High blood pressure is one of the most-loved conditions by the pharmaceutical industry. Hypertension medications come in as top sellers, second only to cholesterol drugs.
And as people’s awareness of high blood pressure grows, the guidelines of recommended blood pressure go down. Twenty years ago it used to be 140/90, now it’s 120/80 and many doctors even want to lower it to 110/75.
I frequently receive questions from readers asking exactly why high blood pressure is considered so dangerous, why the numbers keep on changing, and frankly if this is all one big scam to for big pharma to make money.
So in today’s feature article I’ll attempt to answer these questions based on real scientific facts as well as personal observations made throughout the years. I hope you’ll join me in the discussion in the comment section at the end of the article.
The World Health Organization recently gave high blood pressure the questionable honor of being the disease that causes most deaths in the world.
This is very interesting because, unlike cancer, for example, that directly eats up organs, high blood pressure actually doesn’t kill anyone directly.
In fact high blood pressure has absolutely no obvious symptoms. You can have it for years, even decades and feel just great. All studies on dangers of high blood pressure are based on long-term effects it may have to set the stage for other diseases and symptoms.
What high blood pressure does is put extra strain/pressure on your arteries. To deal with the extra pressure, the arteries have to thicken their walls. This makes them less flexible. So when the extra pressure continues, cracks begin to from. To repair the cracks, your body fills them up with plaque – cholesterol for example.
This buildup and hardening of the arteries makes them narrower and less blood is delivered to the organs where the block is located. Although high blood pressure is most often associated with heart attack and stroke, these kinds of blockages can form anywhere in the body. Erectile dysfunction is, for example, often caused partly by the narrowing of the arteries running to the genitals.
This causes a weakening of the organs with the narrowed arteries. You might have shortness of breath if the heart is affected; dizziness, vertigo and fogy thinking if the brain is effected. Long term restrictions of blood flow (even minor) contribute to Alzheimer’s.
But death or other obvious symptoms don’t happen till the plaque buildup in the arteries comes loose for whatever reason and lodges into even narrower parts of the organ completely blocking these arteries. This happens with both stroke and heart attack.
I believe doctors have to keep things in perspective and consider how slow this process really is. If a patient in their seventies comes in and has only recently developed high blood pressure, I would not consider that very serious. Most of us don’t expect to live much longer than mid-eighties anyway. Lifestyle improvements are, of course, always recommended- but side effects of medications can cause more harm than benefit.
However, if you develop high blood pressure in your forties of fifties, you may want to think about ten years ahead and where you will be then.
Whatever age you’re at when your blood pressure begins rising, you should look at it as a warning sign that something is going wrong and lifestyle changes will be beneficial to your health. I’ll come back to this point in a bit.
But first let’s look at the actual guidelines.
Where in the world did doctors come up with the 120/80 guidelines and why are the numbers constantly going down? Why do some doctors want to lower the numbers to 110/75, whereas others are comfortable seeing 130/90?
Well, these numbers are based on pretty extensive, long-term studies on high blood pressure and the risk of developing heart attack and stroke as well as dying within a specific age range. With new technology, scientists can actually measure blood pressure and compare the thickness of the arterial walls as well.
What these studies have revealed is that the risk of heart attack and stroke begins to rise at 110/75 and becomes sharper the higher the blood pressure goes. So this is kind of a risk management. Put otherwise, balancing how far you are ready to go to bring your blood pressure down in exchange for lowering your risk of heart attack.
Here again, however, you have to apply your common sense. Big pharma selling their medications would like all and everyone with even the slightest rise to take drugs. That’s how they make their money. You, however, have to evaluate the risk vs. suffering side effects and cost.
One thing to keep in mind is that although cardiovascular related diseases are the most common cause of death in the Western world, most of these deaths happen after the age of 75, even 85. So the main risk factor is actually growing old. Doubling your risk of heart attack and stroke means something very different in your forties or fifties than eighties.
Furthermore, although high blood pressure medications lower blood pressure, there has been no reliable study that links these medications to lower risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack or improving health in any way. But there are numerous studies showing that they cause serious side effects.
Which leads us to the point I’m most concerned about:
If your blood pressure is going up, there is something causing it to go up. Your body and mind are very advanced tools and they won’t raise your blood pressure without just cause.
And from all the studies I’ve read, as well as personal experience and working with literally thousands of people, I’ve found ONE and only ONE major underlying cause for serious increases in blood pressure.
And it’s not genes. Scientists have not found any gene or combination of genes that count for more than 3-5 points rise in systolic blood pressure. This is not enough to cause hypertension for an otherwise healthy person.
No. The main cause for high blood pressure is stress. And I’m not only talking emotional stress but also physical, mental and sensory stress.
If you’re tackling difficult mental challenges, your blood pressure goes up (mental stress). If you run 100 feet full speed, have back pain, or eat unhealthy food it will also go up (physical stress). You’ll also see increases when you have a big disagreement or fight with your spouse or boss (emotional stress) or are in a crowded street full of people and traffic noise (sensory stress). All this is normal.
The danger is when this normal rise in blood pressure caused by normal stress transfers into chronic high blood pressure. This happens when the increased blood pressure becomes the norm and lower blood pressure feels somewhat uncomfortable for your system.
This is the underlying cause of ALL hypertension in one way or another.
The most effective method I’ve used and seen work for almost every client I’ve worked with are simple exercises that reboot your system to bring the normal blood pressure down below 120/80. These exercises take only a few minutes per day and have been proven to actually reverse the hardening of the arteries as well as other not-so-obvious symptoms of high blood pressure.
You can learn more about these simple, easy blood pressure exercises here…
But first, what do you think? Please leave your comment below.