Health Biomarkers Series: Blood Pressure

Posted on 10/17/2013 by Dr. Adrian den Boer
Categories: Blood pressure, Health biomarker, heart disease, inflammation, stress

As one of the more common and inexpensive health measurements at the doctor’s office, blood pressure does not get the attention it deserves. In fact, this simple measurement can be an indicator of several health conditions!
To begin, it’s important to first understand the two blood pressure measurements:

1) Systolic – This is the upper number of the measurement, and is based on the pressure that occurs with heart contractions.
2) Diastolic – This is the lower number, and is based on the relaxation of the heart.

Ideally, adults should have a blood pressure measurement of 110/70. A measurement of 120/80 can transgress into a slightly elevated blood pressure.
The Proper Way to Measure Blood Pressure
Interestingly enough, most doctor’s offices do not accurately assess blood pressure. The best and most accurate way to measure blood pressure includes the following steps:
1) The patient must be sitting for at least 5 – 15 minutes prior to the measurement.
2) The patient should be fully relaxed with his or her back to a chair.
3) The blood pressure cuff MUST be at heart height. Hardly any health professional does this, and it is so, so important!
4) No caffeine should be consumed, no intense exercise should be completed a day prior, and the patient should have an empty bladder.
5) The patient should be well-hydrated and refrain from smoking.
6) After having blood pressure taken while sitting, the doctor should have the patient stand up and take another reading. Ideally, blood pressure should go up six points on both systolic and diastolic measurements for 30 seconds. This indicates proper adrenal response. If blood pressure drops upon standing, it indicates low adrenal response, which can involve blood sugar regulation issues, lack of proper stress management, and/or adrenal fatigue.
The Importance of Blood Pressure
Meanwhile, the blood pressure measurement is so important, because it is a primary indicator for cardiovascular risk, including strokes.  It also gives a hint on the overall health of the patient in relation to stress and inflammation.
When an elevated measurement occurs, it’s important to figure out why blood pressure is elevated. In other words, the elevated blood pressure should not be treated itself; the reason causing the elevation should be treated.
While it’s okay to take pharmaceutical drugs as a bridge to bring blood pressure lower, it doesn’t mean it is the answer to the problem. We still have to figure out the “why.” After all, these drugs are mitochondrial poisons, hard on the kidneys and liver, and cause an increase in moods, weight, fatigue, and insulin resistance. If possible, they should not be used long-term.
Treating Elevated Blood Pressure Naturally
When a patient comes in with high blood pressure, 50% of my cases can be solved by fixing two problems: Dehydration and walking.
The next thing that I assess is insulin resistance, and between these three things, about 90% of my patients’ blood pressure readings return to normal. If these three things do not solve the problem, I assess heart and kidney function, the condition of the arteries, stress levels, and the overall state of inflammation.
Exercise, proper hydration, stress management, and minimal sugar intake are all very important players in achieving a healthy blood pressure as well. For more complicated cases, see your DBC doctor or other functional medicine practitioner.
Note: In the event of lower-than-normal blood pressure, or hypotension, it is typically not life threatening and mostly due to thyroid issues, electrolyte imbalance, and/or depression. This needs to be addressed as well.
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