In this two part article we shall take a look at high blood pressure, what causes it and how to cure it or at least reduce its intensity.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is a killer – it’s ranked in the World health Organisation (WHO) database as:
1). Heart disease
High blood pressure on its own won’t kill you, but it will increase the build-up of plaque deposits on arterial walls, which in turn will create blockages, which over time result in such conditions as blood clots, which can cause strokes, and in some cases a blowout can occur whereby an artery explodes resulting in a massive heart attack. The most common form of death caused by heart attack takes place when the aortic artery (which is a very big artery and is about a quarter inch in diameter) explodes, usually resulting in instantaneous death, as blood flow to the heart ceases and the heart immediately stops. This is a little different from regular heart attacks, whereby maybe there is damage to a mitral vale, for example, and heart function becomes impaired resulting in some damage to the heart. These smaller heart attacks are usually seen as warning heart attacks, but often they are followed by the more serious aortic artery blowout type heart attacks.
Other cardiac problem arising from high blood pressure is that due to the increased blood pressure, the arteries become strained and stretch (which can result in the aorta exploding at some stage) and also kidney damage can occur as the blood leaves the heart and enters the kidneys, under far too much pressure thus creating kidney damage.
In summary, the cardiac system is a closed hydraulic system whereby a certain pressure has to be maintained at all times. Too little pressure and the effectiveness of the blood flow decreases and too much pressure, the arteries and organs start to receive damage. So something which is at the root of the two most common causes of death in the world should be of major concern to just about everybody. Sadly most people don’t know much about blood pressure or that there are lifestyle changes and even herbal natural remedies, which can help to improve things!
So we have to first realise that our body has a preferential blood pressure range which is ideally 120/80 (120systolic/80diastolic). At a stretch you can go up to 130/90 and probably be fine, but once above 130/90 damage starts to occur. The most important figure is the diastolic blood pressure, which rates the pressure of the blood as it returns to the heart. This figure is always Lower than the systolic blood pressure levels of blood leaving the heart. The systolic levels can often be high due to exercise, so say you just finished exercise, your blood pressure level might be 179/85, which is fine. The systolic pressure is simply high because your pulse rate is high. However, when blood is returning to the heart, it should be under much better pressure levels, hence the lower figure. So if for example, your blood pressure level is 130/100..it’s pretty bad as the systolic is ok but the diastolic is quite high.
High blood pressure as a disease is ranked as follows:
So there are several levels of high blood pressure. For most people, they will end up seeing their doctor once they end up between 130-140/90-100mmg. Your doctor will usually prescribe a first stage hypertensive drug and most often than not this will work fine. In some case though (especially in the case of morbid obesity and in chronic ill-health), blood pressure levels will continue to rise and as it does, more and more extreme measures have to be taken. For most people they can maintain their BP in the slightly high level and in most cases very severe hypertension can be reduced via long-term lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and improving other chronic health conditions.
You don’t have to have a deep understanding of this chart, but what matters most is to realise that damage begins at stage one and continues to worsen, as the blood pressure elves go up. Ideally you should work on curing your high blood pressure, but if this is not possible, for whatever reason, then you must make an effort to maintain normal range blood pressure levels via pharmaceutical drugs or natural remedies. Either way if you manage to maintain blood pressure levels, in the normal range, little or no damage will occur.
By way of analogy, a few years ago I was living in a house, whereby we had a water pump which we switched on every day for an hour, so as to fill the water tank on our roof. Once day while doing this I forgot about the pump, which is usually not a problem as the escape valve releases the excess water, but this time the escape vale jammed and instead I heard a sudden gush of water. I ran outside and saw that a thick plastic water pipe had exploded. On further investigation, I noted that the escape valve had jammed so the water pressure had built up in the overhead tank, but there were two 50lb stone slabs covering the tank, so the water pressure built up, even though it became high the slabs where unmoved, however, the plastic pipe on the side of the house had more give, so it bent and then exploded under the pressure. The reason for this blowout is because the water system in my house was a closed hydraulic system and once pressure built up, it had to go somewhere and finding the least point of resistance it warped and then blew out the plastic pipe, on the side of the house. Well this is the same thing which can happen when we have unchecked high blood pressure. Unchecked high blood pressure is catastrophe waiting to unfold, at any time a heart attack or a stroke can occur. But if you can keep your pressure, even artificially, within the normal range then your health will be pretty good.
Curing High Blood Pressure?
As noted, if we have to live with high blood pressure then we should get on with things and take our medication if it’s needed, but how about curing high blood pressure, can we cure high blood pressure?
Well this is a complicated scenario but let’s take a look at it and see what we can do about it.
What Causes High Blood Pressure:
There are various causes behind high blood pressure. One obvious cause is obesity. The body has a harder time pushing blood around a bigger body, which can result in the body having to work harder, in order to adequately supply blood to every part of the body.
Another potential cause is lack of exercises, which results in a weak inefficient heart, whereby the heart has to pump harder to make up for its poor efficiency.
Another cause of high blood pressure is problems with electrolyte levels in the body, in particular potassium which is necessary for the heart to function properly. Also if the body is too high in sodium, this results in water retention which in turn raises the volume of blood and with it the blood pressure level!
