart will not have to work so hard and you will have lower blood pressure. This is the mechanism by which blood pressure medications work. Of course there are several categories of BP medications (ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers etc.), but the final result is the same: reduced pressure on the walls of the arteries.
Factors that contribute to having Hypertension
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
My belief is that by leading a proper lifestyle, the majority of hypertension cases could be avoided. I'll use myself as an example.Ten years ago I owned a very successful pharmacy in Virginia. Life was wonderful; my son was just born; and it was Christmas. As far as most people could see, I had it great. What most people didn't know is 3 days before Christmas my blood pressure was 165/110. That is way too high for anyone especially someone 32 years of age. This didn't make sense; I ate right, exercised, and took great care of my health. So WHY? After a few days of monitoring my blood pressure (it was still high), I realized there had to be another cause: STRESS! Yes, even with everything going great, the stress of owning a pharmacy was taking its toll. I had a choice, either take medication or get rid of the stress. So, on December 27th 1997, I decided to get rid of the stress my pharmacy. I understand that many of you can't just up and leave your jobs, but my example is one that many need to understand because it demonstrates that lifestyle plays a HUGE role in your health
Until you learn how to modify your lifestyle, several supplements can help. My new focus is to guide you to combination products that support your health needs.
Combination products are designed to give you a synergistic blend of nutrients that target your specific challenge. Synergy is like adding 1+1+1 and getting 5 not 3. There is something to be said for the power in numbers. Using just one ingredient like garlic to lower your blood pressure might work for some, but not all of you. The following are the more popular single ingredients pressure formulations:
Of these ingredients, two stick out as extra beneficial: CoQ10 and Fish Oil. Research with CoQ10 shows it can significantly decrease blood pressure in about 10+ weeks. Most studies used about 100mg per day. I recommend 60mg chewable tablets taken two times daily. CoQ10 is naturally occurring in the body and considered a powerful hearthealthy antioxidant. As discussed in earlier newsletters, antioxidants can help reduce potential damage caused by free radicals.
To prevent heart disease, the American Heart Association and the U.S Government recommend eating fish (cold water) I prefer using supplements because it ensures I am getting the benefit(s) of fish without the toxins sometimes found in fish today. I use Coromega® packets daily as my source of Omega-3's from fish oil. Not only is Coromega® free of toxins, it is emulsified to prevent burping and aid digestion. Its unique packaging is also a plus. No light or air intrudes on the product, ensuring freshness every dose. There are other great brands, such as Nordic Naturals and Barlean's, that will give you purified, contaminant-free fish oil. Dosing for hypertension varies in the research, but most studies used 3grams or more per day of Omega-3s. If you are taking a capsule, it may require 6 or more capsules per day depending on the concentration.
Since I mentioned that synergy is the way to go, let's take a look at a few combination products I would consider using; BP Manager (Enzymatic Therapy), Blood Pressure Control (Twin Labs), Blood Pressure Factors (Michael's Health Products), and Heart Response (Source Naturals). Each is unique yet combines similar ingredients that are designed to support healthy blood pressure levels. Many other great products are available to help those with blood pressure-control-issues, so consult with your health care provider and/or a store associate to find the product that's best for you.
If you plan to lower your blood pressure with lifestyle changes and the use of supplements, remember to work closely with your health care provider. I also recommend home monitoring of your blood pressure. Monitoring your BP is a critical part of your health care regimen. Buying a blood pressure monitor doesn't have to be expensive and can guide you to a healthier you. Remember, dietary supplements don't work overnight; therefore your blood pressure will decrease slowly. Using supplements with your medications is not usually recommended and special care should be taken. For those using multiple medications to lower blood pressure, your first goal should be either dosage reduction or medication elimination.You didn't get High Blood Pressure over night and you won't eliminate it that way either. Be practical; Natural Medicine works only if you are committed to the program and use commonsense.