Lindsay’s blood pressure was in the danger zone, and she had no idea it was so high…
I met Lindsay almost 20 years ago, when she consulted me for help and guidance with losing weight. Though she had been avoiding the bathroom scale for several months, she wasn’t surprised to find that she had added 25 pounds to her petite frame – but when I took her blood pressure, she was shocked. It was 190/110, way too high… And hypertension didn’t run in her family.
Then she shared her heartache with me: very recently, she discovered that her husband was having an affair. She felt betrayed, enraged, and lonesome. No wonder her blood pressure was so high.
If you’re experiencing high blood pressure, you may have been surprised when you found out. It’s extremely common to have virtually no indication that your blood pressure is higher than it should be. In the instances where I’m the first doctor to detect hypertension, the vast majority of these patients had no idea. Maybe headaches on occasion, but we often discover their headaches were due to stress, muscle tension, or chronic neck pain…
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 32% of all adults (about 75 million people) have high blood pressure. Women over the age of 60 had a much higher incidence of hypertension – 65%[1c]
Since the incidence rises with age, checking your blood pressure on occasion is a good idea. It’s as easy as sticking your arm into the machine at the drugstore. Units for home use are relatively affordable as well (by the way, Lindsay was only 42 when we detected her high blood pressure). I’ll be sharing her path to healing near the end of this article.
More statistics from the CDC:
- Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.
- About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension – blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal, but not yet in the high blood pressure range.
- Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
- High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014 – more than 1,100 deaths each day.
- High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.
The CDC is a great resource for these staggering statistics. And here are their recommendations for controlling high blood pressure:
- Taking medication
- Reducing sodium in the diet
- Daily physical activity
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight (if you are obese)
What’s Unique About Women Over 50?
Let’s take a closer look at each of the CDC recommendations…
Medication: If you’re at all like the women I work with, taking medication for the rest of your life is an option you’d put on the very bottom of your list. So many of my female patients have parents who are on several medications, and these women do not want to follow in their footsteps.
Low Sodium Diet: Dietary sodium is rarely an issue, I’ll explain why later.
Daily Physical Activity: Absolutely. Is there a best type? You bet. I’ll be diving deeper into optimal ways to move your body in an upcoming post. If you suffer with arthritis, joint pain, or chronic fatigue, I understand the difficulties of adding exercise to your day. These challenges are common, but there are natural solutions available.
Quit Smoking: If you’re struggling with this one, you’ve got to get serious. Nicotine is such a tough addiction to break, so ask for help! If you haven’t tried acupuncture, find someone trained in the NADA protocol.
Lose Weight: For most of the women I work with, this is one of the most challenging objectives to conquer. When you are nearing menopause, or if you are post-menopause like me, your body has changed (you KNOW this, don’t you?)… So what worked in your younger years probably won’t work now.
Beyond these suggestions, I’m going to be letting you in on what I do in my private practice – things you won’t hear from your conventional doctor.
What Are Healthy Ranges for Blood Pressure?
These are the accepted ranges for blood pressure:
- Normal, Healthy: 120/80 mmHg
- Pre-Hypertension: 139/89 mmHg
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): 140/90 mmHg or anything above
What to Do About White Coat Syndrome
“White coat hypertension, more commonly known as white coat syndrome, is a phenomenon in which patients exhibit a blood pressure level above the normal range, in a clinical setting, though they don’t exhibit it in other settings.”
We see it in our clinic quite often… Houston traffic could be at fault. If we take vitals first thing and blood pressure is high, we’ll repeat after the acupuncture treatment. Almost every time, we see a significant drop in blood pressure, sometimes all the way down into a normal range.
You can monitor also your blood pressure at home. Take it at various times throughout the day and keep a log. You’ll likely see patterns, probably related to stress.
How Dangerous Is High Blood Pressure?
If you have high blood pressure, you just can’t take it lightly. The complications of high blood pressure, if left unaddressed, are potentially quite serious.
- Brain: Stroke, aneurysm, and cognitive decline, including loss of memory and focus
- Kidneys: Chronic kidney disease
- Cardiovascular: Heart attack, heart failure, peripheral artery disease
- Eyes: Retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye)
These potential complications deserve to be taken to heart, but the key is discovering whether or not you have it in the first place. Just check your blood pressure periodically! If it’s high, you’ll be able to get it under control – hopefully with one or more of the non-drug options I list below.
