Blood Pressure / Heart Disease

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Blood Pressure / Heart Disease

Good cardiovascular health is more than just the symptom of elevations in blood pressure, we look for the cause as to why you’re blood pressure is elevated, and help reduce or eliminate blood pressure medications that may be treating the symptom but don’t treat the cause.

We also analyze other cardiovascular indicators including cholesterol, triglycerides, Lp(a), homocysteine and other markers when developing a cardiovascular health protocol which is custom tailored to the persons needs whether it be atherosclerosis, hypertension, congestive heart failure, angina and so on.

What should I know about Hypertension?

When your doctor says you have high blood pressure, the medical name for your condition is “hypertension.” Blood pressure is created when the heart beats, propelling blood throughout the body. Blood pressure occurs in two distinct phases, corresponding to the contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle. When the heart contracts, it ejects a certain volume of blood out from its right side into the body’s largest artery, the aorta. This initial thrust causes “systolic” blood pressure, which is the upper number of your blood pressure reading. As the heart relaxes, the blood presses against the walls of the arteries as it circulates, causing “diastolic” blood pressure, which is the lower number in your reading.

Systolic blood pressure is a measure of the heart’s blood output, while diastolic is determined by the resistance of arteries in the extremities to the flow of blood. If your blood pressure reading is “120 over 80,” this means your systolic pressure is 120 and your diastolic is 80.

Blood pressure tends to be lower in women than men, and higher in blacks than whites. It rises with age. Blood pressure generally stays within a fairly narrow range. But it does not stay the same at all times. Blood pressure fluctuates, rising during physical and emotional stress and falling when we are relaxed or asleep. Just because your blood pressure goes up temporarily when you are stressed, this does not mean you have hypertension.

Hypertension is a type of cardiovascular disease characterized by elevation of blood pressure above the level considered normal for people of similar racial and environmental backgrounds. Because it affects the entire circulatory system, hypertension can be detrimental to all the major organs, including the heart, brain, and kidneys. It may contribute to death from heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, and even kidney failure.

Hypertension has many possible causes. Hypertension that results from another disease is called “secondary hypertension.” Fewer than 5 percent of people who suffer from hypertension have secondary hypertension, and in the majority of those, kidney disease in the cause. Other disorders known elevate blood pressure include thyroid disorders and Cushing’s disease, which is a disorder of the adrenal glands. Certain medications— nervous system stimulants, synthetic estrogen, and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), to name a few— sometimes contribute to hypertension.

Most people with chronic high blood pressure have hypertension have “primary” hypertension. Another name for this is “essential” hypertension. The exact cause of primary hypertension remains a mystery, although medical scientists are searching hard for answers. Research studies on hypertension have revealed detailed information about alterations in physiology that may lead to chronically elevated blood pressure. Researchers have zeroed in on the kidneys and their role in maintaining the right amount of sodium in the blood. By controlling retention of sodium and water, the kidneys play a major role in maintaining normal blood pressure.       

Signs and Symptoms 

The following list does not insure the presence of this health condition. Please see your healthcare professional for more information.

Uncomplicated, primary hypertension

  • Usually there are no symptoms initially
  • May present with only high blood pressure, with all other parts of a physical examination appearing normal
  • A blood pressure taken on two or more subsequent days is 140/90 mm Hg or higher
  • Hypertension can increase individuals to developing a stroke
  • Hypertension may accelerate certain diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and /or heart attack
  • May cause kidney diseases
  • May cause serious eye problems which may need immediate medical attention 

 Patients with uncomplicated, primary hypertension usually have no symptoms, at least initially. Often, it is not until damage to certain organs occurs that symptoms of high blood pressure begin to appear. The brain, heart, circulatory system, and kidneys are among the parts of the body first affected by high blood pressure. Often, patients with essential hypertension may only have elevated blood pressure, with all other portions of the physical examination appearing normal.

