Hypertension – An Integrative Approach
Rick was always in a hurry. If he wanted an appointment it had to be now. In a restaurant he wanted to be served five minutes ago. When he went on vacation if there was a line to go somewhere, he wouldn’t go. He lived his life as though there were an emergency all the time. Everything had to be done right away. He had high blood pressure for four years but never really felt anything different. At age 60, he began to develop chest discomfort and feel dizzy when he leaned forward. Further tests revealed the beginnings of ischemic heart disease in addition to high blood pressure.
High blood pressure – hypertension – is caused by tension in blood vessel walls increasing the resistance of blood pushing through arteries as it leaves the heart. Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood pumped by the heart, and the size and condition of the arteries. Many other factors affect blood pressure, including volume of water in the body; salt content of the body; condition of the kidneys, nervous system, or blood vessels; and levels of various hormones in the body. Chronic hypertension leads to ischemic heart disease, stroke and kidney problems.
Controlling blood pressure is essential to maintaining good health and preventing disease. Hypertension represents an imbalance body function. An integrative approach to treatment can help you find better balance in many areas of life, including blood pressure.
Controlling blood pressure starts with attitude. A “Type A” personality like Rick is much more prone to hypertension because he cannot relax. He does not have a day when he can sit back and just let life take its course. Even when he looks calm on the outside, he is a seething volcano of activity on the inside. In order to maintain good health, he needs to calm down. Meditation, exercise, and various forms of therapy can help him.
Rick can improve his blood pressure using diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise. Magnesium, B-vitamins, potassium, calcium, salt, and essential fatty acids such as fish oil balance blood vessels so that they function better. I’ve found magnesium to be especially effective for helping lower blood pressure. Evaluation of hormones and kidney function may shed light on correctable problems. Traditional Chinese medicine methods of evaluating the pulse and energy of the body provide a different perspective. Specific herbs and acupuncture techniques rebalance the energy flow. Biofeedback has been shown to be effective in helping people learn to regulate their own blood pressures by giving them awareness of what’s happening. Exercise of all sorts especially relaxing ones like yoga, tai chi, or qi gong are an essential part to bringing down your blood pressure.
Blood pressure should not be ignored. If alternative methods are not effective within three to six months, you need to take medication. There are many categories of blood pressure medications, and they should be prescribed according to what would balance the likely cause. There are diuretics, beta-blockers, ace inhibitors, angiotensin inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, alpha-blockers, alpha-beta blockers, nervous system inhibitors and vasodilators. This large selection of medications allows for effective management of blood pressure with minimal side-effects. Your doctor can help you determine which medication would be best for you.