Tag Archives: blood pressure

Do you know what your blood pressure is? The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages everyone to know his or her key markers for heart health, which includes blood pressure. This has become increasingly important in the last few weeks as the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the AHA, along with nine other health professional organizations and a panel of 21 scientists and health experts, have developed new blood pressure guidelines for the first time since 2003.

The new Blood pressure categories are as follows:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120.

The top number of the measurement (systolic) indicates the amount of pressure against artery walls when the heart contracts, while the bottom number (diastolic) refers to the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.

The 2003 guidelines considered Stage 1 hypertension to be equal to or greater than 140/90, whereas now Stage 1 is measured as 130/80 or greater. Those who were previously diagnosed with pre-hypertension are now labeled as having elevated blood pressure.  This change will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population (about 46 percent) having high blood pressure, with the greatest impact expected among younger people. Additionally, the prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under age 45, according to the guideline authors.

 

Why were the guidelines changed?

One reason for this change was that those who were previously diagnosed with pre-hypertension were at double the risk for a heart attack compared to someone with normal blood pressure. The new blood pressure classifications will allow clinicians to offer an earlier intervention, in the hopes of reducing the risks for cardiac events.

The new guidelines remind us that high blood pressure, in general, is not something we should ignore. It’s a major risk factor for heart disease, second perhaps only to smoking. However, most people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. The guidelines aim to aid in not only the prevention, but also in the early treatment of hypertension, in order to overcome this public health challenge.

Despite the alarming number of people who will now be labeled hypertensive, almost none of the newly labeled hypertensive people (those with systolic blood pressure between 130 and 140) should be placed on medications., Fortunately, most doctors will consider advising lifestyle changes, especially a low sodium diet and adequate exercise.

The Paleo Diet would be a more logical approach than a low sodium version of the modern diet for anyone seeking to lower high blood pressure or to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

 

Benefits of The Paleo Diet for Healthy Blood Pressure

Although The Paleo Diet is naturally low in sodium, it offers further benefits to achieving a healthy blood pressure. The Paleo Diet is higher in potassium, which has been linked to lower blood pressures. Potassium is also believed to have protective cardiovascular benefits that may be one factor contributing to the rarity of elevated blood pressures among huntergatherer populations.  Swiss chard, spinach, and avocados are examples of potassium rich foods.

The Paleo Diet consists of whole, unprocessed foods and is naturally low in sugar. The rise of modern disease can be linked to the evolution of the modern diet, consisting of heavily processed foods., In addition to the added sodium, processed foods are also preserved and their flavor is enhanced through the addition of refined sugar.  These added sugars, for which there are at least 56 different names , have also been linked to an increase in hypertension. ,    

We encourage you to know your blood pressure number and to follow The Paleo Diet for heart health.

 


References

1. “Understanding Blood Pressure Readings.” American Heart Association, November 2017, .

2. Whelton, Paul K., et al. “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2017): 24430.

3. Chobanian, Aram V., et al. “The seventh report of the joint national committee on prevention, detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure: the JNC 7 report.” Jama289.19 (2003): 2560-2571.

4. Stamler, Jeremiah, Rose Stamler, and James D. Neaton. “Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic, and cardiovascular risks: US population data.” Archives of internal medicine 153.5 (1993): 598-615.

5. Whelton, Paul K., et al. “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2017): 24430.

6. Whelton, Paul K., et al. “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2017): 24430.

7.  Collins, Rory, et al. “Blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease: part 2, short-term reductions in blood pressure: overview of randomised drug trials in their epidemiological context.” The Lancet 335.8693 (1990): 827-838.

8. Go, Alan S., et al. “An effective approach to high blood pressure control: a science advisory from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Hypertension63.4 (2014): 878-885.

9. Oliveria, Susan A., et al. “Hypertension knowledge, awareness, and attitudes in a hypertensive population.” Journal of general internal medicine 20.3 (2005): 219-225.

10. Appel LJ, Champagne CM, Harsha DW, et al. Effects of comprehensive lifestyle modification on blood pressure control: main results of the PREMIER clinical trial. JAMA. 2003;289:2083-93.

11. Diao, Diana, et al. “Pharmacotherapy for mild hypertension.” Sao Paulo Medical Journal 130.6 (2012): 417-418.

12. Jönsson, Tommy, et al. “Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study.” Cardiovascular diabetology 8.1 (2009): 35.

13. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54

14. Frassetto, Lynda A., et al. “Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet.” European journal of clinical nutrition 63.8 (2009): 947-955.

15. Cordain, Loren, et al. “Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81.2 (2005): 341-354.

16. Lanham-New, Susan A. “The balance of bone health: tipping the scales in favor of potassium-rich, bicarbonate-rich foods.” The Journal of nutrition 138.1 (2008): 172S-177S.

17. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54

18. Monteiro, Carlos Augusto, et al. “Increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and likely impact on human health: evidence from Brazil.” Public health nutrition 14.1 (2010): 5-13.

