This week, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology made a joint announcement: they now consider your blood pressure to be high if it measures 130/80 or higher. Understandably concerned, many of you reached out to me about what this means for you. And I’m glad you did because as you can imagine, I have a lot of really strong opinions about this announcement.
According to the American Heart Association, the new guideline is meant to help people start taking care of their health earlier, before they have a major health event.
In an article published on the American Heart Association’s website, one of the authors of the study, Dr. Kenneth Jamerson, M.D., Ph.D., says:
“Yes, we will label more people hypertensive and give more medication, but we will save lives and money by preventing more strokes, cardiovascular events and kidney failure.”
Don’t be fooled, the new guidelines are a HUGE financial win for Big Pharma. NPR did an analysis that showed these guidelines would lead to 8 million more people being prescribed blood pressure drugs; an additional 14 million people would be advised to increase their current dosage.
What a brilliant business move!
Before I go into the many ways you can improve your blood pressure without the use of medications, let me take a moment to congratulate you.
My mission is to empower you to take control of your own health and to resist handing critical decisions over to your doctor and to Big Pharma. I encourage you all to think for yourself and to become experts in your own health.
When big organizations like the AHA change guidelines, they are doing so because profits are being lost.
Thankfully, for the first time, we are starting to see people take control of their health by:
- Refusing lifelong medications
- Asking their doctor to explain the root cause of their conditions
- Making lifestyle and nutrition changes in an effort to cure what ails them
Seriously, congratulate yourself. You are making a difference.
So many of you are doing your health homework. If you have a health condition that has been bothering you for sometime, you scour the internet, read books, and listen to podcasts looking for the right solution for you. I love it! I wish all Americans would do that!
In his book, Undoctored, Dr. William Davis points out that the internet and social media have allowed patients to become more well-versed in their condition than their doctor.
Of course, this doesn’t bode well for the pharmaceutical industry… which is why we see dramatic announcements like the one made earlier this week.
Now some of you are asking yourself, “My blood pressure is higher than 130/80, what can I do?”
These are my top four recommendations for naturally lowering your blood pressure. Note that the majority of these tips are proven to be just as effective, if not more effective, than medication.
- Cut out the sugar and processed foods
Ready for some shocking info?
High blood pressure is more of an issue of too much sugar than too much salt.
Stop and think about it for a moment. Your blood pressure goes up because the inside of your blood vessels inflame. What causes this inflammation is sugar and the chemical-laden, fake ingredients found in processed foods. The more you eat these foods, the more irritated your blood vessels become and the higher your blood pressure goes.
An article published on the popular Diabetes.co.uk website stated that:
“A 2011 meta-analysis of seven studies involving more than 6,000 people has, for example, found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death.”
“A 2010 study also showed that consuming a diet high in fructose leads to an increase in blood pressure of about 7 mmHg/5 mmHg.”
If you’d like more information, here’s the original article:
- Measure your upper cervical bone
What the heck does the top part of my spine have to do with blood pressure?
The top two vertebra in your neck are built completely different than any other bone in your spine. This is because the job of these two bones is to protect your brainstem.
Your brainstem is the part of the spinal cord that controls the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body, and it also controls basic body functions such as breathing, swallowing, heart rate, blood pressure, consciousness, and whether one is awake or sleepy.
An article published on WebMD stated that realigning the upper cervical bone can have a dramatic impact on your blood pressure.
In fact, the authors of the article, “Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure,” stated that:
“This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. “And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems,” adds Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center.
Here’s the original article if you want to read more:
- Find an exercise you love
This is not new information. Your body wants to move, and to move often.
Again, let’s think about this from your body’s perspective. Toxins and poor diet cause your blood to be sludgy. Your blood literally thickens. This toxic sludge inflames your blood vessels and causes an increase in your blood pressure.
Think of a pond that has no moving water. It’s thick and viscous, right? Full of dirt, moss, and algae. But if a stream with fresh water started pouring into that pond, the water would thin out. That’s what happens to your blood when you exercise. You force the blood to move through your body, which keeps it fluid, thin, oxygenated, and free from sludge.
I recommend to all my patients that they find an exercise they love. And not everyone has to run off to the gym. You can dance. Do yoga. Go for a hike. Whatever exercise lights you up, do that! And do it as often as you can.
I do a high intensity surge workout with my patients every Saturday morning. No equipment and only 15 minutes long. I’ve recorded those workouts and you can find them on my webpage under fitness. Here’s the link:
- Calm your mind
There’s no doubt we live in a stressful world. But you don’t have to allow the stress to raise your blood pressure.
Studies show that mindfulness techniques such as meditation can lower your blood pressure. In fact, a study published in PubMed, the most respected resource for scientific research, found that:
“Transcendental meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction may produce clinically significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”
Now, if you are like me, you really need a shortcut to stress relief.
Currently, two of my favorite ways to calm my mind are:
Calm App. This app has a 10-minute guided meditation that I do every morning before I head out for my day. I love the fact that it is guided, so when my brain wants to think about all the things I need to do that day, the calm voice brings me back to the meditation.
Here is a link to that app:
MindValley. I like to fill my brain with “possibility thinking.” One thing that calms my mind is to gain inspiration from people who have overcome adversity or who think outside the box. You can check out some fantastic, short, inspiring videos at MindValley on YouTube.
Those are four of my favorite, science-based techniques. I did an FB Live on this topic this week and many of you had other great ideas. You can watch it here:
If you have something natural that is working for your blood pressure, I’d love to hear from you and find out what you’ve discovered!
As always, I love being on this health journey with all of you!