High blood pressure, the silent epidemic (Pt. 1)
High blood pressure is considered ‘the single largest epidemic’ by many health care professionals (1) (2), and the most prevalent reason why people visit the doctor’s office (1). It is also significant that one third of individuals affected have no symptoms and don’t even know they have this condition. (2)
According to the ‘American Heart Association’, 1 out of every 3 people, or 78 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure. (3) 90% of these cases are considered ‘essential hypertension’ and the causes are unknown. However, many health care professionals, like Dr. Matthias Rath and Dr. Stephen Sinatra believe high blood pressure has been insufficiently understood, until now. And while causal factors like age, body weight, diet, heredity, kidney infection, and stress have always been considered the most probable causes, they assert there are other causes that have not received much attention. (2) (4)
High blood pressure if left untreated can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Dr. Stephen Sinatra asserts that it can conspire with other risk factors like smoking, oxidized LDL, and toxic metals, and “literally pound these toxins into the artery walls, weakening blood vessels at the bends and splits and accelerate the inflammatory-plaque cascade.” (2)
In previous blogs we looked at low thyroid as a cause for hypertension. In this blog, we will look at other reasons for high blood pressure. We will also see how the ‘Gland Extract’ and the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ can help.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is defined as the ‘force the blood exerts against the walls of the arteries as it moves through the circulatory system’ (1). Any kind of resistance to this normal blood flow, like it is the case of constricted blood vessels, will increase blood pressure. On the contrary, “(when) arteries are relaxed and widened, blood flows more easily and blood pressure decreases.” (1)
Blood pressure is almost always measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). In this sense, when we say that the pressure is 140 mm Hg, for example, what it means is that the force exerted by the blood against the blood vessel is sufficient to push a column of mercury up to a level 140 mm high. Occasionally, pressure is measured in centimeters of water (cm H2O), which points to the pressure needed to raise a column of water to a height of 10 centimeters. 1 millimeter of mercury equals 1.36 cm H2O. (5).
Doctors used to have a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope to get manual blood pressure readings, but nowadays there are other methods to measure blood pressure that do not require so much work.
An automatic blood pressure device can be used to take blood pressure at home. “It consists of a cuff, tubing that connects it to the monitor, a pressure transducer in line with the tubing, a mini air pump, and a small computer. The transducer can “see” through the tubing and into the cuff.” (6)
With devices like this, anybody can have an instant reading of their blood pressure and monitor their progress with several readings.
There are two numbers that are taken when measuring blood pressure:
- The systolic pressure: it is the force on the arterial walls as the heart beats to pump out blood. This is when blood pressure is at its highest.
- The diastolic pressure: it is the pressure on the walls as the heart relaxes between beats and fills with blood.
Optimal blood pressure is considered to be under 120-80, normal 129-84, high normal 130-139 and hypertension 140-90 and up. (1)
High blood pressure is usually silent because there are no symptoms. However, this does not mean there is no damage being done internally. According to Dr. Louis J. Ignarro, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, chronic high blood pressure “can gradually lead to inflammation of the arteries, which is followed by arteriosclerosis and plaque formation. It can also enlarge the heart, trigger a heart attack or stroke and set the stage for kidney failure.” (1)
Benjamin Fuchs, R Ph explains that the body is a pressurized system powered via the rhythmical pumping action of the heart. This is the way nutrients and oxygen are distributed through the body, and cells’waste is detoxified.“From the heart, (nutrients and oxygen) enter into the large arteries, then travel into smaller and smaller vessels until they reach the tiniest capillaries which are in close contact with cells. And this is the ultimate goal of the ‘Journey of the Blood’: to reach a cell with nutrients and oxygen and then as it leaves on its return trip back to the heart, to drain away its wastes.”
We could say this is health in a nutshell. And it is essential to understand that each of the 100 trillion cells in our body depends on this free flow for nutrition, oxygenation and detoxification.
We also need to remember that the blood is a liquid organ, and as all liquids, it depends on pressure to move. To understand this, we could compare our heart and arterial system to a garden hose. If we wanted to reach far with our hose we would increase the pressure, wouldn’t we? In the body it is the force of blood flow (pressure) which is needed to “bathe and nourish cells and rinse away the cellular waste.” (7)
What causes high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is not a disease in itself, but the manifestation of more serious chronic health conditions (2). To treat high blood pressure successfully, we need to understand these underlying causes properly.
