Blood Pressure Treatment
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND HOW TO TREAT IT NATURALLY
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HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND HOW TO TREAT IT NATURALLY
by Herbal Practitioner Alan Hopking MA MNIMH
A. Right BP – Key to Long Life
The relationship between blood pressure and cardiovascular disease is a continuous one. A normal blood pressure through your years is the key to a long life say the experts. Excess risk for cardiovascular disease begins to increase substantially at a SBP (Systolic Blood Pressure) greater than 140 mm Hg and a DBP (Diastolic Blood Pressure) greater than 83 mm Hg.(2) Factors such as age, race, sex, socioeconomic status, and other cardiovascular risk factors should be considered in determining the need for treatment.(3) Since it is estimated one fifth of British adults have SBP that averages over 140 mm Hg and/or DBP that averages 90 mm Hg or greater. The Joint National Committee on Detection Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure V (JNC V) has reclassified hypertension to emphasize elevation of SBP and to phase out the outmoded adjectives mild, moderate and severe. (1)
Category SBP DBP
Normal <130 <85
Borderline 130-139 85-89
Stage 1 140-159 90-99
Stage 2 160-179 100-110
Stage 3 180-209 110-119
Stage 4 >210 >120
There is elevated risk of disease and death at all levels of hypertension and each requires long-term management. Each stage can be treated effectively with herbal medicine.
Symptoms that can lead to or suggest high blood pressure: anger, fear, worry, anxiety, depression, guilt, overwork, physical strain, stress, mental strain, excessive exercise, sleep deprivation, light-cycle disruption (going to sleep late), late nights, surgery, trauma, injury, intermittant inflammation, infections, frequent pain, temperature extremes, toxic exposure, malabsorption, maldigestion, regular illness, allergies, hypoglycaemia, blood sugar highs and lows, nutritional deficiencies, low body temperature, weakness, unexplained hair loss, hair loss, nervousness, difficulty building muscle, muscle wasting, irritability, mental depression, difficulty gaining weight, apprehension, blood sugar imbalance, inability to concentrate, excessive hunger, tendency towards inflammation, moments of confusion, indigestion, poor memory, feelings of frustration, alternating diarrhea and constipation, diarrhoea, constipation, bone loss, auto-immune hepatitis, auto-immune diseases, lightheadedness, palpitations, heart fluttering, dizziness, poor resistance to infections, low blood pressure, insomnia, food allergies, PMS, craving for sweets, dry skin, thin skin, headaches, scanty perspiration, alcohol intolerance
B. Risks of Hypertension
The choice of 140 mm Hg to define high SBP or 90 mm Hg to define high DBP should not imply a fixed threshold by which to initiate therapy. Persons with consistent readings between 85 89 mm Hg should be considered as having borderline diastolic hypertension, and although in most cases this does not warrant treatment, non-medication treatment should be started.
“Borderline” hypertensive persons are usually significantly heavier, and have higher total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and higher glucose and insulin levels. (4) It has been concluded that “borderline” high blood pressure is associated with other cardiovascular risk factors. (4)
Coexisting high SBP is an important factor to consider since it has been found to be more predictive of cardiovascular disease and death in the majority of British men. (5) (6) Isolated high SBP is predominantly found among the elderly.
The six year risk of coronary artery disease mortality among men, 35 to 57 years of age, screened for the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) confirms earlier reports from Framingham that multiple cardiovascular risk factors increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and death. Cigarette smoking increases the risk by two to three fold independent of DBP and cholesterol levels. As cholesterol levels increase the risk of CHD mortality increases by three fold from the lowest to the highest category.(6) Between 1972 and 1990 the US experienced a significant reduction in the mortality rates for coronary heart disease (50%) and stroke (57%) in both men and women (1) compared to a decrease of <10% in mortality from all non cardiovascular diseases. (7) Goldman and Cook (8) estimated that lifestyle factors (less cigarette smoking, less saturated fat consumption and healthier dietary habits, and increased physical activity) have contributed to about 50% of the decline; physician initiated factors are estimated to account for about 40% of the decline. Recent data from the Framingham study suggest that the decrease in incidence of coronary heart disease is related to changes in lifestyle and to treatment of hypertension. (7)
Some High Blood Pressure Drugs
If you’ve wholeheartedly made lifestyle changes trying to reduce your high blood pressure and it doesn’t seem to be working, you may need high blood pressure medication. Numerous drugs exist for high blood pressure, but you need to meet with your doctor to discuss what medicine is right for you. Drugs for high blood pressure fall into several classes:
* Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: Lower blood pressure by blocking formation of a key hormone, angiotensin II, which both narrows arteries and causes release of another blood-pressure-raising hormone
* Angiotensin II receptor blockers: Lower blood pressure by preventing angiotensin II from attaching to a site
* Beta blockers: Lower blood pressure by decreasing the amount of blood pumped by the heart and by lowering the heart rate
* Calcium-channel blockers: Lower blood pressure by preventing calcium from entering cells, thus increasing the size of arteries
* Diuretics: Lower blood pressure by causing salt loss in the urine with accompanying body water, thereby reducing blood volume and pressure
C. Herbal Medicine and High Blood Pressure
The heart pumps 100,000 times a day. The blood travels through a maze of 60,000 miles of vessels. Blood pressure is vital to life. High blood pressure threatens it. Low SBP below 100mm Hg is also a danger. Blood pressure depends on the strength of the heart beat, the elasticity of the blood vessel walls, back-pressure resistance (e.g. body fat), muscle, blood thickness and volume, also the health of the liver, kidneys and lungs. Blood pressure has now been found to be totally unrelated to age, that is, it doesn’t rise with age. There are often no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. But don’t be deceived. To optimize heart health, choose foods such as green veggies and berries with low glycemic index ratings. If you occasionally must have foods with simple carbs, avoid those made from white flour; instead, have a modest portion of brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.(9) And exercise three times a week for half an hour. If you want to get off your diuretics, adrenergic antagonists, vasodilators, beta-blockers, etc contact Alan Hopking, MA MNIMH or your local NIMH herbalist. S/he will give you a full examination and monitor your withdrawal, as you take a mixture of herbs like Lime Flowers, Hawthorn, Motherwort, Yarrow, Garlic, Dandelion leaves, and Ginger root. Other herbs s/he may give are for the liver, kidneys, immune system, gentle detox and relaxants for a stressed nervous system. Recommended supplements for high blood pressure: vitamin C 1000mg; vitamin E 400 IU; B complex; Magnesium 300mg; Selenium 50mg. Or better still take just ½ tsp of our ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus to fully support and supplement your nutritional needs.
Health matters. Live a lifestyle that’s both healthy & happy!
Herbs important for heart health:
1. CholesterolLess Tonic used for those with a need to keep cholesterol under control – designed to gently cleanse the heart and arteries of lipids (fats). It’s also a gentle stimulant for those who have circulatory problems like cold hands and feet. With Hawthorn, Ginkgo, Melilot tops, Safflower, Buck wheat, Madder root, Ginger root, Prickly Ash and Red Sage root, this tonic taken on a low dose daily will keep your cholesterol down.
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More about herbs and cholesterol
2. Heart and Circulation Tonic to normalize blood pressure and regulate the circulation – great for those who have general good health but are looking to support their heart health into the latter years. With Hawthorn berry, Lime flower, Motherwort herb, Horse Chestnut, Blood root, Stevia, Heartsease, Broom tops, Jujube seed and Hart’s Tongue leaf.
More about herbs for the heart and circulation
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Free Orderline 0800 0834436 (++44 1425 613436 outside UK)
1. Joint National Committee on Detection Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. The Fifth Report of the Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC V). Arch Intern Med 1993;153:154 183. 2. Kannel WB, Stokes JI. Hypertension as a cardiovascular risk factor. In: Bulpitt CJ, ed. Epidemiology of Hypertension: Handbook of Hypertension, Volume 6. New York/Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishing Co, Inc., 1985: 15 34. 3. Browner WS, Hulley SB. Effect of risk status on treatment criteria: Implications of hypertension trials. Hypertension 1989;13(suppl I):I 51 56. 4. Julius S, Jamerson K, Mejia A, Krause L, Schork N, Jones K. The association of borderline hypertension with target organ changes and higher coronary risk: Tecumseh blood pressure study. JAMA 1990; 264(3) :354 358. 5. Lichtenstein MJ, Shipley MJ, Rose G. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures as predictors of coronary heart disease mortality in the Whitehall study. Br Med J 1985;291:243 245. 6. Kannel WB, Neaton JD, Wentworth HD, et al. Overall and coronary heart disease mortality rates in relation to major risk factors in 325,348 men screened for the MRFIT. Am Heart J 1986;112:825 836. 7. Sytkowski PA, Kannel WB, D’Agostino RB. Changes in risk factors and the decline in mortality from cardiovascular disease: The Framingham Heart Study. N Engl J Med 1990;322(23):1635 1641. 8. Goldman L, Cook EF. The decline in ischemic heart disease mortality rates: an analysis of the comparative effects of medical interventions and changes in lifestyle. Ann Intern Med 1984;101:825 836. 9. Am J Clin Nut 2000; 71(6): 1455-61.
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Heart & Circulation
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ABCDaily Herbal NutriPowder Plus