High blood pressure (BP) is not a disease. The body is compensating for something that is not working correctly like a protective mechanism. An “oil light” for when our body needs help. When you approach your medical doctor the first thing they usually do is prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure. Only the meds are sabotaging the natural protective mechanism and totally bypasses the cause. The drugs may reduce the numbers, but without the medication you still have high blood pressure, and as we know chemicals do not eliminate the cause of the problem.
Just because there is no label for several types of hypertension doesn’t mean that the body doesn’t have a cause for you experiencing the “unlabeled” hypertension. As a chiropractor it’s my job to discover what that cause is with your help.
Known causes can divide into four (4) primary categories:
Substance (Intake) Related: Alcohol is one of the major contributors. Others such as chronic dehydration, instability of blood sugar (especially hypoglycemia or diabetes), consumption of denatured table salt, excess meats in the diet, caffeine, food sensitivities (especially chocolate, corn, peanuts, nuts, pork, coffee, milk, and wheat), excess animal fats (especially if laden with pesticides, hormones and drugs) and trans fats (refined, hydrogenated or fried fats or oils). Under this category we also look at the nutrients that may be missing: consuming ascorbic acid instead of the whole Vitamin C complex, consuming “d-alpha-tocopherol” form of Vitamin E instead of the whole Vitamin E Complex, deficiencies of specific minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride, zinc and iodine found in their natural complex & digestible form, lack of selenium naturally found in the whole Vitamin E Complex and CoQ10 creating an imbalance in the other essential Co-Enzymes.
Toxicity: Smoking is another major contributor, plus non-aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen), taking certain prescribed hormones, lead or cadmium toxicity, chemical or environmental sensitivities (such as to natural gas, gasoline fumes, chlorine, air pollution, auto exhaust, soft plastics, cleaning chemicals, perfumes, formaldehyde, pesticides, tobacco smoke, or other chemical exposures).
Mental/Emotional: High stress lifestyles, tendency to anger easily, or anxiousness.
Other: Obesity, lack of exercise, repeated episodes of apnea, and vertebral misalignments.
Utilizing medications without first finding and correcting the problem is like putting a piece of duct tape on the “oil light” on your car’s dashboard. The problem is still there, you just covered up the warning.
Blood pressure is something that can be controlled naturally. Each individual is different but each of these methods should be attempted under the guidance of a health care professional. This way they can help you monitor and locate the best option for controlling your blood pressure.
First method of preventing and treating hypertension is eating a healthy diet. First and foremost, eat real food. Good foods are fresh, steamed vegetables (frozen when fresh is not available), good whole meats & fish (not processed), fresh fruits (not canned), fresh eggs (yes – eggs are good for blood pressure and cholesterol and anyone who tells you otherwise is teaching you archaic nutrition!), and vegetables (this is repeated intentionally – you need lots!). Vegetarians have historically had lower blood pressure readings. Replace your typical table salt with sea salt or “Real Salt”. Salt is a necessary part of healthy electrolyte balance, however, table salt with its missing co-mineral factors is poison to the heart. You also need Essential Fatty Acids. These keep the blood vessels, soft and pliable, yet strong. Good fats include avocados, RAW nuts and seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegies and fish (especially salmon). Eat whole grains and legumes, avoid processed ones. Eliminate the offenders that cause elevated blood pressure in the first place. Know the supplements you are taking and if in doubt, ask. People are supposed to eat foods, not single nutrients. Whole foods are complexes of macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and other factors that in combination can lower BP. With a good balanced diet, BP is brought down as quickly and as significantly as medications.
Chiropractic and good nutritional counseling is the second method. Chiropractic has been monitored in many clinical settings to show it helps reduce blood pressure no matter the technique. Research shows an immediate change in blood pressure, and long lasting change with a series of treatments.
Lifestyle modifications: Lose excess weight. Use relaxation therapies often. Meditation and even Church helps. Studies find those with strong religious beliefs have lower BP levels. Breathing techniques to minimize stress.
Exercise. I have one patient that we had tried everything except exercising because they could not tolerate any. Finally I said they just needed to walk for five minutes a day and increase only if it did not hurt or cause any problems. By the end of one week this patient had dropped their blood pressure from 163/96 to 125/77. Two days later after they had made it to 20 minutes of walking it had reduced to 120/76!!
Simple lifestyle changes could go a long way to controlling hypertension without medications. After you’ve discovered the underlying cause of your high blood pressure and then you put in the corrective measures, and if you choose to go off your medication, here are some cautions. First, see a practitioner that specializes in working with blood pressure in this manner. Secondly, put the corrections in place for a long period of time, with appropriate supervision, monitoring your blood pressure regularly before starting to wean off your meds. Never go off a blood pressure medication suddenly. It will be a slow tapering-off process as your blood pressure improves. Be proactive but be mindful to work with a specialist because doing it any other way is dangerous!