Keeping Your Blood Pressure Under Control

Do you have High Blood Pressure?

Did you know that 1 in 3 adults (ages 40-59) have high blood pressure (hypertension)?  You might think that it is normal to have high blood pressure because your parents or grandparents did, but it is a condition that can be dangerous to ignore.

Risk Factors for Hypertension:

You are more at risk to develop high blood pressure if you are overweight, have a history of smoking, do not exercise, have a family history of hypertension, eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates/salt and if you use oral contraceptive pills.  Most pharmacies have machines that allow you to check your blood pressure, or you can purchase an inexpensive machine to use at home.

What Causes Hypertension?

Most people develop primary idiopathic hypertension, which is a fancy way of saying that physiologists are not exactly sure why your blood pressure is elevated.  Sometimes there is an underlying disease that leads to hypertension, such as kidney disease, adrenal disease, untreated sleep apnea or toxic exposures to lead, cadmium or mercury.  Excess use of stimulants (caffeine), certain medications (steroids, Ibuprofen/Advil, Naproxen/Aleve, Prozac, birth control pills, Ritalin, Sudafed), certain herbs (ginseng, ephedra, licorice, senna) and some recreational drugs (cocaine, amphetamines) can all elevate blood pressure levels. If you are taking too many bio-identical hormones, this can also cause hypertension.

Why is it Dangerous?

Untreated high blood pressure increases your risk for an enlarged heart, a stroke, aortic dissection, aneurysms, heart failure, retinal damage, dementia and sudden cardiac death.  It can also weaken the valves of your heart.

What Can I Do About it?

A healthy diet and exercise program are actually the first steps in normalizing blood pressure.  About 46% of patients are not able to successfully treat their blood pressure with medications. Fortunately, there are other treatments available.  Many patients are deficient in magnesium, which is a vital nutrient to help maintain a healthy blood pressure.  Magnesium can be taken orally or as an IV, depending on how well you absorb nutrients in your digestive tract.  Herbs also have a long history of successfully treating high blood pressure.

Don’t Ignore It!

If you or someone you care about has high blood pressure, don’t wait to do something about it.  Untreated high blood pressure puts stress on multiple systems in your body, which can lead to permanent damage.  Take charge of your health and schedule a visit with your physician today.