Blood pressure is a universal indicator of body system function. That's why just about every time you go to the doctor he or she will measure it. It is not a disease in itself.
When blood pressure is not normal it indicates that one or more of the systems of the body are not functioning normally.
It is said to be normal at 120/80 mm/hg for men and 120/70-80 mm/hg for women.
Systolic Blood Pressure
The systolic pressure measurement is the higher of the two numbers and records the pressure of the blood as it is pumped out of the heart. We can detect the beat as the blood is pumped out when we take our pulse.
The acceptable range of systolic blood pressure measures is probably within the range of 100 - 145. Many more people have blood pressure higher than 145 than have lower than 100. In fact some two million Australians are on tablets for high blood pressure (hypertension) which shows you the magnitude of the poor condition of the major body systems and organs of which blood pressure is a good indicator of function.
When you have high blood pressure your task is to find out which body system is dysfunctional and fix it. Then your blood pressure will return to normal.
Diastolic Blood Pressure
Diastolic blood pressure, the lower of the two numbers is said to be the more important measure of vascular integrity. It is the pressure recorded when the blood is flowing back into the heart.
Elevated Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a symptom of poor lifestyle habits. Being a symptom it has a range of causes, which, if dealt with will lead to a reduction in the pressure.
Elevated blood pressure is not a disease. You don't 'catch it'. It's a symptom of the dysfunction of other body systems.
High blood pressure comes at the end of a long line of dysfunctions, it is not a first cause.
High on the list of causes is an over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system. As blood vessels constrict and muscles contract to the very core of your body, blood pressure increases.
Other systems likely to be involved are the lymphatic system, and organs associated with elimination generally, the bowel, liver and kidneys.
High blood pressure therefore has many causes, all related to poor system function. Trace them. Then adopt the lifestyle and do the things that restore normal function in the systems and organs which have become dysfunctional.
You can do this with a specific attack. eg, reduce anxiety, a liver cleansing diet, or stimulating all the component parts of the elimination system ... However, the best way to fix the causes of high blood pressure is to mount a global attack and do the things which encourage all the major systems back into good function, all at the same time.
The best way I know to do this is to exercise with vigor on a regular and systematic basis, eat from the top of the hourglass and meditate.
Autonomic Nervous System
In order to explain what's going on we need to talk about the autonomic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system is that part of the mind that runs sub-consciously the essential processes of your body, particularly respiration and digestion. For example, you don't have to think about taking the next breath, or where your breakfast is going. It just happens, automatically.
The autonomic nervous system has two branches of nerves which go deep into the core organs of your body. These branches of nerves are attached to the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.
Sympathetic nervous system
The sympathetic nervous system is designed to help you cope with anxiety, and when stimulated is associated with the fight or flight reflex.
For example, if a tiger were to suddenly come in through your door you'd want to get stimulated very quickly, to prepare yourself for fight or flight. The brain would register the emergency and signal the adrenal glands to squirt adrenalin into the system. The effect of the adrenalin would be to stimulate respiration. Muscles would contract and blood vessels constrict. Blood would flow from your head and your gut out to the skeletal muscles preparing them for fight or flight. The contracting of the muscles and constricting of blood vessels sends blood pressure up.
Under normal conditions, once the emergency has died down, internal body functions should return to normal. In animals, the fight and flight response time is usually quite short. For instance, a dog sees a cat, becomes stimulated, runs after cat and then has a lie down.
The running helps wash out of the system the chemicals that prepare the body for fight and flight. The lie down after it's all over stimulated parasympathetic nervous system and the original balance within the autonomic nervous system is restored.
In the main, people with high blood pressure have an over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system.
Not that many years ago the only medical remedy for extremely high blood pressure was to cut the vagus nerve. Now the medical remedy is a tablet.
Parasympathetic nervous system
The parasympathetic nervous system is designed to help you relax your body.
In the main, people with high blood pressure have an under stimulated parasympathetic nervous system. It becomes stimulated when we relax, for instance when we meditate, take a holiday, do tai chi or yoga or take a walk at lunch time. Under these conditions, muscles relax and blood vessels dilate. Blood pressure comes down.
When the dog has a lie down he is stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. For us human beings there is a compelling reason to have a siesta, just to stimulate parasympathetic nervous system during the day.
To feel what the effect of stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system has on your body, try this exercise.
your blood pressure. Then sit in a chair for ten minutes with your eyes
closed, consciously breathing using stomach breathing and relaxing the
major muscles of your body. At the end of ten minutes take your blood
pressure again. It is highly likely that it will have dropped considerably.