Other Medications That Can Cause High Blood Pressure
If you’re taking any of the drugs listed below, make sure you are checking your blood pressure regularly.
- Analgesics (Pain Medication)
- NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), such as Advil and Motrin
- Indomethacin (Indocin)
- Piroxicam (Feldene)
*** If you suffer with pain, depression, or allergies, it’s very likely that lifestyle changes could reduce or eliminate your need for medication. In addition, working with someone who offers natural approaches, such as acupuncture and functional medicine can also be very helpful.
What Should You Do if You Are Taking High Blood Pressure Medication?
Keep taking it. If you’re on antihypertensive medication, of course you’re aware of the side effects. So read on, because by implementing a few of the following tips, you could reduce your need for medication, and possibly eliminate it entirely. Any doctor would agree that the lifestyle improvements of weight loss, stress reduction, exercise, and a healthier diet can lower your blood pressure. You know this. I’m about to reveal some protocols and strategies I use in my clinic – a few that you just might not know about.
Lifestyle changes, such as those I’m going to reveal to you in the tips below, can take up to several weeks to lower blood pressure. So, I always recommend that the women I work with get on medication right away if they have high blood pressure. Once the healthy changes have had a chance to take hold, it’s a good bet you’ll be able to lower your dose. Many of the women I see end up coming off their medication altogether – but everyone is different. For certain individuals, blood pressure lowering drugs will be necessary. Discuss this with your doctor.
Lindsay’s Path to Healing
Lindsay had made a decision to take medication, all the while remaining engaged with her deep commitment to heal herself. I suggested she view the drug as a raincoat, something she would wear to keep her dry and warm… Something she would shed when the stormy weather passed. To this, Lindsay added several sessions of acupuncture, and I focused on her heart meridian. The heart represents our capacity to love (especially the self), to be compassionate, and to feel connected with all of life. It contains the capacity to heal.
I held a healing space for her, reminding her of what she already knew. Betrayal, anger, and loneliness were feelings she could tolerate feeling… Then she would move through them. She could trust in the innate wisdom of her body to lead her to a state of harmony, and her current symptoms – the signals from her body – were messages she chose to embrace.
Healing is about becoming whole.
Lindsay’s blood pressure returned to normal. She came off the medication. In six months, she lost the 25 pounds.
Prevention of High Blood Pressure
I know that if you don’t have high blood pressure, you’d love to prevent it.
Practice the causes of good health, so you don’t ever develop high blood pressure.
If you are above your ideal weight, if you aren’t as active as you know you should be, if your stress level is high, or if your diet needs a tweak, you could be at risk for developing hypertension. Consider adding a few of the recommendations below as preventative medicine.
5 Ways to Lower and Prevent High Blood Pressure
Before I share the tips to support your physiology, take time to give consideration to any “heartache” you may be experiencing. High blood pressure is a symptom (or a sign) of an underlying imbalance. It may be in the body, but the heart, the psyche, and the spirit may each be attempting to capture our attention. In fact, my years of study, training, and practice have led me to a deep conviction that within every single diagnosis of “dis-ease” lies a caveat for us from our bodies. Listen, and you’ll discover a personal truth, a yet to be fulfilled desire, or a deep need to be met. Get into action with these tips to care for the beautiful temple in which you live.
Studies continue to support the efficacy of acupuncture for many health conditions, including high blood pressure. By addressing the root cause of your hypertension, acupuncture can reduce stress and aid your body in returning to a state of harmony and inner balance.
2. Key Supplements
- Vitamin D3: Lower than ideal levels of Vitamin D is a known risk factor for high blood pressure. Because having optimal levels of Vitamin D is so crucial to many aspects of good health, I highly recommend testing – and I suggest a combination of exposure to sunlight and supplementation if your levels are too low.Recommended Dose: 2000 – 5000 iu/day. This is typically a maintenance dose, even if you’re getting frequent sun exposure. In my Houston practice, I’ve rarely seen a patient with optimal levels. With marked deficiencies, mega-doses are used – anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 iu/week. You really need to be tested. Nearly every conventional physician is now ordering this as a routine test on annual blood screenings.
