What is blood pressure ?
Blood pressure is a force in your arteries and veins that allows your blood to travel around your body. Blood pressure is an important force because healthy heart function depends on steady blood pressure. The heart muscle is constantly pumping blood. During this process, it acts just like a sponge; the heart fills up with blood, then squeezes it all out. This process accounts for the two different numbers that make up your blood pressure measurement. The first number represents the part of the cycle when the heart contracts and squeezes the blood out, aka systole. The second number is the measurement of pressure when the heart is filling with blood. This part of the cycle is called diastolic.
Normal adult blood pressure ranges between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. The top number being the squeezing pressure of the heart (systolic) and the lower number being the filling pressure of the heart (diastolic). These numbers are measured with a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff over your arm.
Though healthy blood pressure is critical to your body’s health, roughly 1 in 3 American adults suffer from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. High blood pressure is dangerous because it means the heart is working extra hard to pump blood through itself and into your arteries, which can lead to more complications and severe health problems down the road if not properly treated.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is a common affliction with many possible causes. Common causes of high blood pressure include: atherosclerosis, obesity, kidney disease, lack of physical activity, stress, old age, thyroid and adrenal hormone dysregulation, and more.
There are also other, underlying causes of hypertension that exist in otherwise seemingly healthy individuals. One potential cause of high blood pressure is genetic (SNP) mutations. These mutations could be in the ADD1, GRK4, or DRD2 genes and would predispose you to hypertension. Blood type Os are also predisposed to high blood pressure because they have thinner blood. They have thinner blood because blood type Os do not have another blood type antigen on the surface of their red blood cells like A, B, and AB blood types have. Thinner blood means the heart has to increase its pressure slightly to move the blood around the body. Thinner blood also means that blood type Os do not clot as quickly as other blood types.
Your blood pressure may be higher in a doctor’s office due to a phenomenon called White Coat Syndrome or White Coat Hypertension. The anxiety or stress of being in a doctor’s office can put you into “fight or flight mode” causing your blood pressure to increase temporarily, just as it would in any other stressful situation. If you feel stress or anxiety while having your blood pressure measured, please let your doctor know. They can modulate their technique, and have you perform a simple breathing exercise to decrease stress for a more accurate blood pressure reading.
High Blood Pressure Treatment
There are many treatments to help you control blood pressure. However, if you are taking a medication for high blood pressure and your reading is within the normal range – you still have high blood pressure. The hypertension is just being controlled with a natural or pharmaceutical drug. The underlying reason for your blood pressure has not been addressed. This is where my treatment protocol comes into play. I use natural treatments to address your high blood pressure, but also take it a step further by fixing the underlying reason. The high blood pressure you have is your body’s means of communicating with you that something is wrong. This “something wrong” could be a lack of nutrients, high cholesterol, epigenetic mutations, toxins, etc. I run tests to determine what that is for your body, and customize a treatment to address the underlying cause.
My primary philosophy is to give the body what it needs. One of my hypertension treatments is Hawthorne (Crataegus spp.), a very old naturopathic herb that ensures the heart has all the proper nutrition it requires. When you combine Hawthorne with an amino acid called taurine, they work synergistically to build the heart and protect heart tissue. This is just one example of many natural treatments that can help control and address the underlying cause of hypertension. Just like a sports car your heart needs the proper fuel. If the proper fuel is not given, misfires and sputtering can happen. When this happens over time, it can be detrimental to your longevity.
If you are interested in controlling and treating the underlying causes of your high blood pressure naturally, call to book an appointment with me, Dr. Brody at the Center of Excellence in Generative Medicine. We can look at and modulate your genes with an Opus epigenetic consult, and create a personalized meal and treatment plan with a SWAMI visit.