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Blood Pressure

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Our doctors treat blood pressure (BP) very simply: "take these meds and don't eat salt."




Do doctors really understand the cause of high BP? Do they really know how to treat it? Or are they simply going through the motions, covering their asses just in case we die from it? And by doctors I mean the whole medical community from the Surgeon General down to your lowly ditetitian. The fact that our dietitians are on the bottom of the chain might be a topic for another discussion. Our health depends on nutrition.


So what is high BP and what should we do about it? Let's first discuss conventional wisdom.


High BP is simply high blood pressure. One cause is supposedly that the arteries become stiff and become less flexible. If they can't expand as widely, more pressure builds up. It seems plausible, but does science prove it? This study didn't http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2632754 This Mayo article suggests stifness results in low diastolic and high systolic pressures: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-06-22/health/fl-jjps-pressure-0623-20100622_1_blood-pressure-blood-loss-diastolic/2 I suppose if they can't expand, tehy can't contract. This statement from the last site is interesting. Atherosclerosis — a condition in which fat (plaque) builds up in and on artery walls — can stiffen blood vessels and have the same effect on blood pressure. A little logic tells us that if the first study is true, that stiffness doesn't really affect BP, then this last sentence is wrong. I suspect it is very wrong.


Most practitioners promote the idea that sodium in our diets is responsible for high BP. High sodium causes us to retain water which raises our BP, another plausible idea that's pushed on us hard. It makes sense except for a couple of things. First, there's very little evidence it works. Find it for me please! Second, it shoudn't work. Huh, you ask.


Our sodium levels are tightly controlled. If they weren't, we'd be dead. Too little or too much sodium will kill you. Exactly how much is not clear, but that's not the main point. The main point is that if you eat too much, you pee out the excess, and if you don't eat enough, you will retain it. Homeostasis.


Another idea is excess weight can cause it. "Lose ten percent of your body weight, and your BP will come down." I was recently told this in a diabetes education class.


My friend Dan weighs over 400 pounds. He can't be wighed at the doctors' office. They have to weigh him at truck stops. He has high blood pressure. We discussed his history: he gained about 40 pounds the previous year and his blood pressure was high before and was high then. I got him to try eating like me. His sinsulin dropped dramatically, he lost 40 pounds, and his BP was almost normal. Unfortunately he hasn`t stuck with it. He thinks boxes of Oreos are okay to eat. But it was interesting to see his BP results. At 360 pounds on the way up, he has high BP, but on the way down, he has more normal BP. It`s not the weight. In my case, I`m still overweight by some 40lbs. Yesterday I tested at 105é59 after a day in the garden. I`m pretty sure it`s not the weight causing high BP.


I highly suspect -- of course I don't really know these things -- that atheroclerosis, excess weight, diabetes, and high BP are symptoms of the same cause. We discuss this cause all the time. I think it causes most of our diabetes troubles and probably most of our western diseases. I think our medical community is guilty of making false assumptions about cause and effect. Of course I'm talking about high sugar consumption. Sugar (all carbs and half of protein) consumption causes higher insulin levels. Gary Taubes asserts that high insulin causes the kidneys to retain salt. When you retain more salt, you retain more water and your BP rises. You will see a criticism of the Atkins Diet: "It`s all water loss. It`s not really fat loss, and it`s not healthy!" But your BP dropped. Hello? Your BP dropped!


Cut the sugar, elimate atherogenic LDLs, lose the weight, lower your BP, become more active as you stop feeding your fat, and basically get healthy.

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