- Potassium: Studies support that a higher intake of potassium is associated with lower blood pressure.  With a little focus and planning, most of us can obtain our requirement for potassium from our diet. You probably know that bananas are a great source. Avocados, sweet and white potatoes, spinach, and halibut are other foods rich in potassium – but it’s still possible that you may need to supplement.Recommended Dose: 2,000–3,000 mg/day
- Magnesium: As a required nutrient for a tremendous number of reactions within the cells of the body, this high demand means magnesium deficiency is common. Many studies have correlated the supplementation of magnesium with lower blood pressure. Some dietary sources are spinach, beet greens, and nuts – oh yes, and also chocolate. Because magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and gentle laxative, I also recommend It for chronic pain, insomnia, and constipation. Preferred chelates for best absorption are citrate, malate, or glycinate.Recommended Dose: 500 mg/day. Doses up to 1000 mg/day can be beneficial if you can tolerate it (some people will experience loose stools at a higher dose – I recommend you experiment to determine your threshold, or bowel tolerance).
- CoQ10: This nutrient is one I recommend for cognitive function and energy, but because many people who have high blood pressure may also be on a statin, I’m listing it here. Even if you aren’t taking statins, CoQ10 will help your mitochondria, (Read More) which are in very high concentration in the cells of your heart muscle. The ability of your body to make this nutrient declines with age, as does your body’s ability to convert it into its active form, Ubiquinol. So, check closely – you want to make the investment in the best form if you are going to take it.Recommended Dose: 100 – 200 mg Ubiquinol, not Ubiquinone.
I use a liquid extract compound that contains hawthorn, ginkgo biloba, linden, and ginger. I believe that the hawthorn is the key ingredient. If you’re not currently on medication for hypertension, I suggest consuming it as a tea. Because hawthorn is very effective in reducing blood pressure, it is known to interact with vasodilating medications, drugs used for heart failure, hypertension, angina, and arrhythmias. So, you need to work with a qualified healthcare practitioner if you’re taking any of these medications.
Recommended Dose: This will depend on both the form of supplement you use and the condition you use it to treat. You are a unique individual. Your metabolism and physiology will determine your needs. A knowledgeable health practitioner can guide you.
4. Celtic or Himalayan Salt
Switch from table salt to either of these types of salt, both of which are high in several minerals required by the body. I find that most of my patients with high blood pressure rarely have a sensitivity to salt. I’m certain that when they go on a low sodium diet, they end up drastically reducing their intake of fast food, processed food, and junk food. Eating a diet that consists of more fresh, whole foods will reduce blood pressure and improve overall health.
A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, showed that “UVA decreases blood pressure and increases blood flow and heart rate in humans, which is beneficial to the cardiovascular system. This is likely mediated by UVA causing release of nitric oxide (NO) from skin stores.”
Getting some sun exposure, no sunscreen (but do protect your face and décolleté), will raise your levels of vitamin D3.
- [1a] High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet from the CDC
- [1c] Hypertension among adults in the US
-  Liu D, et al. UVA Irradiation of Human Skin Vasodilates Arterial Vasculature and Lowers Blood Pressure Independently of Nitric Oxide Synthase.J Investig Dermatol. Jan 2014. Published online at http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v134/n7/full/jid201427a.html
-  The effect of potassium supplementation on blood pressure in hypertensive subjects: A systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28024910
-  The effect of vitamin D supplementation on blood pressure in patients with elevated blood pressure and vitamin D deficiency: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25350782
-  Overview of Hawthorn http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-527-hawthorn.aspx?activeingredientid=527
-  What Are the Signs, Symptoms, and Complications of High Blood Pressure? https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/signs
Vit D3 Testing:anylabtestnow.com
- Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline. Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. ...
- Exercise regularly. ...
- Eat a healthy diet. ...
- Reduce salt (sodium) in your diet. ...
- Limit alcohol. ...
- Quit smoking. ...
- Get a good night's sleep. ...
- Reduce stress.
- Buchu. Buchu is a plant native to parts of South Africa. ...
- Garlic. ...
- Prickly custard apple. ...
- Celery. ...
- Basil. ...
- Flaxseed. ...
- Sesame. ...
