Most of us understand that a normal blood pressure is somewhere around 120/80, but what do those numbers really mean? You probably already know that an elevation of either number is not a good thing and you may worry when you hear that your blood pressure is elevated. Blood pressure increases can be normal during stressful situations such as a visit to your doctor or dentist. However, if our blood pressure remains elevated for extended periods of time, it can start to cause other problems throughout our body.
Blood pressure is essentially a ratio of the systolic and diastolic pressures in the heart. Systolic pressure is the arterial pressure while your heart is contracting. Diastolic pressure is the arterial pressure while the heart is in relaxation and refilling with blood. When either of these numbers are too high, it means that your heart has to work harder to pump your blood. Blood pressure can be high because of stress, diet, plaque formation, weight, kidney disease, thyroid problems, and genetics. In addition, another important number to pay attention to is your pulse pressure. The pulse pressure is the difference between the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. If the pulse pressure is above 40, it indicates an increase in stiffness in the arterial wall. This lack of elasticity within the arteries can be the result of arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Arteriosclerosis decreases blood flow, which can lead to increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The big question is what can we do about high blood pressure or an increased pulse pressure?
From an integrative health approach there are many natural ways to decrease blood pressure, therefore potentially decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. An integrative approach involves the incorporation of traditional western medicine and natural medicine. Integrative medicine practitioners investigate the root cause of particular ailments. With the aid of proper nutrition and natural, well-documented and researched herbal supplements, the basic biochemistry of the body starts to work together again to resolve aliments.
Specifically for high blood pressure, here are some well-researched natural therapies:
- Olive Bark Extract blocks the beta adrenergic activity and therefore lowers blood pressure. The dosing
for olive bark extract is 500 mg three times per day.
- Magnesium Orotate is an electrolyte that aids the heart, recommended dose is 3000 mg once a day.
- Coenzyme Q10 should be taken in the soy-free ubiquinol form; the type of CoQ10 is very important.
- Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate(P5P), also known as active-B6 greatly increases the HDL or good cholesterol.
P5P with the amino acid Taurine have been shown to greatly reduce blood pressure together. To help lower an increased pulse pressure, Vitamin C at 2000 mg (corn free) per day helps with the elasticity in the arteries. A good source of Vitamin C is Amla Berries. With any supplement recommendation, please know that the quality of the supplement is very important. It is best to consult with someone trained in Integrative medicine before beginning any regimen.
Another thing to consider is checking to see if you have a well-balanced diet full of whole foods. A whole foods diet is based on plenty of fresh vegetables and noncommercial or prepackaged foods. Decreasing the amount of white sugar and adding more vegetables into your daily diet will improve your overall health. Some professionals also suggest salt restricted diets as well. Also, drinking half of your body weight in ounces of clean spring water will also aid in improving your health. Some form of daily exercise is very beneficial whether it be going to the gym or deciding to park farthest from the door at work or your favorite shopping plaza. Finally, for anyone dealing with high blood pressure, try to include deep breathing and de-stressing techniques in your daily life. If you are experiencing a rise in blood pressure, it is important to seek medical care whether it is from a traditional allopathic doctor or someone who is certified in integrative medicine. Elevated blood pressure readings should not be ignored. There is a reason it is called the “silent killer”; often a patient with heart disease may be asymptomatic. Get to know your numbers. If your numbers are elevated, change what you can to help take control of your numbers by living a healthy lifestyle and seeking the help of a trained professional.
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