Dear readers, I hope you are all doing well or are accepting the journey to becoming well. I wanted to write about blood pressure with a different take on a very large subject.
When a healthcare provider puts a blood pressure cuff around your arm and places the stethoscope in the crook of your elbow, they are listening for the turbulence in your artery. As the cuff is pumped up and the pressure is felt we all listen for the sound (beat) to become silent. Whatever pressure the cuff exerts to stop the flow of sound/blood gives us the first and highest number known as systole. That number represents the pressure the arteries have when the heart beats. Then the pressure is slowly released in the cuff, which will first bring the sound back, and on until the sound is gone. When the sound is not first heard that is the lower and second number which is called the diastole. This number defines the resting pressure in the arteries.
Hypertension is diagnosed when the numbers are over 130/90. In order to be diagnosed you must have 3 different readings above 130/90, on 3 different occasions. Hypertension or high blood pressure is really not a diagnosis but more of a finding. A diagnosis is a definition of a set of patterns, finding, or a cluster of data points that can be summed up into a word that defines a patient’s state of health. A finding is a discernible symptom or observable sign that does not define one’s state of health, however is used to help discern a diagnosis. Generally all practitioners will have their own opinions as to the importance of the numbers most feel that the diastole is the most important. In addition, all physicians usually will consider all the other factors in their patients care beyond their blood pressure.
What I feel is the most important idea to get out of my blog is that our blood pressure is a finding and not a diagnoses or disease.
For example, let us use the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). A patient will get the diagnosis of RA when they have a cluster of findings, such as: swollen finger joints in both hand and/or feet, stiffness of many joints, nodules in the above joints, RH factors in the blood tests and HLAB27 in the blood test. The findings are the observable signs and symptoms that allow a physician to make a diagnosis. The question is how you can find what your body needs so it can fix its own symptoms. We all live inside the most elegant and most remarkable living machine that will always start to fix itself.
The key is finding what these intelligent living machines need to continue the necessary steps- where it will no longer need the symptoms (the things we do not like it to do) to get our everyday attention.
When I was researching for this blog I found that the numbers that make a physician diagnose high blood pressure has changed. Before 1980 normal blood pressure was based on 100 + patient’s age and the lower number 90 or below. I am 51, therefore, my blood pressure could be as high as 151/90 and I would be deemed fine. The 120/80 cut off line was really stressed around 2003. More recently the new numbers may be lower causing some physicians to question the relevance of research to the health of their patient. There are movements suggesting the newer numbers are too low and are forcing physicians to rely more on pharmaceuticals. Some suspect that these numbers are not designed as beneficial to patients but instead, beneficial to the pharmaceutical industry.
So, let me wrap this up! There are many studies showing that as blood pressure numbers rise, there are greater frequencies of strokes and heart disease. This is slightly misleading because high blood pressure is now assumed to be a diagnosis of heart disease. In fact if you have hypertension, high cholesterol, high LDL’s, tachycardia, atrial fibrillation etc., you can be diagnosed with heart disease even though you have not had a heart attack or chest pain. When you change the criteria the associations have changed. The take home is hypertension is a finding that should be investigated for the cause of it, then to try to eradicate it with meds. Lifestyle changes are a must and a great start-such as light exercise, diet changes and relaxation techniques. There are many avenues for you to try, in addition to having a treating physician, you should try the following: walking, look into food allergies or intolerances, chiropractic care, acupuncture, personal trainers, massage, having a kept diet, a paleo diet, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, laugh as much as possible, be around the people you love, Las Vegas, CBDs, yoga, fishing, hunting, bowling, generally doing the things you love to do.
Take a chance and start getting the blood pressure where you want it.