Dealing with low blood pressure

dizziness

Since most people with blood pressure issues seem to suffer from a blood pressure that is often higher than what is considered normal, hypertension enjoys a lot more attention than hypotension, or low blood pressure. Perhaps this is also because there is an abundance of drugs that can be prescribed for high blood pressure.

For low blood pressure there are medications but their mechanism of action may be questionable.  Some work by promoting sodium retention by the kidney, thereby causing fluid retention and some swelling, which is apparently necessary to raise blood pressure. However this sodium retention also causes a loss of potassium. Others work by restricting the ability of your blood vessels to expand, which then raises blood pressure. Due to their mechanism of action one may have to remain on these drugs for life. Seems they only force blood pressure to rise while you’re taking them. 

So what is regarded as low blood pressure?

low blood pressure

If your normal systolic pressure is 90 or lower and your diastolic pressure is 60 or lower you would be diagnosed as having low blood pressure and be labelled “hypotensive”. Compared to hypertension, or high blood pressure, the risks are almost negligible and you can consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

If you can put up with the occasional light-headedness there is nothing to stop you from living a long and healthy life. However some people may feel constantly dizzy, sometimes to such an extent that they feel off-balance and in danger of falling. That can’t be fun for anyone: so action needs to be taken.


What causes low blood pressure?

The most common cause of low blood pressure is stress. Most hypotensives don’t even realise they are stressed because they suffer from “hidden” stress. However other possible causes are genes, chronic medications such as beta blockers, diuretics and some antidepressants, anemia, heart conditions and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s.

Can diet and nutrition make a difference?

You’ve heard that hypertensives should not drink coffee but you’re mistaken if you think that implies that if you are hypotensive, you can drink as much coffee as you like. Although caffeine may initially boost blood pressure levels, it has a diuretic effect, which will exacerbate the problem of low blood pressure. For the same reason alcohol on a daily basis should be avoided as it is dehydrating too.

Water increases blood volume and helps prevent dehydration, both of which are important in treating hypotension, so make sure you drink enough water during the day.

Also eat heaps of fresh fruit and vegetables so that you get an adequate supply of essential electrolytes, minerals and trace elements.

You could try using more salt and if you’re unfortunate enough to be one of those who really suffers with constant dizziness you could even drink salted water throughout the day. However rather stick to Himalayan salt for this purpose. Sodium can raise blood pressure which is a good thing for you, however it could be harmful if not balanced with other minerals and trace elements.

Supplements that may help

The B vitamins have a reputation for being “anti-stress vitamins” — able to balance mood and calm the nervous system. They don’t actually relax one, in fact they give most people more energy, so rather don’t take them after mid afternoon, or your sleep might be affected. But certainly, supplementing with B vitamins especially B5 (pantothenic acid/d-calcium pantothenate) can assist the body to cope with stress.

The Willow brand offers a comprehensive supplement aptly called Low Blood Pressure, which, among other ingredients, includes the B vitamins as well as liquorice root extract, highly recommended for low blood pressure.

Then there is Aim Composure, a combination of soothing herbs and herbal extracts that relax and calm nerves, reduce restlessness and feelings of anxiety, and promote restful sleep. By reducing stress this capsule can very effectively raise blood pressure in those who need it.

Note: Due to the efficacy of liquorice root in raising low blood pressure one needs to use this under guidance. And those with high blood pressure should avoid it altogether.

Supplements- Are they necessary?

It is gratifying to see that more and more people are realizing the need to take responsibility for their own health and are striving to prevent illness by eating healthily. Unfortunately there is a downside to this because it also means there are more people falling prey to unscrupulous profit-mongers in the food industry who are jumping on the “health food” bandwagon. Fortunately there are many dedicated natural health practitioners out there who are not shy to speak out and to warn others of the dangers of so-called “health foods”, with certain cereals, margarines, milk, fruit juices, breads, health bars, sports drinks, “lite” foods and soya products coming under fire on a regular basis. Many of the synthetic vitamins and minerals added to these “fortified” foods cannot even be absorbed by the body, thus having the potential to cause more harm than good. As for vitamin and mineral supplements, there are some that have more toxic additives in the form of fillers or binders than the nutrients they claim to provide.

Welcome to the real worldhealthy

Some people believe we can get our daily requirement of vitamins and minerals simply by eating lots of good wholesome food in its natural state. I could go along with this, if we lived in a chemical-free world and all our food was organically grown. However we live in the real world, where our diets lack nutrients we were designed to have due to the adulterated foods we eat: processed, mass-produced foods grown in mineral-depleted soils using petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides and now we can also add genetically engineered foods to the list – lucky us!

Consider this quote from U.S. Senate Document #265:

“The alarming fact is that food, fruits and vegetables and grains, now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of needed minerals, are starving us, no matter how much of them we eat.  No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health because his stomach isn’t big enough to hold them…”. This document was written in 1936!  Of course the situation is much worse today.

Food is not enough

No matter how healthy your eating habits, it’s virtually impossible to get all the nutrition you need from food alone, and that’s doubly true if you’re over 50. Apart from our food, our air and water is also tainted with thousands of chemicals that play havoc with our health. Our bodies are continuously having to clean these chemicals out and compensate for their effects, which means a greater burden is being placed on our immune systems. For this reason supplementation is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity.

Which supplements?

The variety of multivitamins on the shelves is mind-boggling and many of them should be left on the shelf where they can do no harm. My advice is: “Go Natural”. Take supplements made from whole foods. These contain a broad spectrum of nutrients, phyto-chemicals, fibre, vitamins, minerals and enzymes which will have the greatest impact because they work together in synergy. They have the greatest level of nutritional and bio-available vitality and there is no risk of over supplementation, since they are formulated from food, not synthetics. (Some people absorb less than ten percent of a synthetic supplement pill – expensive urine!). The range of whole food supplements that gets my vote is the Vibrant Health range. Their plant-based superfoods, such as Green Vibrance for adults and Super Kids Vibrance for the younger set, support the four foundations of health namely, nutrition, digestion, circulation and immunity. Having been engineered by Nature, these powders contain all the nutrients and probiotics your body needs to maintain good overall health. To a daily serving of one of these super foods simply add two See Yourself Well omega-3 softgels daily to ensure optimum immune function and prevention of disease.

As Thomas Edison once wrote: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”  

I do hope that the future he referred to is not far off.

 

 

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