Friday, September 21, 2012

High Blood Pressure and Type 2 Diabetes

High blood pressure is usually one of the major health complications associated with people who have Type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure is also a problem for most people who are overweight and live a sedentary lifestyle.

Key Point: If you reverse your Type 2 diabetes, in most cases your blood pressure will return to normal!

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is also one of the first signs that the cardiovascular system is lacking key nutrients and is under serious stress and deterioration. This is due to the heart’s extra force required to push the blood through the arteries eventually causing damage to the inner lining of the arteries. This, in turn, causes inflammation and leaves the arteries susceptible to the buildup of fatty plaque that can narrow or block the arteries and reduce blood flow to the body’s organs. When untreated, high blood pressure can lead to kidney damage, heart failure, stroke, and loss of vision from damage to the retina.Heart muscle

Unfortunately, high blood pressure is a “silent” symptom that goes undetected for years. Consequently, high blood pressure is well-known as one of the major silent killer diseases.

Most people don't realize that they have high blood pressure until another problem arises that triggers the need for a physical exam, e.g. blurry vision, constant headaches, heart arrhythmia, kidney problems. The key organs that are involved with high blood pressure include the heart, kidneys, arteries, and the neural and hormonal systems. The combination of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes is particularly stressful on the kidneys. 

High blood pressure is generally defined as a level exceeding 140/90 mm Hg on multiple occasions. The systolic blood pressure, which is the first number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood throughout the circulatory system. The diastolic pressure, which is the second number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction.

An elevation of the systolic or diastolic blood pressure increases the risk of Cardiovascular Systemdeveloping heart (cardiac) disease, kidney (renal) disease, hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), glaucoma (eye damage), and stroke (brain damage). Usually a high systolic number indicates problems with the cardiovascular system and the liver, while a high diastolic number indicates problems with the kidneys and the liver.

These complications of high blood pressure are often referred to as end-organ damage because damage to these organs is the end result of chronic (long duration) high blood pressure. Accordingly, the diagnosis of high blood pressure in an individual is important so that efforts can be made to normalize the blood pressure and, thereby, prevent the complications.

For some people, high blood pressure may be defined at a level lower than 140/90 mm Hg. For example, in certain situations, such as in patients with long duration (chronic) kidney diseases that spill protein into the urine (proteinuria), the blood pressure is ideally kept at 125/75, or even lower. The purpose of reducing the blood pressure to this level in these patients is to slow the progression of kidney damage. Patients with diabetes may likewise benefit from blood pressure that is maintained at a level lower than 140/90. In addition, African-Americans, who have an increased risk for developing the complications of high blood pressure, may decrease this risk by reducing their diastolic blood pressure to 80 mm Hg or less.

Important: Not only can kidney disease cause high blood pressure, but high blood pressure can cause kidney disease. Therefore, all patients with high blood pressure should be evaluated for the presence of kidney disease so that they can be treated appropriately.

Diagnosis
The diagnosis of high blood pressure is more than reading the numbers off the monitor. It may take several months of doctor visits, monitoring and testing, including an electrocardiogram to prevent a false reading. The diagnosis starts with measuring your blood pressure using a mercury manometer and a properly fitted arm cuff, with your elbow at the same level as your heart, not below it. There is usually a small difference between the left and right side.

Ideal systolic-diastolic pressure values are under 120/80. Values over 180/110 are a definite concern. If the difference between the systolic and diastolic pressure exceeds 60, advanced atherosclerosis may be present. Values greater than 140/90 are a concern if you have other risk factors such as being overweight. You may require further testing, which may involve wearing a small automatic measuring device and recorder for 24 hours.

To prevent a false diagnosis, have your blood pressure checked while sitting, standing and lying down – if readings skyrocket when you change position, this may indicate a problem with the adrenal glands. All this information is collected and analyzed by your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Primary Root Causes
In order to understand the best ways to treat high blood pressure (without drugs), it is very important to understand the primary root causes which cause the heart muscle to work harder to push the blood throughout the body. They include: an increase in the volume of blood and fluids, e.g. fluid retention due to cell dehydration; a decrease in the diameter of the artery walls; a decrease in the elasticity of the arteries; an increase in blood viscosity (thick blood); a clogged liver; a clogging of the smaller capillaries in the kidneys; reduced nitric oxide; a constriction of the arteries due to an increase in cortisol levels; a defective heart muscle or heart valve; poor filtering of the blood by the kidneys; and an increase in hormonal levels (i.e. cortisol) due to stress.

