The Way Up

The Way Up Newsletter
Vol. 23,

-- " is the closest approximation of eternity that
    the world offers. It is in the reality of now, without
    past or future, that the beginning of the appreciation
     of eternity lies" --Course In Miracles


Unfortunately hypertension can be present without symptoms, then suddenly have serious consequences. High blood pressure is a major cause of disease & death. It contributes to the atherosclerotic process, & the development of arterial aneurysms. It can enlarge & weaken the heart, is related to kidney & heart failure, & contributes to heart attacks & strokes. Coronary artery disease in now the number one killer of both men & women in the U.S. The risk of hypertension increases with age, weight, & inactivity. Fifty-seventy percent of older Americans are hypertensive..
Most people only get their blood pressure checked when they go to the Dr, which means all the "well" people with silent hypertension are missed. Since so many families have all kind of electronic & other gadgets, why not have a blood pressure monitor?? This is especially needed for those past 40 years old, or for anyone who already has a diagnosis of high blood pressure. There are many easy do-it-yourself models available from pharmacies, home health centers, or online if you do a search for "blood pressure monitors". The digital models will also monitor your pulse which is helpful to watch as well. It should ideally be between 60-75.
When checking your blood pressure, you want the top number (systolic) to be less than 140, & the bottom number (diastolic) to be less than 90. The higher number represents the maximum pressure in your blood vessels at the time the heart pumps the blood. The lower number (diastolic) represents the minimum pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
If you have high hypertension, why not take a moment each day to take & record your blood pressure? Or, if you have no problem, why not check every 1-2 months to make sure your pressure remains normal?
I ask all my patients who have this problem to purchase a blood pressure monitor. They are then to check ther pressure upon arising in the am & in the evening to see if there is a pattern as to which time it is higher. When that is the case, they are to record their blood pressure for that time daily. When there is no fluctuating pattern the pressure can be checked any time of the day.
Not only does checking your own pressure give you quick information on how well a medication is working, it also can be used to monitor your response to the blood pressure regulating effects of some nutrient supplements & herbs. It also allows you to see what other factors in your life change your blood pressure. I have patients with food allergies whose pressure is normal if they avoid all allergens, yet goes in the hypertensive range when they eat the wrong foods. Caffeine, cigarettes, & other stimulants impact blood pressure.
It is not unusual for a person to be put on blood pressure regulating meds, then given no follow up appointment for months. How can you know whether it is doing the job?.
With any newsletter, because of the limited length, I do not consider every possible remedy to a situation or we would go on & on. Instead I pick what are the priorities in my practice. Responders to previous newsletters have wondered why I didn't include such & such, etc. so this is the reason why my treatment of topics will not be exhaustive.
The proper balance & interaction of minerals is critical for maintainance of normal blood pressure, so this is where I look first.
Magnesium is of prime importance, yet magnesium deficiency is common in our culture. A recent study of 37,785 individuals showed 75% had magnesium intakes less than the RDA which is conservative!. Magnesium causes the muscles to relax & works to dilate the blood vessels, thus decreasing the pressure. There is a class of antihypertensive meds known as calcium channel blockers. They come with their possible side effects. Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker & I would definitely prefer it over that choice of drug. Some common calcium channel blockers are Norvasc, Procardia, Cardene, Calan, Plendil, Verapamil.

Excess magnesium is lost in the urine with diuretic use, alcohol, sugar, caffeine & stress. Magnesium is usually dosed at 500-2000 mg. daily in divided doses.
The foods highest in magnesium are in descending order of content: kelp, wheat bran & germ, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, Brewers yeast, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, peanuts, wheat grain. pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, beet greens, coconut, soybeans, spinach, brown rice & figs.
Adequate magnesium helps the tissues to retain potassium which is another blood pressure regulating mineral. Excessive sodium will also deplete potassium, as will diuretics, excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, alcohol, coffee, & sugar. Moderate dietary sodium restriction helps to increase the potassium levels & this is the particular relevance of sodium.
See a list of potassium defiency symptoms. Potassium is usually dosed at 200-300 mg twice daily with meals.
The foods highest in potassium are: whole wheat products, citrus fruits, bananas, potatoes, dried fruits, berries, seafood, fresh vegetables ( especially green leafy), molasses & goats milk.
Enough calcium is important for blood pressure regulation. Studies show 1000 mg of a daily calcium supplement slightly lowers blood pressure. But studies also show that too much calcium relative to the amount of magnesium will actually increase blood pressure which is why mineral balance is so important. So many women are given a plain calcium supplement for supposed prevention of osteoporosis. Taking this without the proper ratio of magnesium only serves to worsen all matters. The ideal ratio is the supplementation of an equal amount of both, but since magnesium is laxative, some people cannot tolerate that much. Their ratio of calcium to magnesium supplementaion should be anywhere from 2:1 to 1:1. If needed, one can take more magnesium than calcium.
I prefer the category know as ACE Inhibitors, such as Capoten,. Vasotec, Zestril.
I don't particulary like the Beta Blockers ( Inderal, Propanolol. Atenolol) which can commonly cause fatigue & depression..
You would add the minerals as listed above, then monitor your blood pressure for improvement. When you see your pressure dropping ( & you have kept a written record of such) you take the record to your Dr & work with your Dr to gradually reduce your meds as you respond to a natural approach. Remember the natural approach usually works more slowly than a drug. If you are not on meds, but have high blood pressure, try the natural approach to see what you can accomplish.

    "Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin
      with your own thoughts & then extend outward. It is from
           your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises
       And eternity in an hour ." ----Course In Miracles

                     That should be enough for now. .Live in Joy...

                           Priscilla Slagle M.D.

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