High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the most common health conditions in the United States, affecting approximately 25 percent of all adults, two-thirds of whom are younger than 65. The term high blood pressure simply means that people affected by this condition has higher than normal blood pressure levels as their hearts pumps blood through the body`s arteries. This greater the force that the heart has to pump the higher the chance of causing damage to the walls of the arteries, which can result in dangerous deposits of harmful (LDL) cholesterol and various toxic substances. If this process is left unchecked, the end result can be a heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.
blood pressure is often
assumed to be a natural consequence of aging, the
fact that so many
Americans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s suffer from
high blood pressure
clearly indicates it is not an age-dependent
disease. In actuality,
high blood pressure is the result of poor overall
lifestyle choices. Conventional medicine primarily
treating the symptoms of high blood pressure rather
its underlying causes. It does this mainly through
the use of blood
pressure medications, all of which can cause
dangerous side effects.
Your blood pressure levels can be measured using an inflatable cuff device known as a sphygmomanometer that is placed around your upper arm. Once the cuff is fully inflated, blood flow through the artery is temporarily stopped. Your doctor, listening with a stethoscope to the artery at the elbow, will slowly release the pressure in the cuff. Just as the blood flow in the artery starts to resume, a pounding sound can be heard. As soon as it is heard, your blood pressure will be noted. This measurement is known as your systolic blood pressure. Next, the cuff pressure will be released further until no sound can be heard. Once again your pressure will be noted, this time indicating your diastolic blood pressure. Normal or healthy blood pressure readings range between 90 to 135 systolic over 50 to 90 diastolic, with a reading of 120/85 considered average. High blood pressure is indicated when the systolic rises above a reading of 140, and the diastolic rises above 90. For accuracy, your blood pressure should be measured on two separate occasions, at least, two hours apart.
Note: Factors such as stress, physical exertion, and powerful emotions such as fear and anger can skew blood pressure readings. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not have your blood pressure measured during such times, but wait until you are calm and rested to ensure an accurate reading.
There are two types of high blood pressure, essential high blood pressure, and secondary high blood pressure. Essential blood pressure is high blood pressure that occurs without an obvious cause while secondary high blood pressure is caused by kidney damage or failure and/or imbalances in the endocrine system. The vast majority of high blood pressure cases—over 90 percent—are essential high blood pressure.
Caution: If you suffer from secondary high blood pressure, seek immediate medical attention.
The most common symptoms of high blood pressure are breathing difficulties, dizziness, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, insomnia, and irritability. Left unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to a serious heart condition, including stroke, as well as damage to the brain and kidneys.
Like many other chronic health conditions, high blood pressure is primarily due to our unhealthy modern lifestyle and diet. In indigenous cultures around the world, where a healthy, natural diet is the norm, and Western lifestyle factors do not exist, high blood pressure is virtually nonexistent. Therefore, in order to effectively prevent and reverse high blood pressure, knowing what causes it is an essential first step. The primary causes of high blood pressure are atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), poor diet, environmental toxins, and lifestyle factors. Various pharmaceutical medications can also cause or worsen high blood pressure.
Atherosclerosis: Not only is atherosclerosis a major cause of high blood pressure, it is also one of the primary causes of both heart attack and stroke. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is caused by the buildup of plaque in your body`s blood vessels, especially the arteries. In atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque thickens the blood and hardens the arteries, making them narrow and less elastic. Combined, the symptoms of atherosclerosis create resistance to the body`s blood flow, raising blood pressure levels.
Poor Diet: While high blood pressure is quite common in western, industrialized nations, researchers have found that it hardly exists at all among native peoples in Africa, China, South America, and Micronesia. The reason for this has to do with their diets, which are much healthier than today`s standard western diet. This point is brought home even further by what happens when people from these native lands relocate to more industrialized areas and begin eating accordingly. Soon after they adopt a more western-based diet, they too begin to show signs of high blood pressure, as well as many other chronic diseases.
The primary dietary factors that can cause high blood pressure are excessive consumption of saturated animal fats and refined salt (sodium chloride), coupled with a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients that are essential for healthy blood pressure levels. This is especially true of people who rely on fast foods or who regularly dine out rather than eat at home, as such meals are typically high in both salt and unhealthy fats. It is rare that prepared foods are made with unrefined sea or mountain salt and healthy oils and fats, such as coconut butter, extra virgin olive oil or organic butter.
Environmental Toxins: Environmental toxins such as cadmium, mercury, and lead can all elevate blood pressure levels. Typically, the levels of environmental toxins in people with high blood pressure are 300 to 400 percent higher than those with normal blood pressure levels. Other common environmental toxins or pollutants have the potential to raise blood pressure levels, as well. Sources of such toxins include tap water, toxins circulating through the air we breathe, and, in the case of mercury, dental amalgam fillings, various vaccines and sadly, fish and seafood. Chemical residues and toxins remain in produce that is conventionally grown and in the flesh of animals that have been raised with chemically treated feed.
Lifestyle Factors: Common lifestyle factors that can cause high blood pressure include excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine, smoking (including regular exposure to secondhand smoke), and a sedentary lifestyle. Research has shown that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels rise in direct proportion to the amount of caffeine a person consumes throughout the day. As for alcohol, even moderate consumption of beer or wine can raise blood pressure levels in some people.
Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke causes high blood pressure because of how smoking damages cells and narrows arteries. In addition, cigarettes contain an abundance of life-threatening chemicals that further increase overall health risks. Even smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco and snuff can raise blood pressure levels because of the nicotine and sodium they contain.
Being sedentary can also contribute to high blood pressure because a lack of exercise results in poor oxygenation of the body`s cells and tissues, and can create a negative impact on the heart muscle, causing it to have to work harder to do its job.
Pharmaceutical Drugs: The following medications can cause high blood pressure as a side effect of their use: Alfenta Injection, Aredia for Injection, Dobutrex Solution Vials, Epogen for Injection, Habitrol Nicotine Transdermal System, Lupron Depot, Methergine Injection and Tablets, Orthoclone OKT3 Sterile Solution, Polygam Immune Globulin Intravenous Human, Procrit for Injection, Sandimmune, Sandimmune Soft Gelatin Capsules, Tolectin, Velban Vials, Ventolin Inhalation Aerosol and Refill, and Wellbutrin.
Other Causes: In addition to the above factors, high blood pressure can also be caused by diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and chronic stress.