A Silent Killer: High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease in both men and women. Hypertension is called the “silent killer” because it generally produces no obvious symptoms even while it causes widespread damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, and other vital organs. Although it can strike anyone at any time of their life, it’s most commonly seen in older individuals. In fact, over 70% of American women and 50% of American men over the age of 70 have hypertension. Other risk factors for this disease include high cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity, and diabetes.1

Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of 130 mm Hg or below and a diastolic pressure of 85 mm Hg or below. High normal is pressures of 131-139 systolic and 86-89 diastolic. Hypertension is defined as a pressure of 140 systolic over 90 diastolic and above.

Blood pressure generally rises and falls throughout the day in a cyclic rhythm and is influenced by many factors, such as exercise and emotional stress.  To get the most accurate picture of your blood pressure, take numerous measurements at different times and average them.

Although doctors still don’t know what causes this most common type of hypertension, current research indicates that a complex interaction between genetic, environmental, and other variables is a significant factor. Secondary hypertension, which is much less common, is high blood pressure caused by known medical conditions, such as kidney disease, pregnancy, and sleep apnea.

The real dangers arise when blood pressure is elevated over a period of years or decades. Over such a time span, hypertension can cause significant damage to blood vessels that supply life-giving oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. The heart, brain, and kidneys, along with all other major body parts, can suffer irreparable harm from long-term hypertension.

It’s important to remember that an unhealthy elevation in just one of the two pressures (systolic or diastolic) can have disastrous long-term health consequences. Isolated high systolic pressure, which is the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is thought by many to be a significant indicator of heart attacks and strokes in people middle-aged and older. Isolated high diastolic pressure is a strong risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, especially in younger adults.

Hypertension Can Be Controlled Naturally

For those who hesitate to use anti-hypertensive drugs for whatever reason, non-drug strategies may significantly help in supporting healthy blood pressure. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is now recommended as a first-line approach in managing the disease. The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. People following the DASH diet are encouraged to decrease their saturated fats and replace them with foods that are high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

Other natural ways to control hypertension include not smoking, obesity control, and salt restriction – the current recommendation is for people with hypertension to limit their salt intake to 2400 mg (about 1 teaspoon) per day.

Arginine – The Source of Nitric Oxide

Another natural way to help support healthy blood pressure is through the use of L-Arginine based supplements.  L-Arginine is an amino acid that plays a vital role in promoting vascular health through the production of Nitric Oxide (NO).

Nitric oxide penetrates and crosses the membranes of almost all cells in the body, and it helps regulate many functions. It is even involved in memory function. In blood vessels, NO is vitally important because it regulates the tone of the endothelium, the layer of smooth cells that line the inside of the vessels. If these endothelial cells become dysfunctional, they can cause spasms or constrictions of the blood vessels that can then lead to hypertension.

Learn more about your options today. Visit www.hypertensa-adv.com for more information. 

  1. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/know-your-risk-factors-for-high-blood-pressure

Published by

David Silver M.D.

Dr. Silver currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer at Targeted Medical Pharma. He is a practicing board certified rheumatologist and internist with privileges at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California and served as clinical chief of rheumatology at Cedars Sinai from October 2000 to September 2004. Since June 1993, Dr. Silver has taught at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine in various capacities and in July 2004 was named an associate clinical professor. From December 1994 to October 2008, Dr. Silver served as the director of the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and, since January 1993, Dr. Silver has served as associate medical director of the Osteoporosis Medical Center, a non-profit research corporation in Beverly Hills, California. From May 2003 to April 2006, Dr. Silver served as member of the scientific advisory committee of the American College of Rheumatology and, from May 2000 to April 2002, he served as a member of the awards and grants committee. Dr. Silver has written a book entitled Playing Through Arthritis: How to Conquer Pain and Enjoy Your Favorite Sports and Activities. Dr. Silver has also been granted several research grants to study osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and epicondylitis. Dr. Silver is the author of numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and has regularly accepted speaking engagements on various topics in rheumatology. Dr. Silver also serves as peer reviewer for Arthritis and Rheumatism, Clinical Rheumatology, Osteoporosis International, Journal of Osteoporosis and American Journal of Managed Care. Dr. Silver received a Bachelor of Arts degree in medical sciences with a minor in economics from Boston University and a medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine. He did his residency training in internal medical at Northwestern University School of Medicine and his fellowship in Rheumatology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.