Hypertension is the most important risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries. At least 65 million US residents have blood pressures that place them at significant risk for coronary artery disease, heart failure, kidney failure, aneurysms, heart attack and stroke. Hypertension is also associated with cognitive dysfunction, erectile dysfunction and loss of vision. The higher the pressure, the greater the risk of complications.
Hypertension is frequently assymptomatic; in the absence of symptoms, elevated numbers may not have any significance for a patient. If no pain is felt, patients believe that no disease a present and that treating an abstract number is superfluous. Nothing can be further from the truth. Many people want to avoid pharmaceutical therapy and it’s inherent complications. Integrative therapy including lifestyle modifications can lower blood pressure effectively. Each case is unique and everyone should be checked and monitored by a physician. Lifestyle modification includes smoking cessation. Nicotine does cause an elevation in blood pressure.
Nutrition plays an important role. Recommended tactics include the Mediterranean Diet has resulted in modest decreases in blood pressure in study after study. The DASH diet has also been shown to reduce blood pressure over and over. Both diets rely on less sodium and more potassium intake, olive oil which in itself has anti-hypertensive effects, vegetables and lean meats, poultry and fish. Grains are allowed but my personal feeling is that there is no reason whatsoever to consume refined carbohydrates on a regular basis. Other elements of diet that contribute to blood pressure lowering include cocoa and red wine. By the way, two glasses of red wine daily for men and one for women have beneficial effects on hypertension and other cardiovascular problems as does ingestion of a small amount of dark chocolate daily. Other supplements shown to be beneficial include at least 1000mg Omega 3 Fish Oils daily, fiber, exercise and weight loss. CoEnzyme Q10 is a crucial cofactor in energy production and it’s levels are depleted by statin drugs. It has hypertension lowering effects and should be part of your supplement program especially if you take statins. At least 200mg daily is necessary. Vitamin D is also important in keeping blood pressure lower and optimizing your levels is essential.
Finally, magnesium has been shown to have a hypertension lowering effect in many studies. Mind-body techniques including meditation and yoga are effective as are the botanicals garlic and hawthorn. Please remember that pharmaceuticals may be necessary to control your blood pressure but these alternative therapies can lessen the amount of pharmaceuticals you require and eventually eliminate them. For more information contact me at the clinic.