by Dr. Randy
Like many other disease processes associated with inflammation, heart problems can be prevented. A simple plan that addresses inflammation is often the answer. Gradual increases in blood pressure readings may be the first warning signs that inflammation is occurring.
The most common cause of high blood pressure is damage to artery walls and repair with plaque buildup. The damage is caused by free radicals and an inflammatory reaction. Free radicals are generated by toxic products in the environment (like pollutants) or in foods (like pesticides). Free radicals strip electrons from cells in the body in a process called oxidation. The cells are then damaged and become nonfunctional. In the artery wall, this damage is like a burn that the body repairs with plaque. This repair process narrows the artery, blood pressure rises, and the artery is in danger of not delivering blood supply to sensitive organs like the heart muscle or the brain. The result can be heart attacks or strokes.
Although cholesterol is the main component of plaque in the artery, an elevated cholesterol level in the blood is not the cause of the plaques. “High” cholesterol is not the cause of heart attacks, and lowering cholesterol levels does not prevent heart attacks. In fact eating the right saturated fats is important in maintaining health. This may involve including eggs, butter, and coconut oil in the diet along with meats free of hormones and pesticides.
Avoid chemicals that cause free radical formation. Use natural cleaning products in your home that are free of petrochemicals. Avoid pesticides in foods as much as possible. Unfortunately, everyone is exposed to petrochemicals in the form of gasoline and oil products and pesticides used outdoors.
Exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, and get out into nature. All of these prevent inflammation.
A prevention program will also include antioxidant supplements that scavenge free radicals. Glutathione is the body’s own potent antioxidant. As we age we produce less glutathione, but the amino acid cysteine is a building block of glutathione. Take n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), at least 500 mg a few days a week. Other great antioxidants include resveratrol, acetyl l carnitine, astaxanthin, and CoQ10, which is specifically beneficial for the heart and arteries. Be cautious about taking too many antioxidants. The body needs to develop a certain amount of inflammation in order to ward off invaders. You may want to alternate the antioxidants you take on a weekly basis.
Take fish oil, which contains EPA, a profound anti-inflammatory fatty acid. A daily dose of 1,000-2,000 mg of EPA is best. And finally turmeric (curcumin) is a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, either in cooking or as a supplement. The most readily absorbed curcumin supplements are by Curcum-evail by Designs for Health and Theracurmin.
Holistic treatment of high blood pressure and other forms of cardiovascular disease includes lifestyle changes and natural supplements. Most of the preventive measures discussed above are also appropriate in a treatment plan. In addition, Chinese herbal medicine provides specific formulas for the treatment of high blood pressure. A combination of one of these specific formulas along with constitutional treatment using herbs and/or homeopathy rounds out a treatment program. If other illness patterns are present such as metabolic syndrome with elevated blood sugar levels and weight problems, then specific treatment that includes those issues will be necessary.
Exercise to maintain adequate circulation and oxygen transport. Practice some form of meditation, yoga, or conscious relaxation to counteract the stress reactions of the sympathetic nervous system. And maintain a whole foods diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, free of refined sugar, processed foods, and toxic chemicals. Other health-promoting practices include frequent exposure to nature, humor and laughter, and the cultivation of loving kindness in relationships.
A holistic plan that is individualized for the specific set of symptoms and dynamics in your body will help to maintain a high level of health and prevent the cascade of diseases that characterize aging.