Blood pressure issues are affecting over 100 million Americans – including our KIDS! 1 in 29 children are dealing with high blood pressure, so let’s find out what it actually means to have a problem.
Do I Have A Problem?
New Guidelines – The American Heart Association has lowered the guidelines for what can be labeled “high blood pressure“. New guidelines say if you’re between 120-129 for your systolic and between 80-90 for your diastolic, they’re calling that elevated blood pressure. That means, overnight, 30 million people could now be prescribed high blood pressure medications! Is the only solution for your high blood pressure to be on the blood pressure drug the rest of your life? Is that even fixing the problem? As soon as you come off your blood pressure meds – your blood pressure goes right back up, so the cause of the issue is not being addressed.
Conflicting Research – Some strong research is showing that 140/90 (if you’re over the age of 60, then 150/90) is actually okay and not a lot of risk with having a blood pressure problem! So there’s conflicting research out there, but never just stop taking your blood pressure medications without consulting your doctor, but definitely try more natural solutions first versus being on a medication your entire life.
How to Measure Blood Pressure – How many times is your blood pressure measured before being prescribed a medication? I’d bet once – you go into the doctor’s office, they put this cuff on you, you’re all nervous, your blood pressure is going up and they take one reading and diagnose a blood pressure problem and put you on a drug forever … that’s crazy! Doesn’t it make more sense to chart your blood pressure every day, at the same time and measure it over time? That way if you change something in your routine (and your blood pressure goes up), you’ll have an actual idea of the cause. A 30-day chunk of data that is a very powerful tool to see if you are trending up/down or if it just stays high, or if it was influenced because you had made a big meal the night before, or stressed out…etc.
Top Causes of High Blood Pressure
1. Nerve Damage
- Damage and pressure to the top part of your neck (the vagus nerve) will most certainly affect your blood pressure. The job of the vagus nerve is to innervate and control your heart, lungs, and digestive system and controls blood pressure (whether it goes up or down).
- Research has shown that taking pressure off the vagus nerve can lower your blood pressure better than TWO medications combined!
2. Shrinking Blood Vessels
- Vasoconstriction is when the blood vessels get smaller. If the blood vessels get smaller, the pressure within them goes up … pretty simple concept.
- Traditional Solution & Side Effects – A prescribed vasodilator that “dilates” or widens the blood vessels would be the normal protocol. Headaches and heart palpitations are just a couple side-effects of taking vasodilators.
3. Increased Angiotensin
- Angiotensin is what affects the arteries and the pressure within them, causing your blood pressure to go up.
- Traditional Solution & Side Effects – An ACE inhibitor is prescribed, which stops the enzyme that makes angiotensin so your blood pressure stops going up. The problem is that it can create a lot of dizziness and headaches. Additionally, blocking one area that causes blood pressure is not safe long-term because your body actually needs a certain amount of Angiotensin in order to control itself.
4. Stiff Tissue
- The more stiff you are, the more blood pressure problems you’re going to have. The common thought was to get the tissues to relax, so the blood pressure would go down.
- Traditional Solution & Side Effects – In an attempt to relax tissue, calcium channel blockers are prescribed to block calcium in the body. Calcium is extremely important as it enables our muscles to contract and our heart to beat! Calcium channel blockers are very dangerous because blocking the calcium to your muscles will inhibit them from firing the way they’re supposed to. You’ll be weakening the heart over time.
5. Epinephrine / Adrenaline
- Epinephrine, also known as Adrenaline, is the hormone that’s responsible for the feeling you’ve experienced if you’ve ridden in a fast car, rode in an airplane, made a public speech, or felt attraction to a love interest. Sweaty palms, heart racing, and blood pressure, of course, goes through the roof!
- Traditional Solution & Side Effects – Beta blockers are prescribed to block the effects of Epinephrin and slow heart rate. The problem is your body actually needs Epinephrine to respond to stressful events and regulate your system. If you’re down-regulating, you’re putting your heart in a fragile state and it can cause an increased risk of heart attack! Beta blockers also cause dizziness, memory problems, depression and a whole lot more.
6. Oxidative Stress
- Oxidative stress is the free radicals and toxins floating around in the bloodstream. They are beating up the insides of your arteries and making the blood pressure go up. It’s important to detox and lower oxidative stress because that toxicity issue will cause problems in the blood pressure.
- The more sugar that’s introduced into your system, the more resistance for the blood and the higher the blood pressure goes. Additionally, the more sugar in your system, the more you’re probably storing it as fat (which creates more cortisol in your system). The more cortisol in your system, the more fat gets stored. It’s a vicious cycle!
- When you have more fat, you have more tissue. So, if you’re putting on more weight, your heart has to pump more blood – which means your blood pressure gets higher! Consuming sugar is like putting diesel gas in your unleaded car. You need to get healthy, clean fats in as your fuel so your body will burn fat – not store it. Getting control of your sugar and your weight will drive that blood pressure down.