When the heart tries to “push” thick, sticky blood through the blood vessels, it’s similar to forcing ketchup out of a bottle. You have to pound the bottom of the bottle to provide enough force to get the ketchup out of the bottle. This is analogous to the pounding that the heart has to perform to generate enough force to push the thick blood throughout the body.

And, this extra pounding can cause headaches and blurry vision while creating more pressure that causes injuries to the linings of the arterial walls. These wall injuries cause inflammatory and repair responses that lead to the production of various proteins and extra cholesterol to form plaque to repair the injured walls. The arterial walls become thickened (arteriosclerosis); and, if there is high homocysteine, this can lead to the formation of more plaque and blood clots (atherosclerosis).

As you can see, there are many causes of high blood pressure. In order to determine which ones are causing your high blood pressure, it is critical to have your doctor perform all the necessary blood tests and other diagnostic tests that may help to better diagnose the root cause(s) of your high blood pressure, including testing for inflammation markers such as homocysteine, C-reactive protein, lipoprotein(a), and fibrin.

When the circulatory system is working properly, it delivers water and blood throughout the body, providing nutrients to all the cells and tissues of the body. Specifically, the blood provides key nutrients to the millions of artery wall cells, which are responsible for the availability of “relaxing factors” that decrease vascular wall tension and keep the blood pressure in the normal range. These key nutrients include Omega-3 EFAs, CoQ10, water, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, magnesium, folate, and arginine.

But, when there is a chronic deficiency of these nutrients, blood viscosity can increase, the artery walls can become damaged leading to plaque formation, or the artery walls can spasm and become thickened, leading to an increase in blood pressure.  Over time, components of the circulatory system such as the blood vessels may become inflamed and damaged, leading to other health issues such as thick blood, blood clots, cold feet/hands, chronic fatigue, and erectile dysfunction. This puts additional stress on other components of the circulatory system such as the heart, which can lead to a sudden stroke or heart attack.

How to Treat High Blood Pressure Naturally
Consequently, a consistent exercise regimen, stress reduction, and a nutritional program that addresses specific nutrient deficiencies can be beneficial in preventing and reversing high blood pressure. Believe it or not, a lot of people, especially in the U.S., have high blood pressure because they either avoid "real" salt or they use the wrong kind of salt!

In general, for good heart health and lower blood pressure, avoid the processed foods, drink raw vegetable juices, and eat more green and bright-colored vegetables such as spinach, kale,  broccoli, and red peppers for the Vitamin C, chlorophyll, and other nutrients. Also, eat wild salmon, walnuts and flaxseed for the Omega-3 EFAs. Foods and nutrients such as filtered water, cayenne, celery, CoQ10, ginger, onions, and garlic nourish the cardiovascular system and help to lower your blood pressure. Refer to the wellness protocol section in Chapter 15  of the Death to Diabetes  book and the Power of Juicing ebook for more details about high blood pressure and heart health.

In addition, use spirituality, meditation, and avoid toxic relationships to reduce the stress in your life.

Refer to Chapter 13 (Body, Mind, & Spirit)  and the wellness protocol section in Chapter 15 of Death to Diabetes for more details. 

Drug Treatments for High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is commonly treated with a drug such as a diuretic, an ACE inhibitor, or a beta blocker. Unfortunately, long term use of these drugs may cause more harm than good.

Some of the drugs listed below can affect certain functions of the body, resulting in dangerous side effects. In fact, some recent studies have shown that  the predominant side effect of these drugs is kidney damage.   And, the kidneys are needed to control our blood pressure! Another side effect is erectile dysfunction in men. In addition, other studies now show that some of these drugs (i.e. beta-blockers) actually weaken the heart muscle!

Diuretics. Some of these drugs may decrease your body's supply of a mineral called potassium. Symptoms such as weakness, leg cramps or being tired may result.

