TREATING HYPERTENSION

  • October
    07

    Elevated blood pressure (BP) affects 50% of people between 60-69 years old and 75% of people over the age of 70. Hypertension can lead to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) which accounts for 40% of deaths in the United States alone. As a follow-up to my last post on “HEALTHY HYPERTENSION”, I will discuss the common questions about Hypertension medication and Naturopathic Nutritional treatments. Please read my previous post for background information on “What is Blood Pressure? What is Normal? And Does having hypertension mean I have an illness?

    Currently, the global sale for blood pressure management drugs tops $10 billion with over 100 million prescriptions in the USA alone. Candidates for antihypertensive drug therapy begin when they have a BP reading equivalent to Stage 1 hypertension. Let’s answer some common questions about Hypertensive drugs:

    What is the purpose of hypertension treatments?

    Which drugs affect blood pressure?

    What are common conventional hypertensive medications and their main actions?

    Can I get off my medication safely?

     

    What is the purpose of hypertension treatments?

    Hypertension in itself does not produce symptoms, unless the onset is rapid and severe. Therefore, treatments for HT are designed to prevent or reduce the severity of diseases, such as; atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, aortic aneurysms, congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes mellitus, renal disease and retinal disease, thereby prolonging life.

     

    Which drugs affect blood pressure?

    Drugs that Raise BP – corticosteroids, NSAIDs, Cyclosporine, Estrogens, Sympatomimetics, Danazol, Megestrol acetate, Erythropoetin

    Drugs that Lower BP – Anasthetics, Anxiolytics, Hypnotics, Nitrates, Tizanidine, Alprostadil, Baclofen, Levadopa, Dopamine agonist, TCA, Antipsychotics, Desmopressin, Nicorandil

     

    What are common conventional hypertensive medications and their main actions?

    There are 3 main drug classes being used and most are prescribed in combination. Each drug had their own mechanism of actions, specific indications and also adverse effects. If you would like more information on a specific drug please see your MD, ND, or Pharmacist:

    1. Diuretics increasing kidney excretion to decrease blood volume
      1. Thiazide (hydrochlorothiazide)
      2. Loop Diuretic (Furosemine)
      3. Potassium-sparing Diuretics (Spironolactone)
    2. Sympatholytics decreases sympathetic nerve firing rate and inhibits norepinepherine and renin release
      1. β-Blockers (Propranolol, Atenolol, Propranolol, Sotalol, Pindolol, Labetalol, Carvedilol)
      2. Centrally acting α2-adrenergic agonist (Clonidine, α- methyldopa)
      3. Peripherally acting α1-adrenergic blocking agent (Prazosin, Doxazosin)
    3. Vasodilatorsincreases the diameter of blood vessels to reduce peripheral vascular resistance
      1. Angiotensin/ACE Inhibitors (Captopril, Lisinopril, Enalapril, Ramipril, Fosinopril, Benazepril)
      2. Angiotensin Receptor Blockers/ARB (Losartan, Valsartan, Candesartan, Telmisartan)
      3. Direct Dilators (Hydralazine, Minoidil)
      4. Calcium Channel Blockers (Verapamil, Nifedipine, Dilatiazem)

     

    Can I get off my medication safely?

    For those people on multiple medications, they know how dosing is a delicate trial-and-error of finding the right combinations to produce the least amount of side effects and maximize the benefits. NEVER take yourself off medication without the advice and co-management of your MD, ND and Cardiologist. The dangers of re-bound hypertension are serious and can be very severe if not monitored appropriately. However, weaning off a patient of their hypertension medication to a lower amount or completely off is possible. Some patients who have Stage 2 Hypertension will not likely be able to discontinue their anti-hypertensive medication completely.

    I can’t emphasize enough the importance and benefits of a healthy lifestyle to help regulate blood pressure and so many other organ dysfunctions.

    • Nourishing diet -Fruits and vegetables, fibre, lean protein, healthy oils.
    • Dietary sodium reduction – to no more than 2.4g of sodium or 6g of sodium chloride.
    • Modest daily exercise -it may seem counter-intuitive to further increase high blood pressure with activity, but with proper progression and support the benefits of losing weight and improving functional health are critical.
    • Weight reduction –for every 10kg of weight loss, the approximate reduction in Systolic BP is 5-20 mmHg.
    • Decrease alcohol consumption – no more than 1 drink/day.
    • Stop smoking
    • Reduce stress –ie. meditation, enjoyable hobby, family fun.

    Some Naturopathic Nutritional recommendations used in conjunction with implementing a healthy lifestyle are included below. Please see your ND for specific indications, dosing, and product quality before taking:

    • Fish oil
    • CoQ10
    • Arginine
    • Bonito peptides
    • Taurine
    • Olive oil
    • Pomegranate juice

    These lifestyle suggestions are not always easy to implement and takes a lot of preparation and support. Here are 3 helpful tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle:

    1. Make realistic and healthy goals. Both short term (week – months) and long term (years).
    2. Make a nutritional and exercise plan for the week and WRITE IT DOWN
    3. Enrol a friend/ family member/ pet/ trainer/ doctor in what you’re doing and do it together. Support is key to making lifelong changes

    Please ensure that you consult your MD and ND before implementing any of my suggestions. If you are currently taking medication it is necessary to monitor them closely, some adjustment may be required while changing lifetime habits.

    There are many other Naturopathic Therapies available to treat Hypertension and more importantly the whole person. Some including Botanical Medicine, Acupuncture, TCM, Health Psychology, and Homeopathic Medicine. Please email me (Contact@DrAlisonChen.com) or visit your Naturopathic Doctor for more information and evidence regarding these treatments. If you need any support finding an ND please share in the comment section below or visit the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic in Toronto, Ontario.

    Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about my post? Share them below and make a difference.


This website is NOT to be used as a diagnostic or treatment tool. Always consult with your Conventional Medical Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor for specific concerns. In cases of medical emergencies visit your nearest hospital or call 9-1-1.