By Christine Carey
What is the difference between high blood pressure and hypertension?
If you are in good health, your blood pressure will fluctuate during the day, depending on your stress level, how much caffeine you have had or whether you are exerting yourself.
Measuring your blood pressure when you have just heard that your house has been burgled, or after you have had three double espressos will show that you have high blood pressure. That scenario is not necessarily dangerous. When your blood pressure stays elevated for prolonged periods is when you may experience detrimental health consequences.
When your blood pressure stays elevated for a long time, you have hypertension. A number of factors can contribute to this: smoking, drinking too much, obesity and high salt intake. Another factor is heredity: you may simply have inherited hypertension.
A lifestyle disorder
Hypertension is listed in the top five causes of death in the Bahamas.
The term “lifestyle disorder” had to be invented to describe hypertension. Diet, sleep, exercise, work and stress are all causes and factors that can be implicated. Many people do not recognise the signs of hypertension in time to recreate their habits to prevent medium to long term medication use.
There are a number of drugs that are being prescribed to control high blood pressure, and sometimes there is no other alternative than to take one of them. It is important to consult with your physician and follow his/her recommended treatment. But there are many side effects to these drugs, including fatigue, depression and impotence in male patients. And the higher your blood pressure, the higher the dose you will have possibly causing you to suffer more side effects.
Holistic healthcare measures can be very helpful in controlling elevated blood pressure, perhaps even allowing you to reduce your medication and its side effects. I am not advocating that you should stop taking your prescribed medication. Once you consult with your doctor you might want to consider a holistic approach to reducing it. Your doctor may decide to lower your medication initially and monitor your progress to see if a different approach works for you.
Steps to holistically treat hypertension
Reduce your weight if you are overweight.
Consider a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet. Vegetarians show very little signs of hypertension. You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but adding more vegetables and complex carbohydrates to your diet as well as reducing your sodium intake will help reduce your blood pressure.
Reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake.
Lower your fat intake.
Start an exercise programme. Even half an hour of exercise can significantly impact your hypertension.
Add meditation or yoga to your daily routine.
Get a massage. Therapeutic massage can provide an important component to overall well-being by promoting better sleep, improving concentration, and reducing anxiety.
Drink celery juice. Studies show that drinking celery juice daily decreases blood pressure as much or more than high blood pressure medication.
Do not smoke.
Consider naturopathy as a way of life. Naturopathy focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathy relies on a variety of techniques which include relaxation therapy, counselling and psychotherapy, herbal medicine, nutrition counselling, physical therapy and homeopathy.
A key perspective of holistic healing is that when creating a treatment for illness, the practitioner investigates the physical, emotional and thought conditions of that individual. It is an ancient understanding that we are body, mind and spirit. In addition to treating the physical manifestation of illness, one ought to explore past emotional experiences, stress levels and feelings of dissatisfaction in different areas of their life. This is a complimentary approach used to attain lasting health.
• All health content in this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Christine Carey is a certified holistic health and life coach (www.christine-carey.com), partner at Liquid Nutrition (www.liquidnutrition.com) and director of Corporate Wellness at 242 Consulting (www.242consulting.com). With over ten years of coaching experience, Ms Carey works with individuals and groups to assess and define their diet and lifestyle goals. She focuses on increasing knowledge, implementing new habits and creating personalised tools for success.