About High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, which is a synonym for high blood pressure, is often called the silent killer, because in most people it causes few if any symptoms. As many as one-third of the estimated 50 million people in this country with hypertension are not aware of it.
Normal Blood Pressure is considered to be 120/80. Anything more than 5 points above this is less than ideal; readings higher than 130/90 are considered hypertension, though many doctors take a watch and wait approach until blood pressure readings get closer to 140/90.
You should be aware that a diagnosis of high blood pressure requires two consecutive high readings. If you’ve been told that you have high blood pressure after one reading, you should ask for another reading to be taken on another day.
White Coat Hypertension
Also, if you’ve been told you have high blood pressure in the doctor’s office, you should keep in mind the phenomenon called “white coat hypertension,” which is a fancy way of saying that some people’s blood pressure goes up in the doctor’s office (as a result of the stress and fear some people experience at the doctor’s). For this reason, when your blood pressure is taken at the doctor’s office, you should do your best to relax; your blood pressure should not be taken if you’ve just rushed in to your appointment, or if your conversation with your doctor (before your blood pressure is taken) has caused you to feel anxious or stressed; or if you need to go to the bathroom. In some cases it may be helpful to wait five minutes and have your blood pressure taken again if the first reading is high and any of the above circumstances may have affected it.
High blood pressure can result from a variety of factors; it does not have one single cause. In fact, the most common type of hypertension, which is called primary hypertension, is considered to have an unknown cause.
High Blood Pressure increases one’s risk of heart attack and stroke and other cardiovascular disease: the longer you have blood pressure, and the higher it is, the higher the risk.
High Blood Pressure and Insulin Resistance
Many people’s elevated blood pressure is actually a symptom of insulin resistance, sometimes called pre-diabetes. You can learn more about insulin resistance here. Insulin resistant people with hypertension derive greater benefit from salt (sodium) restriction than do hypertensive individuals who are not insulin resistant. Insulin resistance can be assessed with simple blood work and a clinical history. (Please note that sodium restriction as a treatment or guideline for high blood pressure, by itself, is not an adequate nutritional intervention. A more comprehensive analysis of the mineral content of your diet is indicated if you have high blood pressure.)
High Blood Pressure: The Naturopathic Approach
Naturopathic therapies have much to offer people with hypertension; there are botanical (herbal), nutritional, and dietary strategies that can help with blood pressure. Exercise and weight loss frequently help; as does meditation and possibly prayer. Please explore the rest of this website, to learn more about the general philosophy and practice of naturopathic medicine. Of course, I am happy to meet with you to discuss your particular situation, and to explore with you how I can help you feel your best.