Chapter 2.16 - High Blood Pressure
In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, or hypertension.
The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.
This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available for download on this website.
Table of Contents
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download
Table of Contents
- ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT
- HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
- CONVENTIONAL APPROACHES
- TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT
- Measuring Blood Pressure
- Issues and Answers
- Weight Loss Goals
- Eating Right
- How To Find Your Neutral Position
- BIO-ENERGETIC THERAPIES
BODYWORK AND MOVEMENT THERAPIES
- Nutrition and Supplements
- Enzymatic Therapies
- Rainforest and Western Herbs
- Rainforest Herbs
- Western Herbs
- Homeopathic Remedies
- Essential Oils
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
- Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Hatha Yoga Postures
- PRODUCT ORDERING INFORMATION
- GLOSSARY OF TERMS
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that people can develop without knowing they have it. An estimated 50 million Americans have high blood pressure- hypertension affects more than half of all Americans over the age of 65.
Despite what the name suggests, you can be hypertensive even if you are not tense or under stress. Blood pressure is a measurement of how much force is being exerted on the inner walls of the arteries. Normal blood pressure occurs when the systolic numbers less than 130 and the diastolic numbers less than 85. High blood pressure or severe hypertension occurs when the systolic numbers 210 or higher and the diastolic numbers 120 or higher. There is a borderline stage and 3 stages in between these numbers. Risk factors for high blood pressure are: being overweight; leading an inactive lifestyle; smoking; excess salt in the diet; excessive alcohol intake, family history of high blood pressure; getting older; stress can contribute to blood pressure problems. Whether blood pressure is high, low, or normal depends on several factors: the output from the heart, the resistance to blood flow of the blood vessels, the volume of blood, and blood distribution to the various organs. All of these factors in turn can be affected by the activities of the nervous system and certain hormones.
The heart pumps blood through an extensive network of blood vessels. With each beat the two large chambers of the heart contract. The force of the contraction sends blood into the arteries, causing them to expand. Between beats, the large heart chambers relax and refill. The arteries contract between heart beats. To measure blood pressure a blood pressure cuff is wrapped around the upper arm. The sound of blood flowing is monitored with a stethoscope held over the artery just below the cuff. The cuff is inflated until it is tight enough to momentarily stop the flow of blood. The cuff is gradually deflated until the sound of blood flowing back into the vessel can be heard. This reading is called systolic pressure. The cuff is further deflated and the pressure is noted when the sound stops. This is the diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is determined by: the force and speed of the heartbeat; the volume of blood delivered to the arteries and; the arterial resistance. When the volume (amount) of the blood pumped to the arteries increase, the pressure on artery walls increases. The walls of the small arteries throughout the body can relax and tighten through muscle activity. When arterial muscles tighten or contract, arterial resistance increases. This is the pressure the arteries exert on the blood flow. An increase in blood volume, arterial resistance or the rate at which the blood flows can cause blood pressure to be high even at rest.
When blood pressure is elevated, the heart must work harder to pump an adequate amount of blood to all the tissues of the body. Ultimately, the condition often leads to kidney failure, heart failure, and stroke. In addition, high blood pressure is often associated with coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, kidney disorders, obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and adrenal tumors.
To diagnose high blood pressure, a physician uses a device called a sphygmomanometer. Blood pressure is represented as a pair of numbers. The first is the systolic pressure which is the pressure exerted by the blood when the heart beats, forcing blood into the blood vessels. This reading indicated blood pressure at its highest. The second reading is the diastolic pressure, which is recorded when the heart is at rest in between beats, when the blood pressure is at its lowest. Both figures represent the height (in millimeters or mm) that a column of mercury (Hg) reaches under the pressure exerted by the blood. The combined blood pressure reading is then expressed as a ratio of systolic blood pressure to diastolic blood pressure. Thus, in a person with normal blood pressure, the systolic pressure measures 120 mm Hg and the diastolic pressure measures 80 mm Hg together, this is expressed as 120 over 80 or 120/80. Both the systolic and diastolic readings are important; neither should be high. Normal blood pressure readings for adults vary from 110/70 to 140/90, while readings of 140/90 or 160/90, or 160/95 indicate borderline hypertension. Any pressure of 180/115 is severely elevated.
Your primary care doctor will monitor your condition and develop a treatment plan with you. You may also be referred to a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, or a nephrologist if your condition suggests the presence of other medical problems. Some of the tests you may undergo include: a blood test to check cholesterol levels, an eye examination and an electrocariogram or echocardiogram to check heart rhythm, size and function. A doctor can look directly at the blood vessels by examining the retina at the back of the eye. The tiny vessels at the back of the eye become thickened when blood pressure is high over a long period of time.
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Glossary of Terms
- ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors
- Drugs that block the hormone angiotensin from narrowing the blood vessels; used to treat hypertension and congestive heart failure.
- Alpha Blockers
- Drugs that dilate or slightly expand the blood vessels.
- Beta Blockers
- Drugs that reduce how hard and how fast the heart beats; used to treat hypertension and some heart hisorders.
- Calcium Channel Blockers (Calcium Antagonists)
- Drugs that reduce how much the muscle walls of arteries tighten; work by suppressing the effect of calcium on these muscles.
- A doctor who specialized in treating diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
- Diastolic Blood Pressure
- The "bottom" figure in the blood pressure reading; the pressure when the large chambers of the heart are relaxing between beats.
- Drugs used to treat excess salt and water in the body that is associated with hypertension and hear failure; cause the kidneys to increase salt and urine output.
- ECG (EKG) or Electrocardiogram
- A recording of the electrical changes in the heart.
- An ultrasound image of the structure of the heart while in motion.
- A doctor who specialized in treating conditions associated with hormones and the glands that produce them (e.g., disorders of the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands).
- High blood pressure within the arteries.
- A doctor who specialized in treating kidney disorders.
- A mineral that is part of sodium chloride (table salt); some other items that contain sodium are baking soda, some antacids, MSG (monosodium glutamate) and many food preservatives (such as sodium benzoate), additives and flavorings; leads to water retention.
- Systolic Blood Pressure
- The "top" figure in the blood pressure reading; the pressure when the large chambers of the heart are contracting.
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