What is High Blood Pressure or Hypertension (HTN) and what does it mean?

First, a word about blood pressure and what it actually means. The numbers are typically written down as this: Systolic/Diastolic, such as 120/80. The first number is known as Systolic Pressure, this is the pressure in the arteries whenever the heart muscle contracts or squeezes. The second number is known as Diastolic Pressure, this is the pressure whenever the heart muscle relaxes and it is the residual pressure or ‘tone’ that the arterial wall has during the relaxed state. The Systolic pressure not only indicates the ability of the heart to ‘squeeze‘ the blood out, it also indicates the ability of the arteries to flex under the increased pressure. That’s why ‘hardening’ of the arteries is important to note since this would limit the artery’s ability to be flexible. This is important since much can be learned about your health by measuring blood pressure, so get it checked regularly. By the way, High Systolic pressure vs High Diastolic pressure can suggest very different underlying health issues.

High Blood Pressure is only a finding. Hypertension (HTN) is the diagnosis and is usually not made until the pressure readings are above 140/90. To diagnose HTN, there must be at least 3 separate readings, preferably on separate days. The stress of being in a doctor’s office to have the blood pressure taken can lead to abnormally high readings. This is called ‘White Coat Syndrome’ and is very real.

Symptoms of (HTN) vary greatly and are not usually noticed until the pressure is quite high, hence the ‘silent’ aspect of the condition.

Some symptoms of (HTN) are:

  1. Dizziness
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Headache
  4. Nausea

Naturally, our blood pressure varies throughout the day. In fact, it is supposed to go up when we stand up, or else we would get dizzy. Blood Pressure problems are quite common and should be taken seriously.

Hypertension (HTN) is the most commonly diagnosed condition in the general medicine practice. In 90-95% of these cases it is not known medically what the cause of the (HTN) is. It effects 1 out of 3 adults in the US and many children are experiencing it as well. This is where proper investigation into the cause or why the pressure is high should begin.

Medical treatment usually begins without ever knowing the cause of the HTN. The most effective drugs on the market only lower blood pressure by -14/-10, (lowering systolic by 14 and diastolic by 10). This is why most of the time, a combination of drugs is used to lower a patient’s pressure.

Keep in mind that (HTN) medications such as Beta-blockers and Diuretics can have very detrimental side effects especially since they are usually lifetime prescriptions and the long term dangers are largely unknown.

Side effects of these medications can include:

  1. Kidney damage
  2. Lightheadedness leading to falls or accidents
  3. Erectile dysfunction
  4. Mineral deficiencies
  5. Fainting
  6. Fatigue
  7. Swollen ankles
  8. Heart rhythm problems
  9. Diabetes

Risk factors for high blood pressure are mostly attributed to lifestyle. This should come as no surprise.

Risk factors for (HTN) are:

  1. Smoking
  2. Overweight
  3. Lack of physical activity
  4. Poor diet (the Standard American Diet, known as SAD)
  5. Diabetes
  6. Stress
  7. Sugar consumption

So why is HTN so dangerous? High Blood Pressure over long periods of time can be damaging to blood vessels simply because of the mechanical pressure put on the walls of the vessels. Problem areas are typically brain vessels, eye vessels, heart vessels and kidney vessels.

What is the Functional Medicine Approach to High Blood Pressure or Hypertension (HTN)?

High Blood Pressure is a symptom, not a disease. It is simply a sign that other things are going on with our health that need to be addressed. Perhaps it is our lifestyle that we need to take a closer look at.

As a Functional Medicine Practitioner, I will help you find the underlying causes of your (HTN). Remember, a Functional Medicine practitioner always asks, why.

Investigative questions will include:

  1. What is interfering with normal pressure regulation?
  2. What is the body lacking, causing a dysfunction in the normal regulation?
  3. Is the person overweight?
  4. Does the person have high amounts of toxins in their system?
  5. Do they have any deficiencies that need to be uncovered?
  6. Is lack of physical activity playing a role?
  7. Is there an underlying condition that needs to be discovered?

Like a good “CSI” agent, looking into the individual circumstances of each person becomes the key. This is the personalized health approach at its best. The tip of the Iceberg is HTN, what lies beneath is the cause.

Since Blood Pressure is influenced by different systems within the body, they must all be considered.

All of these systems can have an influence on blood pressure:

  • Cardiovascular System
  • Nervous System
  • Hormonal System
  • Digestive System
  • Immune System

Sometimes it could be a combination of these systems.

Once the involved systems are identified, they are tested.

Testing can include:

  1. Functional Blood Chemistry Report
  2. Hormone testing
  3. Metabolic testing
  4. Toxicity testing

Keep in mind:

  1. No two people are alike. Each case is different and different solutions are needed.
  2. Many times there is no single approach to a condition. Multiple causes can be in play.

The above should be good news, because we all know that we are different and require individual attention.

Find the solution to your High Blood Pressure. It begins with you taking control of your health, today.

Here is what to expect from the Functional Medicine process.

Outlining what you can expect will decrease some of the initial apprehension and get you onto the road of improved health and vitality much faster.

After completing your initial background information, you will be sent a link to the client/doctor portal and the discovery questionnaires. This is a unique and private portal that we will communicate through. This will allow us to have a free flow of information that is both secure and well suited for this type of correspondence.

Like a good CSI agent, the Functional Medicine approach will uncover the underlying factors that have caused or are causing your present health problem(s). This is essential for getting you well and will all start with our revealing medical questionnaires.

Important to any discovery of the cause of your health problem is a good medical history.

We have carefully developed medical questionnaires that will allow us to obtain the most comprehensive and detailed history possible. Each section of the questionnaire will address a different body system to help identify where the cause may be.

You may actually appreciate the discovery process of the Functional Medicine approach since it may be the first time that you were able to tell your whole story leading to the health problem and what you think is going on as well.

Begin your healthy journey to a more vital lifestyle today.   Start Here.