19. Lustig, Robert H., Laura A. Schmidt, and Claire D. Brindis. “Public health: the toxic truth about sugar.” Nature 482.7383 (2012): 27-29.

20.  “The 56 Different Names for Sugar (Some Are Tricky)” June 3, 2017, .

21. Johnson, Richard J., et al. “Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 86.4 (2007): 899-906.

22. Chen, Liwei, et al. “Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with reduced blood pressure: a prospective study among United States adults.” Circulation 121.22 (2010): 2398-2406.

 

 

 

Paleo Diet Lowers Blood Sugar

Hello Dr. Cordain!

My name is Chuck Mullen. I am a 63 year old man, and have been active in sports all my life! In May of 2014, I had a routine visit with my doctor. Although I have always looked healthy, I wasn’t feeling right. My blood work revealed that my blood sugar was 300, and my A1C was 12. Oh, by the way, my blood pressure was 160/100. My doctor immediately put me on insulin and gave me medicine to normalize my blood pressure. I was devastated to say the least! A friend of mine told me about your book, The Paleo Diet, so I immediately ordered it. I have been naive for 62 and a half years in my eating. I am a teaching tennis pro and would drink gallons of sports drinks and eat lots of carbs. Boy, have I been wrong!I am very disciplined; I do not drink, or smoke and never have. I started on the Paleo Diet within the week.

I was off the insulin and the blood pressure medicine! I became a fanatic about checking my blood glucose levels, which were back to normal. I had a follow up appointment six weeks later with my doctor. When I went in, his nurse took all my vitals and ran a blood test. My doctor came in and sat down, looked at the numbers and said, “looks like the insulin is working…” My blood sugar dropped to 104. I said I had not taken any insulin in four weeks. After shaking his head in disbelief, he said your blood pressure medicine is working fine, 116/70. I mentioned I wasn’t taking that either. He thought I was joking! “What are you doing, then?” I told him about the Paleo Diet, and shaking his head again, he said, “You were a full blown diabetic six weeks ago, and now your normal without medicine!” He ran another test to check my A1C, which dropped to 7 from 12. Again in disbelief, he said that if they can drop the A1C and sugar in six weeks with meds by 1 point, it’s considered a success.

It’s amazing what doctors don’t know; but if one doctor wants to learn, perhaps others do as well. You probably saved my life, Dr. Cordain! By the way, the girls say I look 15 years younger! I weigh what I weighed when I graduated high school in 1970. I am looking forward to the next 50 years! Thanks again.

Chuck

Sleep Apnea | The Paleo Diet

Will adopting The Paleo Diet lifestyle reduce or altogether eliminate snoring?

Approximately 12 million Americans currently suffer from sleep apnea. The sleep disorder is characterized by short pauses while breathing during sleep, and the condition can often result in loud, obnoxious snoring and depleted blood oxygen levels in the body.

Sleep apnea and snoring are not always directly correlated with each other, but the relationship is often taken into consideration. Historically, factors that have predisposed an individual to sleep apnea include being male, overweight or obese, having a heart condition or high blood pressure, and/or having a history of smoking.

The Paleo Diet focuses on reducing inflammation in the body by cutting out all processed foods, grains, dairy, and sugar and implementing grass produced or free ranging meats, fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and a moderate amount of nuts. Following a Paleo Diet rich in nutrient-dense, naturally occurring foods may help to prevent sleep apnea and the two most common conditions associated with the disorder: Obesity and high blood pressure. Eating a Paleo Diet may not necessarily cure your sleeping issues, but it certainly has potential in reducing your symptoms and improving your overall health.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Blood Pressure | The Paleo Diet

A number of Paleo followers regularly send me emails regarding their low blood pressure levels that result from eating a low-carb, Paleo Diet. Specifically, people seem to worry that they may suffer from negative health consequences if their blood pressure drops too low.

Naturally, The Paleo Diet promotes low blood pressure in the human body by reducing cortisol, the stress hormone, and keeping sodium intake to a minimum by replacing processed, salt-laden foods with real, whole foods. Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet does not induce orthostatic hypertension, or consistently lower normal blood pressure levels.

Tips to help you maintain a healthy blood pressure level while following The Paleo Diet:

Stay Hydrated

    • Make sure to consume adequate amounts of water throughout the day. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels. If you are working or spending a large amount of time outdoors, grab a water bottle on the way out.

Increase Sodium Intake

    • Moderation is key, but adding a small amount of natural sea salt as a seasoning to your meals may be beneficial, especially if you are consuming a strict salt-free Paleo diet.

Maintain an Electrolyte Balance

Cut It Out

  • Beet juice and licorice have been linked to raising blood pressure in individuals with orthostatic hypertension.

Case in point: The primary source of blood pressure problems is more often than not due to increased inflammation in the arterial linings from following a SAD diet (Standard American Diet). Consuming a nutrient-dense Paleo Diet should stabilize your blood pressure levels over time.

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

 
 
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