The alarming dangers of prehypertension

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prehypertension(NaturalHealth365) Approximately 70 million Americans – one out of three – have high blood pressure, a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and stroke. But many more have prehypertension: blood pressure that is higher than “normal,” but that still falls below the measurement of 140 over 90 mmHg – the traditional benchmark of high blood pressure.

The dangers of high blood pressure, or hypertension, are widely known. Less well known, however, are the risks of prehypertension. Due to recent medical research, these are coming into focus – and the picture is troubling.

The hidden (real) dangers of high blood pressure

Because hypertension often carries no visible signs or symptoms as it ravages the body from the inside, it is termed the “silent killer.”

Among the serious problems hypertension can cause is endothelial dysfunction – damage to the linings of arteries. This in turn can cause more high blood pressure, along with diminished circulation, thrombosis (or blood clots) and atherosclerosis. These conditions can set the stage for a life-threatening or fatal heart attack, stroke or cerebral hemorrhage.

Key point: The traditional medical outlook on blood pressure must change

Blood pressure is measured in systolic and diastolic values. The systolic – or top – reading, which reflects the amount of pressure placed on the arteries with each heartbeat, can often predict the likelihood of heart attack and stroke. The diastolic – or bottom — number measures the pressure between beats.

Conventional medicine has always held that blood pressure is not “high,” or worrisome, unless it reaches 140 over 90 mmHg or above – a misperception with tragic consequences. Medical authorities are now beginning to acknowledge that damage to arteries can occur even at lower stages of hypertension. Many point to a target measurement of 115 over 75 – rather than 120 over 80 — as optimal for health.

The truth is: any systolic reading over 120 carries health risks and should be considered “high.”

Where does prehypertension fit in, and why is it dangerous?

In 2003, the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure proposed that blood pressure readings of 120 to 139 over 80 to 89 mmHg be characterized as prehypertension.
According to a scientific review published in 2013 in BioMedCentral Medicine, prehypertension exists in up to 50 percent of people studied worldwide – with devastating consequences.

The researchers reported that the condition raised risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent, risk of cardiovascular disease by 55 percent and risk of stroke by a stunning 71 percent. Even prehypertension in the “low” range – a systolic reading between 120 and 140 mmHG – caused a 46 percent higher rate of heart disease.

Blood pressure reduction can be a literal lifesaver

Research supports the life-prolonging effects of keeping blood pressure within the optimal range.

According to the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, published in 2016 in New England Journal of Medicine, people with systolic blood pressure readings under 120 mmHg had a 43 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease — and a 38 percent decrease in heart failure rates — compared to people with higher blood pressure.

Reduce or avoid toxic blood pressure medications with healthier lifestyle choices

Simple lifestyle changes can offer substantial benefits when it comes to combating hypertension.

Since blood pressure often increases with excess poundage, maintaining healthy weight can help – with even a modest loss of as little as ten pounds providing benefits.

You can also lower blood pressure by getting adequate exercise, lowering your toxic burden and making sure you consume enough vitamin C – on a daily basis. According to Mayo Clinic, the simple technique of getting sufficient exercise can actually prevent prehypertension from turning into full-blown hypertension – as well as reducing blood pressure that is already north of where you want it to be.

Avoiding toxic trans fats, processed foods and demineralized table salts can also translate to lowered blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control, simply decreasing most commercial salts could reduce hypertension in the United States by as much as 11 million cases. Himalayan sea salt or Celtic sea salt is always a better choice.

Of course, avoiding excessive use of alcohol, and becoming a non-smoker – if you still smoke – are vital when it comes to reducing blood pressure.

More natural solutions for high blood pressure

Omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, the mineral potassium and the amino acid arginine have been shown to help reduce blood pressure safely and effectively. You can increase your intake through proper nutrition, or your naturopathic physician can help you tailor a supplementary regime that is right for you.

Don’t forget about the role of stress management in reducing blood pressure. Many effective natural methods exist to reduce stress, including meditation, biofeedback and aromatherapy.

For a soothing massage oil, aromatherapists advise combining 15 milliliters of a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil, with 2 drops of lavender oil, 2 drops of sweet marjoram oil, and 1 drop of neroli oil. Smooth over body after a warm bath.

Of course, you should never stop taking blood pressure medicine without consulting your doctor – and discuss techniques for lowering your blood pressure with a knowledgeable holistic physician.

To be completely clear – prehypertension shouldn’t be regarded as a mere “warning signal,” akin to a yellow traffic light that precedes a red light. Rather, prehypertension needs to be acknowledged and addressed as a dangerous condition in itself, one that has tragically shortened too many lives.


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  • Henry Marko

    Having been on medication for this condition I can tell you it doesn’t always produce satisfactory results. For anyone with this condition, it is so frustrating when pharmaceuticals aren’t able to control it.

  • Salvatore R

    Hypertension or high blood pressure is so common among Americans. Usually this condition leads to a lifetime of prescriptive drugs. For me it has been drug roulette. After trying various medication the doctor finally found one that worked. The problem was the side effects, to counter that I have to use other medications.

  • Doc Silverman

    The most effective drugs for hypertension are usually the most powerful. I work in the medical community and have seen the risks. Most patients aren’t aware there are different causes for this condition, which are never addressed by the medical doctor.

    Many people have both systolic and diastolic numbers elevated. This is called benign essential hypertension and this is the type that can be addressed with lifestyle changes.

    The people with a high diastolic number(second number) are usually dealing with a kidney and/or liver problem. Those with a high systolic number (the first number) can have either a liver problem or clogged arteries (atherosclerotic hypertension).

    Hypertension, which has emotional origins can have either or both numbers high. Confusing of course, but the medical profession doesn’t always take the time to explore the why and how of this dangerous condition.

    Like every other condition one size doesn’t’ fit all. For all these causes there is hope and it doesn’t come from pills.

  • Bill Wyman

    My wife got off her high blood pressure medication. She took the initiative by loosing weight and exercising. What she did was start her own program and depended on diet instead of pills.

  • Candice Anderson

    When my neighbor complained his blood pressure medication made him dizzy and faint everyone of his friends said you must take it. No one said it would help if you were at least 100 pounds less.

    Like so many people who depend on their doctor to fix them my neighbor will not take responsibility. The symptoms he was having should be taken seriously. No one I know thinks that they can have a life without prescription drugs.

  • Dale Ludwig

    I know someone who went on a detox program and normalized their blood pressure. This may not be a good idea for many people, but it sure proves that you can normalize your blood pressure with weight loss, a nutrient rich diet and some activity.

    By doing this you will get both your liver and kidneys to function better and that alone can have a positive effect on your hypertension.

  • Sue K

    This information is good to know. I have always considered 120/80 normal. This is because the doctor said my 130/80 was about normal and not to worry about it. Now I am worried and will take the initiative to loss some weight and eat better.

  • Max Barone

    A thyroid problem can be part of the problem. Interestingly, a lifetime of prescriptive drugs can be the cause of this issue as can a sedentary lifestyle. This is the reason patients stay on drugs for life. We may be just scratching the surface of all the causes of hypertension.