May 2, 2009
High Blood Pressure, also known as Hypertension is said to affect 1 in 3 U.S. adults, or about 73 million Americans over the age of 20. It has been called the "silent killer" as many people have this condition for years without ever knowing it. So what is the problem?? Well, untreated high blood pressure leads to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease, and aortic aneurysms.
So, just what is blood pressure and what do the numbers mean? When we measure blood pressure we record two readings. The top number is the systolic pressure. This is the pressure generated when the heart contracts (pumps). It reflects the pressure of the blood against arterial walls. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure when the heart is filling and relaxing between beats. The so called average blood pressure for an adult is 120/80, but each adult may have a different "normal" blood pressure. High blood pressure in adults is defined as a consistently elevated blood pressure of 140 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic or higher.
It is important that your blood pressure be taken accurately. Improper size cuffs, calcified arteries and arm positioning can give false readings. If your blood pressure is elevated on 3 consecutive readings on different days or if your systolic pressure is 160 or above, or your diastolic pressure is 105 or above, treatment is indicated.
OK, so what treatment or approach is right for you?
There are many different treatments available and medications that can be used, but I prefer to use medications only after lifestyle changes are explained, taught and implemented. One of the reasons I started the Institute For Medical Wellness was to give my patient's more choice in the treatments available. Medications when used properly are safe and effective. But exercise, lifestyle changes and proper diet can also bring many high blood pressure readings back to normal.
For a Naturopathic perspective on high blood pressue, Dr Jennifer Phillips, affiliate of The Institute For Medical Wellness has prepared the following:
Naturopathic approach to hypertension
High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading causes of disability or death due to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney failure. It's also the most common chronic illness Americans face. Despite the importance of these observations, blood pressure is poorly controlled in the United States. An estimated 25% of all American adults have high blood pressure, and only 27% have it under control. Conventional drug therapy consists of Diuretics, ACE inhibitors, Beta-blockers, Vasodilators, and Calcium-channel blockers. Side effects of these meds can include fatigue, depression, weight gain, and bone loss, so many patients are eager to find alternatives. If you are one of these patients, read on!
Diet should be low in sugar, high in complex-carbohydrates (such as whole fruits and vegetables). Grains should only be eaten in moderation (3 or fewer servings daily, and only whole grains), nuts, seeds, legumes (beans), fish. Meat and poultry should be limited to free-range and/or organic varieties to avoid chemicals and hormones. Increase foods rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium (carrots, spinach, celery, alfalfa, mushrooms, lima beans, potatoes, avocados, broccoli, and most fruits). Salt restriction may be indicated for some types of hypertension, but not all types. I recommend salting food to taste after cooking, and use only natural sea salt. A diet rich in garlic and onion is as important as any other supplements, so be prepared to smell like an Italian restaurant!
Weight loss -- The United States is in the midst of an epidemic of obesity involving more than one-third of the adult population. Weight gain is very high risk in determination of hypertension. It is very critical to lose weight in a slow fashion to control hypertension. Rapid weight loss is not advised. Many studies have shown those overweight-hypertensive patients can reduce their medication with weight loss.
Exercise -- Sedentary people have a 35% greater risk of developing hypertension than athletes do. Keep in mind that people with hypertension should always consult with their physician (ie Dr. Horvitz or a cardiologist) before starting a new exercise program.
Good Sleep Habits -- Insufficient sleep can contribute to high blood pressure in hypertensive people. Are you getting your 8-10 hours each night?
Stress reduction - Stress management and relaxation techniques such as meditation can help in controlling high blood pressure. I feel that hypertension is similar to a pressure cooker- but a pressure cooker always has a valve to let off steam. If we don’t have a valve to "let off steam" or a way to prevent the pressure from rising, then our internal blood pressure goes up!
Supplements that have been clinically studied and shown to reduce blood pressure include: Magnesium, Potassium, Coenzyme Q10, Omega-3 Oils, Vitamins C and E; amino acids L-arginine and Taurine; herbs such as Hawthorn, Arjuna, Olive leaf, and Garlic.