Unfortunately there is no cure for high blood pressure currently, but you can take steps to manage it even without medication. Here are 7 ways to lower your blood pressure naturally: Exercise!What do holistic doctors recommend for high blood pressure? ›
Choose a diet low in cholesterol and animal fat, and high in produce, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy, with some nuts and seeds. Add 10 grams of soy protein or 16 ounces soy milk twice daily into your diet to help lower blood pressure.Does lemon water bring your blood pressure down? ›
Citrus, such as lemon and limes, has been shown to reduce blood pressure and has the added benefit of adding a little flavor to a boring glass of water.What home remedy can I drink to lower my blood pressure? ›
A great natural remedy for high blood pressure is drinking blueberry juice or garlic water on a daily basis. In addition, various herbs prepared in teas, such as hibiscus tea or olive leaf tea, appear to have excellent antihypertensive properties which help control blood pressure.Does ginger lower your blood pressure? ›
The use of ginger in cardiovascular diseases has long been known. Ginger is known to have a diuretic7 and blood pressure (BP)-lowering effect.Can high blood pressure be cured naturally? ›
There is no cure for high blood pressure. But treatment can lower blood pressure that is too high. If it is mild, high blood pressure may sometimes be brought under control by making changes to a healthier lifestyle.What is the best tea for lowering blood pressure? ›
Some of the best teas for high blood pressure include chamomile, lavender, rose, and hibiscus. These teas are known for their ability to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. You can enjoy any of these teas by steeping them in hot water for a few minutes.Can you reverse high BP damage? ›
Treating out-of-control blood pressure with antihypertensive medication can greatly reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke and heart failure, but the current approach to treatment can't undo all of the previous damage or restore cardiovascular disease risk to ideal levels, a new Northwestern Medicine study suggests.
Blood pressure has a daily pattern. Usually, blood pressure starts to rise a few hours before a person wakes up. It continues to rise during the day, peaking in midday. Blood pressure typically drops in the late afternoon and evening.Does magnesium lower blood pressure? ›
Magnesium intake of 500 mg/d to 1000 mg/d may reduce blood pressure (BP) as much as 5.6/2.8 mm Hg. However, clinical studies have a wide range of BP reduction, with some showing no change in BP.What are 10 alternative holistic treatments for hypertension? ›
- Walk and exercise regularly. Share on Pinterest Regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure. ...
- Reduce your sodium intake. ...
- Drink less alcohol. ...
- Eat more potassium-rich foods. ...
- Cut back on caffeine. ...
- Learn to manage stress. ...
- Eat dark chocolate or cocoa. ...
- Lose weight.
Research shows that some supplements may help lower blood pressure. These include magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, CoQ10, garlic, and fish oil.Does cinnamon lower blood pressure? ›
A review of 9 studies including 641 participants showed that taking cinnamon reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 6.2 mm Hg and 3.9 mm Hg, respectively.
Several studies have been done on the effectiveness of honey. Studies in rats showed that honey does have a modest effect on lowering blood pressure, but studies in humans have not shown a consistent, significant drop in blood pressure.What can I take in the morning for high blood pressure? ›
- Tomato Juice. Tomato juice is rich in vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants, which makes it great for general heart health. ...
- Beet Juice. ...
- Prune Juice. ...
- Pomegranate Juice. ...
- Berry Juice. ...
- Skim Milk. ...
- Tea. ...
Will apple cider vinegar lower my blood pressure immediately? No. Apple cider vinegar is not proven to lower blood pressure at all. Rather, it may work in a roundabout way by potentially promoting weight loss, supporting lower cholesterol levels, and improving blood sugar control.Is turmeric good for blood pressure? ›
Turmeric can also lower blood sugar and may enhance the effects of antidiabetic drugs or insulin ( 10 ). Since turmeric can lower blood pressure, it may have additive effects with antihypertensive drugs ( 10 ).Do bananas lower blood pressure? ›
But you might not know that a banana a day keeps high blood pressure at bay. This fruit is packed full of potassium -- an important blood pressure-lowering mineral. Potassium helps balance sodium in the body. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium your body gets rid of.
Ginger is safe to eat daily, but experts recommend limiting yourself to 3 to 4 grams a day — stick to 1 gram daily if you're pregnant. Taking more than 6 grams of ginger a day has been proven to cause gastrointestinal issues such as reflux, heartburn and diarrhea.How do you beat hypertension without medication? ›
- Regular Physical Activity Helps Improve Health. It's no secret that regular physical activity helps to keep you in good health. ...
- Eat Less Salt. ...
- Add More Potassium to Your Diet to Reduce High Blood Pressure. ...
- Limit Your Alcohol Consumption. ...
- Reduce Your Stress to Lower Your Blood Pressure.
