In the weeks before Thanksgiving, the American Heart Association released new blood pressure guidelines, which significantly changed the percentage of people now classified as having high blood pressure (aka, hypertension). That is, the standards issued in 1993 of 140 over 90 mmHG as the normal blood pressure was changed to 130 over 80mmHg. This single move now means that 59 percent of African-American men are classified as having hypertension (up from 42%) along with 47 percent of white men.
These new blood pressure guidelines can be viewed as a call to action, encouraging men to take steps to identify their blood pressure and then do what it takes to bring it down. After all, the benefits are clear: with heart disease being the number one killer of men in the United States and hypertension being a significant contributing factor, every man should be taking a serious look at their lifestyle.
Yes, lifestyle. Although there are many prescription medications one can take for controlling high blood pressure, it is largely a condition associated with factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, and smoking. Make lifestyle modifications and you will lower your blood pressure (and experience many other health benefits as well).
It is possible to safely bring your blood pressure down without medication, but you should discuss your plans with your physician. Men who have very high blood pressure may need to adopt a combination plan (meds and lifestyle) and work toward eliminating the drugs under the guidance of their doctor.
Part of the strategy when controlling blood pressure naturally is to restore your sensitivity to insulin and a hormone called leptin. Hypertension is associated with insulin resistance and insulin is necessary to store magnesium. This mineral helps your muscles relax and thus helps facilitate opening of blood vessels and optimal blood flow. Elevated leptin levels are associated with high blood pressure and obesity.
Generally, the most sensitive your body is to these two hormones, the more likely your body will efficiently utilize the food you eat, which in turn will improve insulin resistance, create muscle, and promote weight loss.
According to Joseph Mercola, ND, the best ways to restore sensitivity to insulin and leptin are by:
Here are several other natural ways to lower blood pressure.
The new gold standard for measuring hypertension is through the measurement of the central pressures which the heart, brain, and kidney’s actually experience which is, in almost all cases if elevated, a measure of systemic arterial stiffness. Currently adopted by specialists including cardiologists and research institutions, the SphygmoCor® system is being expanded into use by more and more health and naturopathic professionals.
American Heart Association. More than half of all African-Americans have high blood pressure under new diagnostic guidelines. 2017 Nov 14
Mercola.com. Blood pressure testing is mostly inaccurate. 2017 Aug 9
Simonds SE et al. Leptin mediates the increase in blood pressure associated with obesity. Cell 2014 Dec 4; 159(6): 1404-16