In 1996/1997 it was estimated that about 1.4 million Canadian men and 1.8 million Canadian women have high blood pressure. 35% may go undiagnosed. High blood pressure can cause stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and aneurysm. It may be associated with insulin resistance/diabetes, obesity, dietary factors, stress and emotional factors, genetics, age, kidney problems, adrenal problems, vitamin D levels, taking certain drugs and exposure to heavy metals among other things. Evaluation to determine the possible cause may allow for discontinuation of medicine.
Testing may include:
- Testing for Essential Fatty Acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are associated with lower risks of coronary heart disease and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease. This blood test identifies if there is any fatty acid imbalances in the system and if there is any inflammation. It also determines if there are excess carbohydrates being consumed. The test allows us to customize the dose of essential fatty acids such as DHA or EPA, which is found in fish oils. Often patients are taking a dose that is far too low to have effect on reducing CHD.
- Salivary cortisol levels can be performed to determine an adrenal cause to hypertension.
- Vitamin D. Low levels cause increased renin which elevates blood pressure.
- Kidney function testing.
- Glucose Tolerance Test and measurement of insulin resistance using the HOMA method determine if blood sugars may be causing hypertension.
- Heavy Metal Analysis. Heavy metals can cause elevated blood pressure. Patients are often surprised to find mercury or lead or other metals in their system. Proper testing using provocative heavy metal testing is the gold standard for determination of heavy metal toxicity. Removing the metals using oral chelation removes metals and can relieve hypertension in those with elevated metals.
- Adrenal function testing. Salivary cortisol levels can be performed to determine an adrenal cause to hypertension.
Many of my patients don’t wish to take commonly prescribed drugs such as Altace, Diovan, Lopressor, Norvasc, Adalat and Avalide. These drugs can cause unwanted side-effects including fatigue, sexual dysfunction and chronic cough. From my experience, natural medicines often produce “side-benefits”, that is, beneficial effects of taking the medicine that weren’t expected. For example, my patients may say that their constipation has cleared or their joint pain has gone away. This is not to say that all natural medicines are always safe, but it is far less common to get side-effects from natural medicines than from prescription meds.
Some treatment options include:
- Nutritional support including dietary counselling, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
- Herbal medicine. I use a custom formula for hypertension that includes hawthorne, mistletoe and dandelion as a natural diuretic.
- Myer’s push. Some of my patients experience a reduction in their high blood pressure following a Myer’s push perhaps due to an increase in magnesium concentration in myocardial cells which generally exhibit a 10 times greater concentration of magnesium than the extracellular concentration. IV magnesium also causes vasodilation to occur which can drop blood pressure.
- Oral chelation therapy. To rid the body of heavy metals. The use of DMSA chelates or binds metals that are stored in tissues and rids them from the body, effectively removing agents that can contribute to hypertension.
- SomatoEmotional Release for hypertension caused by emotional tension.
- Dietary couselling to reduce high blood pressure.