The high presence of potassium in pineapple juice results in better blood pressure numbers. It is also low in sodium which makes it beneficial for hypertension patients.Can garlic lower BP? ›
The meta-analysis of 12 trials and 553 hypertensive participants confirmed that garlic supplements lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) by an average of 8.3±1.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (DBP, n=8 trials, n=374 subjects) by 5.5±1.9 mmHg, similarly to standard anti-hypertensive medications.Is Apple good for high blood pressure? ›
Apples can also help keep your blood pressure at healthy levels. High blood pressure results in around 1,100 deaths per day in the U.S., which means keeping your blood pressure down is vital for living a healthy life. Fortunately, having an apple a day can help with just that.What is stroke level blood pressure? ›
Call 911 or emergency medical services if your blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or greater and you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or symptoms of stroke. Stroke symptoms include numbness or tingling, trouble speaking, or changes in vision.Can blood pressure go back to normal? ›
While there is no cure for high blood pressure, it is important for patients to take steps that matter, such as making effective lifestyle changes and taking BP-lowering medications as prescribed by their physicians.What is normal blood pressure for a 70 year old? ›
New Blood Pressure Standards for Seniors
The ideal blood pressure for seniors is now considered 120/80 (systolic/diastolic), which is the same for younger adults. The high blood pressure range for seniors starts at hypertension stage 1, spanning between 130-139/80-89.
(It's best to take your blood pressure from your left arm if you are right-handed. However, you can use the other arm if you have been told to do so by your healthcare provider.) Rest in a chair next to a table for 5 to 10 minutes. (Your left arm should rest comfortably at heart level.)What causes your blood pressure to suddenly get high? ›
High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. Stress-related habits such as eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol can lead to further increases in blood pressure. Certain chronic conditions.
To measure your pulse, you need a watch with a second hand.
Place your index and middle finger of your hand on the inner wrist of the other arm, just below the base of the thumb. You should feel a tapping or pulsing against your fingers. Count the number of taps you feel in 10 seconds.
Some vitamins, such as vitamin C, and B vitamins like B2, B6, and B9, may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Research has shown that vitamin C supplements may have some effects in reducing blood pressure. B vitamins like folate and folic acid may also have some effect on reducing blood pressure.Can vitamin B12 help lower blood pressure? ›
Results: The mean systolic blood pressure was 6.6 mm Hg lower and the mean diastolic blood pressure was 5.7 mm Hg lower in the highest quartile than in the lowest quartile of vitamin B12 intake (P for trend was <0.001 and 0.006, respectively).Is B12 good for high blood pressure? ›
Moreover, a higher plasma homocysteine level has been linked with higher blood pressure. Dietary intake of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid has been reported to reduce the plasma homocysteine level. These vitamins may have an influence on blood pressure levels by mediating the effects on the homocysteine level.What type of cinnamon lowers blood pressure? ›
Helps manage blood pressure
Research on Ceylon cinnamon dates back to 1975 . The research concluded Ceylon cinnamon could help blood pressure. Weakening of the heart due to problems in the cardiovascular system often causes heart disease.
After further analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that taking 300 mg of magnesium supplements daily for one month could result in lower blood pressure and higher levels of magnesium in the blood.What is the quickest way to lower your blood pressure immediately? ›
- There's no quick and safe way to lower blood pressure outside of a medical setting.
- Lifestyle changes that incorporate exercise, diet, and stress-reducing techniques can naturally lower blood pressure over time.
If your blood pressure is elevated and you want to see an immediate change, lie down and take deep breaths. This is how you lower your blood pressure within minutes, helping to slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. When you feel stress, hormones are released that constrict your blood vessels.Do any foods instantly lower blood pressure? ›
While there's no miracle food that can lower blood pressure immediately, consuming a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish (and low in red meat, salt, and added sugars) may help lower blood pressure over time.Can drinking lots of water lower your blood pressure? ›
Something as simple as keeping yourself hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water every day improves blood pressure. Water makes up 73% of the human heart,¹ so no other liquid is better at controlling blood pressure.
Pooled analysis suggested that ginger supplementation can reduced systolic BP (MD: -6.36 mmHg, 95% confidence interval [-11.27, -1.46]; I2 = 89.8%; P = . 011) and diastolic BP (MD: -2.12 mmHg, 95% confidence interval [-3.92, -0.31]; I2 = 73.4%; P = . 002).