Using the same comparison we used before, let us now imagine our hose is full of dirt inside. Would the water flow as forcefully? Obviously not, because something is preventing the free flow of water. In the body, this could be caused by toxins present in the blood, blood clots, which would cause the blood to thicken, but also by damaged arteries, etc, which will also affect circulation and require extra pressure in order to ‘push through’.
In fact, a diagnosis of hypertension refers to “a resistance to blood flow”and “increased pressure in the blood vessel.”This means that under these conditions “it becomes harder and harder for blood to make it to its ultimate destination, the capillaries and the cells., which ironically means that this increase in pressure at the level of the blood vessels (where a blood pressure cuff works), is low pressure at the level of the capillaries and cells. And this is where it becomes a problem, because low blood pressure means less nutrient and oxygen delivery, and less detoxification of these cells. In other words, the high blood pressure caused by any kind of resistance in the flow of blood is also causing the pressure to be low at a cell level. (7)
One of the main reasons for these toxins and clots is a digestive system that is not processing food correctly and ultimately causing ‘leaky gut’, which exacerbates the problem even more by causing more toxins and undigested particles of food to end up in the blood. This is why digestion is so important for heart health. For a full explanation on this, please read our previous blogs on the digestive system.
The lymphatic and circulatory systems
Benjamin Fuchs explains that the lymphatic system, while often regarded as distinct from the circulatory system, is essentially one and the same. “There are just as many miles of lymphatic vessels as there are blood vessels. And they are connected. They are in essence one system. Both branch out from centralized large vessels into teeny tiny capillaries at which point nutrients are dropped into tissues and cells and then picked up again for a return trip. At this point, an uptake between systems takes place and what was in the blood becomes the lymph and what was in the lymph becomes the blood….The implications of the merging and unification of these two systems for blood pressure health is significant. It means that blood pressure actually depends on the fluidity and movement of two systems, not just one.”(7)
What is also important to understand about the lymph system is that it is the body’s waste disposal system, and while both the blood and the lymph are susceptible to toxins coming from the digestive system, the lymph is particularly vulnerable. “It’s the main port of egress for gross gunk that accumulates from bad living and eating.”(7)
What this means for hypertension is that when it comes to blood toxicity, the lymph is just as important as the circulatory system. Specifically, the lymphatic system is very prone to congestion from fat malabsorbtion. In addition to being a route for the elimination of toxins, it’s also a transport system for essential fatty acids (EFAs), fatty vitamins and other dietary fats. What this means is that proper digestion of fats is essential for healthy blood pressure.
Pharmacist Benjamin Fuchs also explains that pharmaceutical anti-hypertensives like beta blockers or calcium channel blocker drugs slow down the pump (the heart), lowering the pressure but reducing the flow to the already deprived cell. Likewise, vasodilators, which widen the vessels, and diuretics, which reduce the blood’s fluid content, also lower pressure at the level of a cell, leading to cellular starvation, suffocation and toxification, making the person even sicker.
Other causes for hypertension
Dr. Matthias Rath also points to chronic nutritional deficiencies as a major cause for high blood pressure. He explains that under circumstances of undernourishment, millions of artery cells lack the nutrients they need to relax blood vessels, causing spasms and a thickening of the blood vessel walls, which can ultimately elevate the pressure.
On the contrary, when blood vessels are relaxed, this decreases vascular wall tension and keeps blood pressure in the normal range.
The essential nutrients he is referring to are vitamin C, magnesium, arginine, and coenzyme Q10.
Arginine is a natural amino acid that provides the cells with nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes and decreases the tension of the artery walls and lowers elevated blood pressure, which increases the elasticity of the artery walls and helps to normalize blood pressure.
Vitamin C increases the production of prostacycline, a small molecule that relaxes the blood vessel walls and keeps blood viscosity at optimum levels. Bioflavonoids are catalysts which, among others, improve the efficacy of vitamin C.
Magnesium is calcium’s partner, it is essential for optimal mineral balance in the blood vessels’ wall cells, decreases tension and lowers elevated blood pressure.
Other nutrients that are essential are Vitamin E, the entire B complex, minerals, including calcium, potassium, phosphate, and trace elements including zinc, manganese, copper, selenium, chromium, and molybdenum.
Vitamin E provides antioxidant protection of cell membranes and blood components, calcium optimizes mineral metabolism, decreases tension of the artery walls and lowers elevated blood pressure.
Optimum mineral balance is necessary for the relaxation of the artery walls. Since arteriosclerosis is linked to high blood pressure, lysine and proline are needed to protect the artery walls and prevent the development of arteriosclerotic plaques.