Eating foods containing potassium may help prevent significant potassium loss. You could prevent potassium loss by taking a liquid or tablet that has potassium along with the diuretic, if your doctor recommends it. Diuretics such as amiloride (Midamar), spironolactone (Aldactone) or triamterene (Dyrenium) are called "potassium sparing" agents. They don’t cause the body to lose potassium. They might be prescribed alone but are usually used with another diuretic. Some of these combinations are Aldactazide, Dyazide, Maxzide or Moduretic.

But, don't take a second drug to counteract the first drug! -- eat the right foods that will lower your blood pressure without the need for the drugs!

Some people suffer from attacks of gout after prolonged treatment with diuretics. This side effect isn't common and can be managed by other treatment. This is because of hyperurecemia caused by diuretics.

In people with diabetes, diuretic drugs may increase the blood sugar level. A change in drug, diet, insulin or oral antidiabetic dosage corrects this in most cases. Your doctor can change your treatment. Most of the time the degree of increase in blood sugar isn't much. Impotence may also occur in a small percentage of people.

Beta-blockers. Acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Mepressor, Merol), nadolol (Corgard), pindolol (Visken), propranolol (Inderal) or timolol (Blocadren) may cause insomnia, cold hands and feet, tiredness or depression, a slow heartbeat or symptoms of asthma. Impotence may occur. If you have diabetes and you’re taking insulin, have your responses to therapy monitored closely.

ACE inhibitors. These drugs, such as captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Zestril or Prinivil), may cause a skin rash; loss of taste; a chronic dry, hacking cough most common side effect; and in rare instances, kidney damage.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers. These drugs may cause occasional dizziness.

Calcium channel blockers. Diltiazem (Cardizem), nicardipine (Cardene), Nifedipine (Procardia) and verapamil (Calan or Isoptin) may cause palpitations, swollen ankles edema, constipation, headache or dizziness. Side effects with each of these drugs differ a great deal.

Heart Medications. After a heart attack, certain drugs are prescribed by your cardiologist. Drugs are grouped by type or classes. If you have had a heart attack or a procedure to open or bypass a clogged heart artery (coronary artery) you are probably taking at least 2 or 3 of these drugs.
  • Beta-blockers reduce the heart's workload by blocking the stimulating effects of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. Beta-blockers lower blood pressure and protect the heart from developing dangerous heart rhythms. But, long-term use of these drugs can be dangerous.
  • ACE inhibitors block one of the body's chemical systems that raise blood pressure. to help at lowering blood pressure.
  • Aspirin helps to prevent blood clots from forming in the coronary arteries, but, may damage the inner lining of the stomach, leading to internal bleeding!
  • Anticoagulants lower the risk of blood clots in the veins of the legs and inside the chambers of the heart. Doctors prescribe anticoagulants for people who are at above-average risk for blood clots in the legs or heart.
  • Statins lower bad cholesterol (LDL), but, they do not prevent heart attacks and strokes as advertised! Over the past 20 years, the consumption of statin drugs has increased dramatically (75+ million users in the U.S.!), but heart attacks and strokes have increased over that same period of time! Read our web page about the infamous Statin Drug & Cholesterol Hoax.
  • Key Point!: If you're taking a statin drug, make sure that you take CoQ10 to protect your heart. But, make sure that the CoQ10 is not synthetic! 
  • Antibiotics help with some infections, but, some of the popular antibiotics such as the Z-Pak can cause more harm than good! In fact, death is a possibility! Be very careful and do your homework.
  • Warning: The Food and Drug Administration issued a health warning for a widely prescribed antibiotic, commonly known as 'Z-Pack' and says it could trigger potentially irregular heart rhythms in some patients. It's sold as Zithromax or Zmax, but most know it as 'Z-Pack.' It's the most widely prescribed antibiotic for bacterial infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. However, the Food and Drug Administration warns that it could be deadly for some patients with heart problems.
Please Note: There are many foods and supplements that perform the same functions of these drugs without the dangerous side effects, i.e. arginine, broccoli, cayenne pepper, celery, garlic, ginger, green tea, onions, natto, Omega-3 EFAs, CoQ10. For more details about these foods and supplements, get the Death to Diabetes book/ebook or the How to Prevent a Heart Attack/Stroke ebook.