High Blood Pressure is one expression of a disease-complex caused by the
wrong diet and unhealthy lifestyle. For years, excessive sodium salt was
associated with hypertension and low sodium diets were recommended to all
sufferers. According to the Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure
Prevention and Control, non-drug strategies should be the priority for
hypertension control. Smoking cessation, low fat diet, weight loss, exercise,
reduced alcoholic beverage consumption and increased potassium, calcium and
magnesium intake with decreased sodium are the important steps to avoid the
problem of high blood pressure.
A normal adult blood pressure is below 130/80. High blood pressure has been
defined as over 140/90. The goal of hypertension treatment is to reduce blood
pressure to approximate a normal reading of 120/80 or less. Blood pressure
varies with activities and time of day. "Normal" values represent resting,
relaxed readings averaged over a period. An athlete in top condition may have a
blood pressure of 200/120 during peak exertion and a pressure of 90/60 in the
morning before getting out of bed. There tends to be a 10% reduction in systolic
pressure and a 14% to 17% fall in diastolic pressure during sleep. Continuous
blood pressure monitoring has revealed different patterns of elevated pressure
during the day and night.
Blood pressure is a dynamic variable, always changing depending on
circumstances. Vigorous exertion raises pressure to pathological highs as does
anger. Any threat, fright or uncertainty triggers the flight and fight response
which raises both heart rate and blood pressure. The challenge when measuring
pressure and comparing each person to a somewhat arbitrary guideline is to
decide what measurements, where and when are required to diagnosis disease risk
Normal systolic pressure tends to increase with age; an old adage suggested
that if the systolic pressure was less than 100 plus your age, everything was
OK. Newer evidence demonstrated that lower systolic pressures are healthier.
Diabetes 2 increases the need for blood pressure control – the lower the blood
pressure, the better the long-term results at all ages. Controlling elevated
blood pressure reduces the risk of strokes 35 to 40 percent, heart attacks 20 to
25 percent and heart failure more than 50 percent.
In the US, 50 million people are thought to have have high blood pressure;
about half are receiving treatment and half of the treated are successful at
reducing their blood pressure to below 140/90. This leaves about 37 million
people in the US with persisting hypertension. The incidence of high blood
pressure rises with age; more common in men under 50, but more common in women
over age 65. Over age 70, the incidence approaches 2/3s of the population. In
Canada 57% of the estimated 4 million people with hypertension are treated by a
physician but the overall success of this effort is in doubt.
Hypertension is divided into two groups - primary or essential hypertension
and secondary to a specific disease. Diseases of the kidney and blocked kidney
arteries, for example, can produce high blood pressure as a secondary effect. No
specific cause is found in 90% of hypertensives. One explanation is that the
population at risk is becoming more sedentary with an increase in obesity. Their
food supply is clearly suspect and it is not just the fat in the diet. These
arterial problems with different and complex origins link to the diets and
lifestyle popular in Europe and North America and occur less often among
physically active, vegetable-eating populations who seldom eat dairy products,
meat, and other high-protein-fat foods.
Arteries are muscular tubes that regulate blood pressure and blood flow by
constricting and dilating. Their behavior is important to day-to-day function
and important to the evolution of disease over decades of living. The arterial
system is a branching structure. The smaller branches can contract to increase
the resistance to flow, thus increasing blood pressure. To reduce pressure, you
dilate the smaller arteries, decreasing peripheral resistance and increasing
blood flow. The heart is a muscular pump that pushes blood through the arterial tree
against peripheral resistance. As the resistance to flow increases, the blood
pressure increases and cardiac work increases. If high blood pressure is
persistent, the heart may enlarge to accommodate the extra work. At some point,
the work required may exceed the heart muscle's endurance and heart failure
Some concerns about BP diagnosis and treatment
BP readings may be inaccurate
BP readings obtained in the doctor's office do not reflect
BP levels at home, work and play.
Many readings are required to obtain a meaningful sample
Corrective action taken may be inappropriate or inadequate
The causes of the disease are not removed; only symptoms are treated.
A large number of drugs and drug combinations have appeared for the treatment
arterial disease. The battle for market share is fought among the drug producers
with double blind controlled studies that compare drugs to placebo and drugs to
one another. The studies are designed to provide favorable news thru press
releases to doctors and their patients. The drug industry prefers that medical
doctors only think in terms of drug therapy and the producers aggressively
market their newest and most expensive drugs. Smart patients prefer to change
their diet, lose weight and exercise, rather than become drug users.
Description of High Blood Pressure
Discussion of Blood Pressure Readings
The Solution Diet Revision
The 50 million Americans and 4 million Canadians who have high blood pressure
and arterial disease should seek the benefits of complete diet revision
therapy! To improve the health of modern citizens and to reduce, at the same
time, the increasing costs of health-care, self-responsibility for
disease-prevention is required. Each person will have to alter disease-causing
habits, change poor eating habits, stop smoking and drinking, and become more
physically active. We have no difficulty in recommending aggressive diet
revision, vigorous enough to prevent vascular disasters. Imagine that you
live in a little cottage by the sea, think quiet thoughts, walk everywhere, tend
your organic vegetable garden, cultivate fruit trees (never sprayed) and go
fishing once or twice per week. Now you have a perfect setting and a perfect
diet for enduring good health.
Current recommendations for fat intake are shrinking progressively from 35%
of total calories to 20%; for people with high risk of heart disease, fat intake
should go below 10% of daily calories. Typical American diets contain as much as
37% fat, an extravagant surplus. A total of 15-25 grams of fat per day supplies
our needs. The minimum requirements are 1-2% of total calories for adults and 3%
for infants. Sodium restraint is considered a primary strategy of reducing high
blood pressure. Increased intake of calcium and potassium may lower high blood
pressure and extra potassium may protect against stroke-associated death. North
American diets tend to offer sodium levels 10 times higher than actual need
(minimum of 1100 mg/day, adults). Average consumption of sodium salt is over 10
grams/day. The proper ratio of Sodium to Potassium is not obvious. Most diets
have sodium disproportion, tending toward sodium excess of 3-10 parts
Sodium to 1 Potassium. The foods in Phase 1 and 2 of the Alpha
Nutrition Program automatically improve the sodium/potassium ratio and increase
intake of magnesium.
Major diseases originate from eating too much of the wrong food and damage is
done to many organs simultaneously. The evidence does suggest that some
interventions are beneficial in terms of preventing heart attacks and strokes
and that disease progression can be halted by important changes in diet and
increased exercise. The occurrence of a heart attack or stroke confirms that
atherosclerosis is advanced, damage has been done and that the rules of
intervention have changed. We suggest that a prudent person suffering early
vascular dysfunction symptoms would be wise to pursue vigorous, thorough diet
revision at the earliest opportunity.
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