What Causes Hypertension?
One of the primary underlying causes of high blood pressure – hypertension is related to your body producing too much insulin and leptin in response to a high-carbohydrate and processed food diet.
As it turns out, by eliminating excess sugar/fructose from your diet, you can address all three issues in one fell swoop. Other treatment strategies that I’ll discuss below also tend to have this effect. But first, let’s review some of the basics of what high blood pressure is, how to assess obesity-related hypertension risk.
How’s Your Blood Pressure?
There are two numbers given in a blood pressure reading. The upper or first number is your systolic blood pressure reading. The lower or second number is your diastolic pressure.
Example: 120 / 80 = 120 systolic arterial pressure and 80 diastolic arterial pressure.
Your systolic pressure is the highest pressure in your arteries. It occurs when your ventricles contract at the beginning of your cardiac cycle. Diastolic pressure refers to the lowest arterial pressure, and occurs during the resting phase of your cardiac cycle.
Ideally, your blood pressure should be about 120/80 without medication. If you’re over the age of 60, your systolic pressure is the most important cardiovascular risk factor. If you’re under 60 and have no other major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, your diastolic pressure is believed to be a more important risk factor.
How to Avoid a False Hypertension Diagnosis?
To avoid a false hypertension diagnosis, keep in mind that your blood pressure reading can vary significantly from day to day, and even from one hour to the next, so don’t overreact if you get one high reading here or there. It’s when your blood pressure remains consistently or chronically elevated that significant health problems can occur. The following variables can also affect the validity of your blood pressure reading:
1. Incorrect blood pressure cuff size: If you’re overweight, taking your reading with a size “average” blood pressure cuff can lead to a falsely elevated blood pressure reading, so make sure your doctor or health care professional is using the right size cuff for your arm.
2. Incorrect arm position: If your blood pressure is taken while your arm is parallel to your body, your reading can be up to 10 percent higher than it really is. Blood pressure readings should always be taken with your arm at a right angle to your body.
3. Nervousness: “White coat hypertension” is a term used for when a high blood pressure reading is caused by the stress or fear associated with a doctor or hospital visit. This can be a transient yet serious concern. If this applies to you, stress reduction is key. Below, I will address stress reduction, and provide a technique that can help you control stress that may be contributing to high blood pressure.
Also, to decrease your risk of being falsely diagnosed with hypertension in this situation, take a moment to calm down (be sure to arrive for your appointment ahead of time so you can unwind), then breathe deeply and relax when you’re getting your blood pressure taken.
Five Key Lifestyle Strategies for Lowering Your Blood Pressure
Alright, time to get down to the nitty gritty of normalizing your blood pressure. As mentioned earlier, high blood pressure is typically associated with insulin resistance, which results from eating a diet too high in sugar. As your insulin level elevates, so does your blood pressure.
Now, if you think about these two factors alone—insulin resistance and atherosclerosis — what kind of diet is bound to produce high blood pressure? The answer, of course, is a processed food diet, loaded with carbohydrates (sugar/fructose/grains) and trans fat. Knowing that, the answer to correcting high blood pressure becomes rather self-evident. If your blood pressure is running high, you need to restore your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and the following five strategies are among the most effective for doing so:
1. Avoiding processed foods (due to their being high in sugar/fructose, grains, trans fat, and other damaged fats)
2. Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways found to normalize your insulin/leptin sensitivity. It’s not a diet in conventional terms. But rather, a way of scheduling your eating in such a way as to promote efficient energy use. Essentially, intermittent fasting means eating your calories during a specific window of the day. Also, choosing not to eat food during the rest. When you eat, your body reacts by elevating insulin and leptin.
3. Making whole, ideally organic foods the focus of your diet.
4. Swapping carbs for healthy fat. Sources of healthy fats to add to your diet include.
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This article was culled from Mercola