You are advised to consult with a naturopathic physician to check for interactions between supplements and medication before embarking on any supplement plan that may reduce blood pressure, especially if you are currently taking medication. In my own practice I have helped many patients reduce or eliminate medication through natural means. The changes also help to reduce other cardiovascular disease risk factors, so the benefit is not just limited to blood pressure.
Jennifer Phillips, ND
If you would like to consult with Dr. Jennifer Phillips, she evaluates patients at my office on Thursdays.
For more information about Dr. Jenn.
Have you ever had a massage and felt rejuvenated after? Julie Fischer, our massage therapist has the following thoughts on the benefits of massage on high blood pressure.
The lasting health benefits of massage are many, and yet it is often thought of as a luxury. In fact, studies have confirmed that one of the most effective ways of lowering high blood pressure is through receiving massage on a consistent basis. After a few weeks of regular massage, profound effects are found in groups of people who had been struggling to improve their heart's health. Blood Pressure levels are significantly lowered, levels of stress hormones decrease, and feelings of general well being return. As is the intent with all massage programs, the ultimate goal lies in a pain free and relaxing lifestyle. Controlling blood pressure is just one of the many benefits of massage therapy.
As a way to introduce Julie's massage skills, and hopefully bring or keep your blood pressure to a healthier level, she is now offering the following promotions:
Mini Massage! No time for a full session? Come by for a 15 or 30 minute refresher for your back, neck and shoulders! Feel the tension and stress release during your lunch break or between appointments in your busy day. Return to your schedule energized and renewed after this fully clothed, oil free mini massage. Be sure to call ahead to check time availability.
$20 - 15 minutes
$40 - 30 minutes
5 massage package 10% off
10 massage package 15% off
*must be used within 6 months
Healthy glow plan:
1 hour session per week - $250 monthly rate
Refer a friend for a first time visit, and receive $5 off of your next massage!
*Make sure your friend lets us know you are the referral source so that we can thank you!
Mothers Day Gift Certificates available!
What better way to show your appreciation than with a gift of renewal! Whether she chooses Thai, Hot Stone, Deep Tissue or Swedish, she will receive a healing treatment that will feel like absolute pampering.
Lockheed Martin employees -
Show your corporate ID and receive $5 off a 1 hour massage and $10 off a 2 hour massage!
For more information about Julie's sevices.
Proper exercise can also play a key roll in controlling blood pressure. Andy Dick of Optimum Fitness has prepared the following:
Regular exercise is a great way to naturally lower your blood pressure and keep it regulated and nearly any form of regular exercise is proven to help. Both cardiovascular (running, biking, etc…) and strength training has been proven effective in controlling blood pressure. While diet alone can accomplish this, exercise has the added advantage of getting your heart involved in the work. Plus, while you are burning calories, your are also maintaining and/or improving your muscle tone. Regular exercise improves your circulation and allows your body to more efficiently use oxygen in the bloodstream. Sweating out excess amounts of stored water and sodium in the body during exercise can help regulate some of the important components in the body that contribute to high blood pressure. Exercise forces the body to release insulin, which lowers sodium, which helps to lower blood pressure naturally. Any exercise is good, so my advice would be start on any program that you will enjoy and that fits your lifestyle and personality.
Please feel free to take advantage of a special offer available only to patients in Dr. Horvitz's Wellness Programs at The Institute for Medical Wellness: Enjoy a free initial consultation that will include body composition analysis, goal setting, program planning, and a comprehensive question and answer session to go over all of your concerns. After this, members of Dr. Horvitz’ Wellness Program are able to take advantage of an introductory 2 for 1 training package to get started. This is a $120 value for only $60 to get you on your way to a better, more rounded lifestyle.
For more information on Andy's services.
High Blood Pressure has many different causes, and many different treatments. You should never feel forced or coerced into any one treatment plan. At The Institute For Medical Wellness, we will work with you to find the treatment plan that meets the following criteria:
It is Safe, Healthy, and will make you Happy!!
Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Medicine
Founder of The Institute for Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
For more information about Dr. Horvitz and The Institute for Medical Wellness.
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