Hypertension, Risk and Treatment

Hypertension, Risk and Treatment

Dr. Kennedy
Many people have a problem with high blood pressure, aka hypertension (abbreviated HTN). In fact, one out of three Americans have this serious health problem. Only a small percentage are being treated and an even smaller percentage are being treated adequately. HTN poses a grave risk for stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease, and these can occur at any age. I can promise you that either you have HTN or someone you love has it.

The natural treatments for hypertension are the following:

  • daily aerobic exercise
  • no table salt
  • low fat diet
  • adequate rest
  • stress reduction
  • potassium supplementation at 100 mg. daily

    If these are not enough to bring down blood pressure, medical intervention is required and medication must be adjusted until blood pressure is consistently normal.

    Frequent monitoring is advised, especially in people with a family history of HTN, stroke, or heart attack. Very often there are no symptoms of HTN and for that reason HTN is called the “silent killer.”

    I believe everyone should own a blood pressure apparatus and use it at least once per week. If HTN is present, it should be measured and recorded several times daily until under good control and then every few days at least. Blood pressure equipment can be had for $50-$100 and usually last for many years.

    Doctors commonly make a couple mistakes. First they often do not monitor their patients’ blood pressures adequately, simply prescribing a medication and saying “bon voyage.” Second, they neglect to educate their patients to monitor their own blood pressures. Third, they take the blood pressure under unnatural conditions, for example lying down relaxing. That is OK if you spend your life lying down and relaxing, but if you are up and around that kind of measurement tells you nothing useful about real life.

    Just as important as blood pressure is pulse rate. 60-70 per minute is normal and ideal, however few people have that pulse rate. The average is about 85. The higher the pulse rate, the less conditioned is the heart. A well conditioned heart does not have to work so hard or fast to get the job done. Cardiologist believe that all other factors being equal, a heart is genetically endowed with a finite number of beats before it quits. If you are going at only 10 extra beats per minute, that comes out to 5,256,000 extra beats per year (do the math). It is easy to imagine that this wears out the heart prematurely.

    As age progresses past 50 the heart typically accelerates, even if well conditioned. Apparently that is one of nature’s techniques for getting rid of us and making room for the next generations. There are excellent medications now available to slow the heart and prevent early burn-out.

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