blood pressureOne of the most common ailments that affect the elderly and the lower income populations of the world is chronic high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Approximately, 35% of the American adult population has hypertension, around 80 million people. This is nearly double the number from ten years ago, and there is no sign that this statistic is slowing down.

It has been over a hundred years since the discovery of high blood pressure as a medical condition, but it often appears that we have not made much significant progress on reducing its prevalence. The medications available are safer than they were a few decades ago, but treating the disease with medications doesn’t prevent its onset. In order to reduce its prevalence, we must understand its causes.

Hypertension, actually, falls into two categories, primary and secondary. Primary hypertension accounts for the supreme majority of hypertension cases, well over 90% and is the one most people are familiar with that is caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that occurs as a byproduct of another medical condition like kidney disease, thyroid disease, or endocrine disorders. For the majority of this article, we will be addressing primary hypertension.

Normal blood pressure, depending on age is anywhere from 90 over 65 to 120 over 80. Hypertension is when your blood pressure becomes elevated, 140 over 90 considered stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 is 160 over 100 and higher and it is this band in which serious symptoms and adverse events can occur.

In most medical references on the subject, hypertension is caused by a small number of culprits and it typically boils down to eating too much salt and aging. If aging causes high blood pressure than we are all doomed. But luckily for mankind this is inaccurate, and the real explanation of hypertension is simple to understand.

Hypertension is, first and foremost, a plumbing problem. Though I do not know if plumbers are more or less inclined to get hypertension, but they certainly do possess the knowledge of the principles involved. Your circulatory system is made up of tubing that moves fluid, under pressure, from one place to another. It is operated by a large pump. It has valves at the ends that open and close. Its tubes vary in diameter, and are generally flexible to tolerate fluctuations in pressure, and just like any plumbing system, if the internal pressure is too high, you risk a burst.

Many elements can create high blood pressure. If the arteries become plugged up, if the capillaries at the ends die off and there are less places where the blood is released from the system. If the heart beats too quickly and too forcefully. If the arteries stiffen and lose flexibility, and so on.

You might think that those sorts of developments are the type that would occur with aging, and while there is some truth to that statement, we must not forget that ‘aging’ is just an accumulation of numbers, but what we need to be more concerned about is ‘degrading’ and the rate of our bodies degradation is very much under our control and can be influenced by our actions and decisions.

For example, some of the many controllable risk factors of hypertension are:

  • Frequency of exercise to encourage capillary preservation and the formation of new blood vessels.
  • Dehydration, which thickens blood and makes it more difficult to travel through blood vessels.
  • Smoking, which causes the blood vessels to stiffen, as well as creates blockages within the blood vessels.
  • Alcohol, Salt, and High-fat foods, which also cause blockages, plaques, and blood vessel stiffness.

  • Perhaps the highest known population with hypertension is the African-American. 44% of the adult population in the African-American community has hypertension. Many would blame this on the fact that this population typically has a lower socio-economic status, reduced education, or other explanation that ignores the principles listed above.

    If you observe the diet, environment, and genetics of this population, you will realize that their overall lifestyle creates an extremely high risk for chronic hypertension. The African-American population also has higher incidences of obesity, diabetes, vitamin D deficiency, alcohol consumption, and smoking, all of which increase the risk of hypertension.

    High fat diets, deep-fried foods, increased salt intake, increased sugar consumption, and all the other dietary and environmental factors that cause hypertension are the real culprits in this community. Real efforts must be made to educate and empower this population in order to reverse the statistics of hypertension in this community.

    While the previous example may well illustrate the dietary and environmental factors of hypertension, there is another factor that permeates all cultures, races, genders, and ages. Stress. Stress is a major factor in hypertension. Because it is often a psychological problem, it is difficult to quantify, accurately diagnose, and effectively treat because each person’s stress sources and physiological responses are unique.

    It is no secret, and an easily observable fact, that people with high anxiety, short tempers, high stress, nervousness, etc. tend to have chronically high blood pressure, or have an increased risk of developing it later in life.

    stressWhen people are involved in accidents, such as a motor vehicle accident, their blood pressure is typically very high because of the body’s alarm responses to danger. Though often less immediate or dramatic, the frequent and daily alarm responses in the body can keep the blood pressure elevated.

    It is frequently observed that when the stress levels are reduced, and the anxieties are tranquilized, blood pressure often drops. Stress is a powerful force and it should not be overlooked, especially when you are trying to address chronic hypertension.

    Hypertension is something that we are very familiar with at the Nutrikon Wellness Center. It is a medical condition that has been diagnosable for over a hundred years and we are not stranger to it.

    While traditional approaches involve medications with limited range of effectiveness, we take an alternative approach and seek to address the sources of the hypertension and remove them so that the body can heal itself, rather then remain on blood pressure medication for the rest of one’s life. Blood thinners, and the like do not address the causes. We do.

    We use detailed testing and analysis to determine what factors are contributing to your hypertension, whether its toxicity, diet, environment, stress, or a combination. Among the most advanced analysis services we offer is our genetic testing, specifically the CardioGenomic Profile, which can be used as a tool to estimate your personalized risk for developing high or low cholesterol, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, high blood pressure, coagulation disorders, and other coronary conditions. Though genes do not necessarily determine your medical fate, they can provide detailed insight into how your body might react to various dietary, environmental, and lifestyle factors as well as certain medications.  

    Our program always utilizes nutritional supplementation to encourage the body’s natural functions to correct hypertension and elevated blood pressure. Some nutrient programs may include:

  • Hawthorn
  • CoQ10
  • Garlic
  • Magnesium
  • Arginine
  • Taurine

  • Some of these nutrients may not be appropriate for everyone and it is best to receive consultation before taking any substance to reduce your blood pressure.

    Besides supplementation, the critical components of any hypertension program are to eliminate risk foods like sugar, excessive sodium, high fat, alcohol, and other pro-inflammatory foods.

    Also, maintaining a healthy body mass index, regular aerobic exercise, and last but not least, reducing stress by taking time to relax and take deep breaths, and make choices that will reduce your stress to tolerable levels. Nothing is worth more than your life or your health.healthy heart