High Blood Pressure And The Autonomic Nervous System
The problem for humans is fourfold.
Being Over Fat
As a general rule (but certainly not in all cases), the fatter you get the higher your blood pressure, as the heart has to work harder getting blood through the new capillaries feeding the fat cells.
Being over fat is a symptom of unhealthy living, of poor adaptation to an affluent environment, of an elimination system that can't get rid of the extra fuel being take on board, every meal, every day, every week. The fuel is stored on the outside of the body as flab!
Take a moment to think about the distinction between the 'inside' and the 'outside' of the body. 'Inside' is the cellular level. The rest of the body serves to keep the cells in good shape. Just as a motor has a carburetor, battery, fuel pump, ignition system, so do we have body systems to make sure that cells receive what they want and eliminate those things they don't. We have lungs, lives, heart, brain, kidneys, bowel all designed to keep the 'inside' of the body ticking over nicely. When these 'attachments' aren't working properly it shows up as a dysfunction. Then if it is left for too long, it affects another system.
If things are left too long, the 'motor' stops working altogether. Most frequently it just chugs along, making a lot of noise, giving of a lot of smoke and working inefficiently. We recognize these symptoms of inefficiency as headaches, poor sleep, lack of energy, crook guts, high blood pressure, getting fatter.
The great tragedy of modern medicine is that the chain of events is rarely recognized, the level of dysfunction of one or more attachments is not diagnosed and all that happens is the symptoms of dysfunction which is most obvious is treated with a patch up job, like a tablet, crème or suppository. The 'motor' continues to function, but poorly. Perhaps if there were better and simpler measures of 'motor' performance We don't need more doctors, we need more 'mechanics'.
the damage done is irreparable. they need to be fixed, principally through
diet and exercise.
If you're getting fatter, not only do you have an eating disorder and an exercise disorder but you probably have an elimination problem. In which case your bowel, liver, kidneys and lymphatic systems are not functioning normally.
Being Under Fit
Lack of a regular, vigorous physical activity program is the number one cause of high blood pressure. Why? Because vigorous activity stimulates the various elimination mechanisms which rid the body of the waste products of metabolism. It is the principal means of burning off excess energy. It is a very tough assignment in our culture staying your ideal weight and keeping the 'motor' in peak condition if you don't exercise. It costs our community about $80B a year.
Elevated blood pressure may relate to low thyroid function. Fats in cells throughout the body, including those lining blood vessels and not burned at the normal rate and accumulate along with other waste products of metabolism. The cells lining blood vessels become swollen and less elastic. Blood pressure goes up.
Depressed thyroid function is exacerbated by refined carbohydrates, poor quality and unnatural fats, and lack of exercise.
What are you going to do?
Obviously if your blood pressure has gone through the roof you're going to have to take the tablet. It would be unwise and unsafe not to do so.
But taking a tablet doesn't fix high blood pressure, it merely masks the symptoms of the continuing dysfunction of one or more body systems. And keep in mind that high blood pressure is not a lack of blood pressure medication. It is not a disease in itself. It is the symptom that various systems of your body have become dysfunctional, particularly the autonomic nervous system, the liver, the heart, the kidneys ...
The prolonged ingestion of blood pressure tablets in the belief that they are treating the cause of high blood pressure is one of the great hoaxes of modern medicine. People who provide prescriptions for blood pressure tablets without prescribing and then giving oversight to a systematic lifestyle change which restores body systems to normal function, are compliant in the perpetuation of that hoax. If this is what's happening to you, turn elsewhere for your advice: - to your physical educator, naturopath, travel agent ...! or a medical practitioner who has a genuine concern to see that the parts of your body which are dysfunctional become healthy again.
So, effecting a cure amounts to getting the key body systems back in good working order. Once you've done that, blood pressure should return to normal. Let's restate that again. Blood pressure returning to normal means that the function of key systems and organs of your body is returning to normal. Taking a tablet does not return those systems to normal function. The lowering of blood pressure by medication and nothing else is supporting continued dysfunction of one or more body systems. You are not getting better. At best you're being lulled into a false sense of security that you've solved your problem. At worst, you're the victim of a monstrous hoax. Your health is continuing to deteriorate. You're wasting your money, and, if your medication is subsidized, that of your fellow taxpayers. Time is running out quicker than you think!
But by far and away the most appropriate long term treatment involves lifestyle change.