High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is frequently referred to as the silent killer. That's because it has few symptoms but greatly increases the likelihood of strokes, heart attacks and kidney damage. Therefore is it a disease that cannot be ignored and needs to be taken very seriously!
67 million American adults (31%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 of every 3 adults. Research shows African Americans often develop hypertension earlier in life -- and with much higher blood pressure levels. Nearly 42% of black men and more than 45% of black women aged 20 and older have high blood pressure. Strokes kill 4 times more 35 to 54 year-old black Americans.
There are numerous causes of hypertension and sometimes they are never identified by your doctor. It’s important to try to identify as many contributing factors as possible to guide you to what natural treatments including dietary changes, exercise, and other lifestyle changes and supplements will give you the most successful results.
These include smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, too much salt, sugar &/or caffeine in the diet, too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day) stress, older age, fluid retention, clogging &/or hardening of the arteries, family history of high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, adrenal and thyroid disorders to name a few.
Many people are turning to Natural Medicine because they are taking 3 or more prescriptions for hypertension and still their blood pressure is not well controlled. Also many people are not happy with the side effects of high blood pressure medications which include erectile dysfunction, leg cramps, dizziness, dry eyes, dry mouth and insomnia.
So what can you do?
Start by getting your body moving every day. Multiple studies indicate that exercise can lower blood pressure as much as some drugs can. People with mild and moderately elevated blood pressure who exercise consistently 30 to 60 minutes three to four days per week (like walking, jogging, cycling, or other aerobic exercise) are usually able to significantly decrease their blood pressure readings.
Next neaten up your diet. Eliminating caffeine, alcohol, salt, and sugar as well as reducing carbohydrates, particularly white flour products help to lower blood pressure.
Deal with your stress. Stress on a regular basis increases blood pressure. It increases the inflammatory hormone cortisol, adrenaline which increases heart rate, and vasopressin, a small hormone molecule, which increases reabsorption of water by the kidneys and induces vasoconstriction.
There are many supplements we have used in our practice that help lower blood pressure in most patients. These are just a few options that are commonly successful.
Kyolic 109 Blood Pressure Formula: (Wakungaga) 2 caps 2x day. This is a combination of Nattokinase and Suntheanine with Aged Garlic Extract to help relax and support healthy blood pressure through different pathways. Clinical studies have shown these ingredients can help support healthy blood pressure levels.
High Absorption Magnesium (Doctor’s Best) 1-2 tabs 2x day Overall data revealed in medical studies indicated that magnesium supplementation reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Magnesium is used in the production of prostaglandin E1, which is a powerful vasodilator which causes your blood vessels to relax and widen, allowing for easier blood flow and results in a lower blood pressure. Magnesium also regulates the level of sodium, potassium and calcium within cells. (It can act as a stool softener as well so be cautious when 1st starting it)
Tranquil-Ezzz™ (Food Science of Vermont) is a synergistic combination of valerian root, amino acids, herbs, and B vitamins to aid in relaxation to reduce stress associated with elevated blood pressure.
Urinary Flow (Natural Factors) is a natural diuretic to help reduce excess fluid in the tissues which increases blood pressure. Follow directions on the label.
Make sure to take your resting blood pressure at least once or twice a week at the same time of day and keep a log.
If you are currently taking blood pressure medications, DO NOT stop them!
Supplements are not a swap out of your medication for natural, just add them in slowly. They are intended as a gradual transition to help your body to become healthier, and reduce the need for medication. When your blood pressure becomes lower speak with your prescribing physician about lowering your medication. Your doctor can only let your blood pressure get so low, so at some point the medication or supplement must be reduced! I suggest it be the medication.
It is best to consult with a Naturopath for the safest supplement options specific to your needs.
Naturopath appointments (in-office or telephone) are available at the Tree of Life Wellness Center, 508-336-4242.
Jane Jansen, Naturopath