|High Blood Pressure – Its Causes and How to Treat It Naturally
by Dr. Sajid Ali, DNM
High blood pressure (HBP) is often a misunderstood condition that people talk about in terms of numbers. It is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. This article outlines the mechanics of blood pressure and the idea that there is not just one ideal measurement. The various influences are described, as well as how certain herbs can treat them under a health practitioner’s direction.
The Main Culprits of HBP: Cholesterol, Excess Calcium, Chronic Stress
Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure of blood against the walls of your blood vessels, or arteries. The heart pumps blood through the arteries, delivering nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and organs; veins take blood back to the heart and lungs, completing the cycle.
HBP arises when there is a narrowing of the blood vessels. This can be caused by bad cholesterol, which along with fatty substances, gives rise to arterial plaques, or by calcification of the vessels, or through stress-induced constrictions.
When Good Cholesterol Goes Bad
Lining the blood vessels is a critical layer of cells called endothelium which separates the blood from other aspects of the blood vessel wall; the walls contain smooth muscles which provide elasticity to the arteries. These cells become fractured and damaged when blood pressure causes stresses and strains. Below the endothelium, bad cholesterol can sometimes enter or get trapped.
Fatty deposits join up with the cholesterol that begins to grow and eventually gets into the blood stream and causes a clot. It can cause an eventual heart attack if it occurs in the coronary vessel, or a stroke if it occurs in the brain.
In cases where there is not sufficient vitamin K in the vessel walls, a protein known as MGP remains inactive and is secreted by the vascular smooth muscle cells. It is then unable to protect the shedding membrane particles. Calcium and phosphate, in turn, can bind calcium crystals in these cell membranes and vascular calcification begins. Next, these crystals bind more calcium phosphate crystals, creating even larger calcification masses within the vessel wall, again leading to blood vessel constriction.
Parathyroid glands regulate the calcium level in our bodies. The over-activity of one or more of the glands can lead to a potentially serious calcium imbalance, resulting in arterial calcification, or atherosclerosis.
Studies suggest close links between stress, brain over-activity, and the beginnings of hypertension. The chronically-stressed body, due to deeply rooted emotional or psychological issues, continuously remains in a “fight or flight” state, characterized by constricting systemic blood vessels, increasing heart rate, breathing, alertness, and muscle response. Epinephrine induces sustained hypertension.
Measuring Up—What is a “Normal” BP Reading?
Blood pressure is measured in two numbers, the higher number (120 mmhg) is a systolic pressure, generated when the heart contracts, and the lower number (80 mmhg) is a diastolic pressure which is residual pressure at the end of the cardiac circulation.
Generally speaking, the lower your blood pressure, the better it is for your health. While 120/80 is regarded as “the norm,” variations are found according to people’s biological type, each having its own “set point.” For example, those tending toward obesity, with cholesterol build up, may measure closer to 140/90; a second type, more prone to hyperthyroidism, may appear fit but tends to have calcification of the arteries and will have readings of 150/100, as their set point, or may even, if quite thin in appearance (athletic build) have readings of 90/60, normal for their type. As soon as the individual goes above or below their set point, the biological system tries to bring their blood pressure back to that set point.
Treating the Three Key Dimensions of HBP
HBP can be treated naturally by alleviating the above-mentioned root causes, for example, calming the nervous system, resulting in a slower heart rate and vasodilatation, removing arterial plaque and bad cholesterol, and decalcifying the blood vessels.
I seek to calm the nervous system using herbs, helping reduce the signals which cause the heart to vigourously constrict. I use a range of organic herbs that I source and compound myself, including lemon balm, passionflower, and rhodiola, to name a few.
Next, I may use a type of blocking agent to diminish the effects of adrenaline, allowing the heart to beat more slowly with less force, thus reducing blood pressure. The herbs also gently open up blood vessels to improve blood flow. Examples of herbs used in this process include hawthorn berry, astragulus, and arjuna terminallia.
Then begins the clean-up. Again, using herbs, I cleanse the arteries of plaque and cholesterol. I use effective herbs such as piper longum, gugul, and garlic, and the “bad” cholesterol is dissolved and expelled through urination.
I have observed that cleanup depends a lot on the body type of the patient. High metabolism-types—those whose hormonal activity contributes to bone re-absorption, leading to excess serum calcium and ultimate arterial calcification—can be regulated by the patient’s oral intake of vitamin K, D, and magnesium.
In my treatment plan, dosage is according to your body type, lifestyle, and other factors. I monitor you throughout your treatment (estimated at three months on average when your body will become in balance), and we then need only see each other for occasional monitoring. I have successfully helped hundreds of patients, from all ages, return to their normal blood pressure levels and worry-free lifestyles.
Dr. Ali, Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM), specializes in natural medicine and integrative microscopy. Knowledgeable in both Eastern and Western medicine, he has a doctorate in alternative medicine, a doctorate in the homeopathic medical system, a diploma in naturopathy, and a bachelor’s degree from Shifa College of Medicine in Pakistan. He draws on his extensive experience in assessment, prevention, and treatment. In addition, Dr. Ali is guided by a philosophy of helping others and has an unrelenting determination to see his patients reclaim their health. Appointments can be booked with him at Symmetry Therapeutics, Bay 1–3000 Diefenbaker Dr., Saskatoon, SK S7L 7K2, 306-978-2233, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, see the colour display ad on page 19 of the 19.3 September/October issue of the WHOLifE Journal.