Chronic ill-health can also result in raised blood pressure levels. Diabetics for example, as a consequence of the problems their bodies have with handling insulin and glucose levels in the blood, are prone to raised triglyceride levels which in turn promote a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which in turn results in high blood pressure.
Also some drug interactions can result in high blood pressure.
Other factors which can influence blood pressure levels are stress (which can have a significant effect), smoking which blocks the arteries, excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time, age and genetics.
The Cause of High Blood Pressure from Traditional Chinese Medical Perspective:
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can throw an interesting light onto the subject of high blood pressure. From a TCM perspective high blood pressure results form an imbalance of yang (nurturing energy) and yang (active energy). Now there are several different possible variations on this imbalance, but we will not go into them here as it will derail the purpose of this article, which is to help you find natural remedies for high blood pressure. But what TCM CT does say in general, is that when a person’s energetic system becomes unbalanced it can result in various health conditions and if your genetic disposition is towards cardiac health issues, high blood pressure is one such possible outcome.
Now when we look at the list of causes above and add in the TCM conclusions, we can see that high blood pressure comes about as a consequence of lifestyle combined with genetics. In many cases simple lifestyle changes can help or even cure high blood pressure, but in some case high blood pressure is really an indicator of a broader imbalance in the body, in which case the raised blood pressure indicates a bigger problem on the horizon, which can be averted at this stage.
Lifestyle Changes Can Cure High Blood Pressure Levels in some Cases
In some cases lifestyle changes are enough to eradicate high blood pressure. For example if an obese person goes on a diet, there is a good chance that blood pressure elves will normalise. If a diabetic makes a concerted effort to get their blood glucose levels under control, there is a good chance of normalised blood pressure levels. Sometimes dietary changes help, as in a reduction in sodium intake, combined with an increase in potassium intake (start eating a banana a day) can resolve the issue.
Another really big factor is stress. Many people under-go a reduction in blood pressure levels when they take an anti-anxiety pill. If this is the case it suggests that the high blood pressure is probably caused (at least in part) by stress. Many people have borderline high blood pressure, which shifts over towards the high side when they are under stress. Also lack of exercise can play a part here, both because exercise boosts cardiac efficiency and in many cases people sit for such long periods of time that blood flow is reduced. Sitting for an extensive period of time can block the blood flow, through the hip area, which in turn raises blood pressure. We can also see how in a pressured office situation, how sitting for long periods of time combined with work stress and perhaps s high sodium intake, may cause increased blood pressure levels!
So if you are suffering from high BP or have a family member or friend who is, then take a look through these points raised here as in many case the BP levels can either be reduced or normalised with simple lifestyle changes!
What if Lifestyle Changes Don’t Work…Then What?
This is a distinct possibility for many people. If a person goes to their doctor for stage 1 hypertension and he puts them on an antihypertensive for a few weeks, if after say a month their blood pressure levels have not improved he will suggest that they stay on BP medication for life and there is a rationale behind this. In most cases once BP levels have been raised for a few weeks or months, the body will have a tendency towards raised blood pressure levels from then on. As far as I can see when blood pressure levels raise, for a few weeks or more, it results in a breakdown in the body’s ability to efficiently auto regulate blood pressure levels. This doesn’t mean that the person has to suffer with high blood pressure for life, but it does mean that once the body has gotten out of normal blood pressure control, for an extended period of time, that it will always be prone to do so again. Many people are borderline hypertensive and most of the time are fine, but their blood pressure raises some of the time. For this reason once you have had high BP levels for a while, the tendency will be for the BP to return. Doctors knowing this, suggest taking pills every day in order to prevent potential cardiovascular and kidney damage.
I think the doctors have a point. Also, once basic lifestyle measures have been made, if blood pressure levels do not reduce, then it doesn’t bode well for a permanent long-term reduction in blood pressure levels.
However, all is not lost. In many cases high blood pressure can be cured whilst in other cases it can be more effectively managed via herbs and complementary therapy.
Of course the first thing which you must do is get your blood pressure checked regularly and take prescription drugs as recommended by your doctor. I also advocate investing in an automatic electronic blood pressure tester, as it’s a great way to keep a check on BP levels. Check your BP levels daily, while integrating herbs and possible undergoing complementary health treatments.
Many herbal remedies act as natural blood pressure medications and can slowly replace your existing BP medication, or at least help you reduce the dosage. Also along with this complementary therapy such as acupuncture, homeopathy and aryuvedic medicine, will in many cases help to rebalance the energetic flow in your body, which over time may very well either cure or improve your blood pressure levels.
Summary of part One
In the second part of these article on natural remedies for blood pressure, we will cover some useful herbal remedies which will great help to reduce your blood pressure levels. But what can we take away from this article?
Well high blood pressure isn’t so much a disease as it is an imbalance which reflects a far greater energetic imbalance within the body. This imbalance is caused by:
- Poor lifestyle choices
- Often times small changes in lifestyle and diet will eradicate high BP
- Herbs can be used to help reduce allopathic medication and can sometimes replace it altogether
- Complementary therapy combined with herbs can often cure high blood pressure, but in some case a cure cannot be made but even in such a case, a great reduction in the severity of high blood pressure can be achieved!
High blood pressure is a scourge and also is largely misunderstood. Small lifestyle changes can frequently help and also in part two we shall cover the role of natural remedies and how they can help treat high blood pressure!