It should be emphasized that a single reading of high blood pressure does not indicate hypertension. If blood pressure readings taken on two or more subsequent days is 140/90 mm Hg or higher, then a diagnosis of hypertension can be confirmed. Some basic laboratory tests (addressed elsewhere in this monograph) should be performed before any medication is started.

Some of the target organs where changes are seen include the brain, heart, kidney, and eye. Hypertension, more than any other reason, causes individuals to develop the most common variety of stroke. The relationship between hypertension and atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure (CHF) has been clearly established in medical studies. CHF and myocardial infarction (heart attack) account for the majority of deaths caused by hypertension. Atherosclerosis and reduced kidney function occur to some degree in adults as a normal part of the aging process, but occur more rapidly in adults with mild to moderate hypertension. Hypertension can cause disturbances in vision due to a variety of retinopathies that develop from damage to the delicate blood vessels in the eye.

 Treatment Options


Before prescribing a treatment plan, your doctor may ask if you are bothered by any of the following symptoms that could point to underlying cardiovascular disease: chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, dyspnea, slurred speech, orthopnea, and loss of balance.

An important part of the treatment plan is for you to check your blood pressure yourself. It is not difficult, anyone can be easily taught to take a blood pressure reading, and the equipment is not expensive.

Blood pressure lowering medications, called “antihypertensives” are divided into the following eight classes of drugs:

  • Diuretics
  • Beta blockers
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Central alpha 2-agonists
  • Adrenergic inhibitors
  • Vasodilators
  • Sympathetic inhibitors

Your health professional may also recommend diet and lifestyle changes to help bring your blood pressure under control.

Side effects of drug treatments

There are approximately five categories of drug treatment for hypertension: diuretics, beta blockers, alpha blockers, angiotension inhibitors and calcium channel blockers. The following are side effects of each group and need to be considered before treatment starts.


Increase risk of mortality due to myocardial infarction or sudden death. Diuretics deplete potassium, magnesium, zinc and B group vitamins. Some diuretics have an adverse effect on serum lipids, blood glucose and raise glyco-haemoglobin concentration.

Beta Blockers

Similar to diuretics, they cause changes in serum lipid fractions. At least 25% of patients treated with beta blockers will develop a need for anti depressants. They also increase the risk of heart failure, cause weight gain, decreases energy, and sexual dysfunction. Long term use of these drugs are contraindicated.

Alpha blockers

Alpha blockers can cause hypotension, dry mouth, constipation, sedation, and dizziness. They are not effective for long term treatment of hypertension.

Methyl dopa, Captopril, Propanolol

Up to 50% of patients taking any of the above drugs experience fatigue or lethargy; 30% had some form of sexual disorder and over 10% had sleep disorders, nightmares, headaches, anxiety, irritability, palpitations, nausea, dry mouth and muscle cramps.

Angiotension ( ACE) 2 inhibitors

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor drugs include captopril, enalapril, benazepril, lisinopril,  fosinopril, quinapril, ramipril, and others. These can affect trace element status in the body. Selenium and Zinc are decreased and copper rises, with this medication.

Diet & Lifestyle

The risk factors for hypertension are well known, and any treatment plan should begin with lifestyle changes. The risk factors we can control include obesity, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and excessive salt intake.

Another useful lifestyle modification is a program of moderate exercise. Studies indicate that aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, and bicycling can reduce blood pressure, even in the absence of weight loss. Patients should consult a physician before starting any exercise program.

Over­all, it’s more impor­tant to focus on the root cause and what are the under­ly­ing mech­a­nisms that are caus­ing the condition rather than just treat­ing it symp­to­mati­cally.  Each per­son is encour­aged to seek out a qual­i­fied nutri­tion­ist or other qualified healthcare practitioner in order to assess exactly which nutri­ents, herbs, home­o­pathics and nat­ural reme­dies; in which com­bi­na­tion; in what pro­por­tion are right for the par­tic­u­lar indi­vid­ual and are intended at treat­ing the root cause rather than just a symptom.