Your BP is more than just a number

If there ever was a point of contention between the conventional and integrative medical worlds, blood pressure would be near the top of the list.

If you ask me, it's just too easy for conventional doctors to diagnose you with high blood pressure (or, as we call it, "hypertension") based on one reading at one time on one day.

Most docs aren't taking into account the whole picture -- including what the blood pressure trend has been for the patient over a longer period of time.

To be honest, some folks just have naturally higher blood pressure. And so the "limits" that the mainstream medical community put out -- that is, the threshold between "high" and "low" blood pressure -- don't necessarily apply to them.

I'm not a big fan of the color-by-numbers approach to treating patients. I'd rather see what's causing the blood pressure to rise or fall, as opposed to prescribing pills to try to get it (and keep it) at one exact number.

Whether it's just a stressful time... or fluid retention... or diet (including too much caffeine or salt)... there could be any number of explanations for the reading you get when that cuff tightens around your arm.

Blood pressure norms also tend to change as you get older.

So, I don't take it too seriously when I hear that the goal posts just got moved.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have recently recommended a new guideline for otherwise healthy adults over 60: Any systolic (a.k.a. top) number above 150 mmHg will now be considered high.

That's 10 points higher than the previous recommendation.

That gives older folks a bit more wiggle room before they're put on BP meds... and that's progress, but it hasn't fixed the overall problem of how mainstream docs are approaching this health issue.

The mainstream's standard BP solutions are pills that can cause irregular heartbeat, cancer, and even problems in the bedroom.

What's more, if you're on the cusp between low and high blood pressure -- or even if your BP is quite high by all accounts -- those meds can bring it down to dangerously low levels, increasing your risk for a fall.

Your frontline defense should always be to make some simple lifestyle changes and see whether your BP can come down naturally:

  • Going Paleo can help you cut out the massive amounts of sugar, processed fats, and sodium that can jack up your BP.
  • Regular exercise not only lowers your blood pressure and reduces the strain on your heart, but it also raises good cholesterol, keeps your arteries healthy, and helps you manage your weight.
  • Supplement with natural BP regulators like magnesium, tart cherry juice, cinnamon, black cumin, and quercetin.
  • Stay out of the cold air, which constricts your blood vessels and can cause your blood pressure to soar.
  • Sit in a sauna, which can lower your blood pressure if it's high (and rid your body of toxins, too).

Source:
Medical Groups Raise Blood Pressure Rx Threshold for Healthy Adults Over 60
(medlineplus.gov)