Friday, March 20, 2015

Both sides of the blood pressure story

blood pressure story
I think it’s safe to say that most people are aware that high blood pressure is not a good thing.

If not properly controlled, hypertension can lead to serious damage in your arterial walls and make you a candidate for heart disease. 

Although it’s well known that high blood pressure can be caused by things such as too much salt in your diet (along with too little potassium), being overweight, elevated cholesterol, smoking, stress and lacking exercise, it can also be triggered by these factors:
  • Sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption
  • Nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B12, B6 and folate, magnesium, antioxidants and omega-3 essential fatty acids
  • Kidney problems
  • Thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism)
  • Heavy metal exposure, especially mercury, cadmium and copper
But the little-known other side of the blood pressure story—low blood pressure (aka hypotension)—presents its share of challenges too.

Let’s take a little closer look at this relatively obscure “sibling” in the blood pressure family, underlying factors that can cause it, and ways that you can help lower your risk of BOTH high blood pressure and low blood pressure.

Hypotension—how low can you go?
Hypotension is generally defined as having blood pressure lower than 90/60 in either of the numbers.

In other words, if your systolic (top number) pressure is 90 or less OR your diastolic (bottom number) pressure is 60 or under, you’re considered to have low blood pressure. 

Hypotension is characterized by these warning signs:
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Lack of concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Cold, clammy, pale skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Thirst
Problem is, many of these symptoms are vague and/or associated with other conditions, so low blood pressure doesn’t always jump out as the culprit.

And although it doesn’t raise your heart disease risk like hypertension, it’s no peach either.  Even moderate forms of low blood pressure can cause not only dizziness and weakness but also fainting and an increased risk of injury from falls.

Plus severely low blood pressure can deprive your body of adequate oxygen to carry out its normal functions, eventually leading to damage to your heart and brain!

How on earth?
Similar to high blood pressure, low blood pressure also is not really a stand-alone condition but the result of other factors or imbalances in the body.

Here are some of its common causes:
  • Pregnancy 
  • Heart problems—including very low heart rate (bradycardia), heart valve problems, heart attack and heart failure
  • Endocrine system problems—thyroid conditions (such as parathyroid disease), adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and, in some cases, diabetes can trigger low blood pressure
  • Dehydration—fever, vomiting, diarrhea, stress, diabetes and extremely strenuous exercise can all lead to dehydration.
  • Blood loss—such as from a serious injury or internal bleeding. 
  • Septicemia—this can occur when an infection in the body enters the bloodstream. This condition can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure called septic shock.
  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Nutritional deficiencies—especially vitamin B12 and folate
  • Medications—especially high blood pressure drugs like diuretics, alpha blockers and beta blockers, plus Parkinson’s disease drugs and antidepressants.
It’s gotta go—whether it’s high or low!
Clearly both high and low blood pressure present their share of challenges, so it’s not only a good idea but can save your life if you:

1- Look at all the possible factors behind high or low blood pressure that may apply to you and
2- Support the proper functioning of your cardiovascular system

Here are some strategies you can put into place to make a big difference in your numbers:

Get tested
As you saw above, things like thyroid problems, adrenal problems, kidney issues and lack of blood sugar control (both hypoglycemia and diabetes) are instigators of blood pressure problems, so it’s essential to get a thorough battery of tests that covers all bases. 

Here are some you can ask your doctor to run:

  • Urine tests--to check for protein and/or blood in your urine which would suggest kidney problems
  • Hair or urine tests—to look for heavy metal exposure
  • Blood tests--to check for elevated glucose, Type 2 diabetes and hyperthyroidism
  • Blood levels of potassium, chloride, calcium, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood urea nitrogen and/or creatinine (for kidney function)
  • C-reactive protein--CRP is a marker for inflammation. Levels of CRP rise when your blood vessels are inflamed, which may be a sign of atherosclerosis in the making
  • Homocysteine—high levels of homocysteine in the blood can be dangerous because it can lead to out-of-control free radicals and arterial damage
  • Blood nutrient analysis—to check for nutrient deficiencies, especially in the B vitamins
  • Adrenal hormone testing
Have a healthy diet of real foods & encourage good digestion
Having a healthy diet of real foods provides a triple whammy against blood pressure problems:

  • You’ll be taking in natural sources of antioxidants (to fight free radicals) and water (to help prevent dehydration).
  • You’ll be avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates along with processed foods (that are loaded with sodium) while at the same time, eating more natural dietary sources of potassium.
  • You’ll be encouraging better digestion and nutrient absorption, which will help correct any underlying nutrient deficiencies.
And the great news is, eating for better cardiovascular (and overall!) health is also easy and tastes fantastic.
That is, when you follow the Great Taste No Pain plan!

Great Taste No Pain will not only show you how to pair foods together to help encourage better digestion, but it will also give you a collection of luscious recipes featuring nutrient-packed foods that are out of sight.

One of the most common things we hear from people after they start using Great Taste No Pain is that they are shocked that eating right can taste so delicious!

Supplement to support your cardiovascular system
Your ticket here is Dr. Salerno’s Cardio Factor.

Dr. Salerno’s unique formula is jam-packed with nutrients that help support proper cardiovascular functioning.

These include vitamins B2, B12, B6 and folate (deficiencies of which are factors in both high and low blood pressure!), magnesium and zinc.

See what a difference it can make in your blood pressure to naturally support your heart and circulatory system with the nutrients they so desperately need.

Get sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been medically proven to help lower blood pressure, and increasing numbers of doctors are advising their patients to up their Omega-3 intake.

Omega-3 EFAs help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, they reduce the risk of clots, they improve blood flow and help prevent atherosclerosis—all of which can help lower blood pressure readings in people with hypertension!

Now, these heart-healthy nutrients are most abundant in wild-caught fatty fish like salmon, but not only do many people not like the taste of fish, but thanks to high levels of pollution and contamination, many times it's more health-HARMING than health-HELPING to eat fish!

So one of the best ways to engage this natural anti-inflammatory is to take a very high-quality fish oil supplement.

And for outstanding quality, look no further than our VitalMega-3.

VitalMega-3 delivers 1,200 mg. of these essential nutrients (including 1,000 mg of the all-important EPA and DHA).

Both high and low blood pressure can be a serious cause for concern, so it’s crucial to make sure you correct any underlying factors that may be driving your pressure up or down, as well as support the health of your ticker and its vessels through diet and proper supplementation.

You’ll be glad you did!

To your health,

Sherry Brescia

PS: Always be sure to let your doctor or healthcare provider know what supplements you are taking.

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