Blood Pressure

My great uncle is in his mid eighties and isn’t on any prescribed medications. Not because doctors haven’t tried to put him on them mind you, but because he (like me) prefers a natural living approach to health. 

He recently had some trouble with his blood pressure consistently showing some high readings. I personally felt that it was tied in with some stress and the effects a dog bite had had on his immune system. Everything in the body is connected, and the slightest little tweak here and there can have a domino effect throughout the entire system. My great uncle, like most of us in my family, has a great love for nature and a strong social conscience. As a result, his sense of well-being cannot easily be separated from the well-being of his community and his community was facing challenges. It would be so easy to turn a blind eye and not care, but honestly, what is the point in having this human existence if we don’t engage?

We agreed that it wasn’t wise for me to treat my own family and my uncle found a well respected naturopath (Robin Chuter 0285217375, in Australia) who gave him a phone consult, because he lives remote. He also found a better doctor: one who didn’t have a knee-jerk ‘oh quick lets put you on blood pressure medication’  reaction to the high blood pressure reading. 

I absolutely loved the naturopaths approach: daily meditations, removal of wheat, dairy, eggs and cheese (he was already vegetarian), along with the introduction of dark leafy greens (like kale) and lentils and chickpeas. Rather than prescribing rest and blood pressure medication, his doctor asked him to go back to work doing his guided plant walks and clearing buffel grass (my uncle is a ranger/botanist). Nothing like activity to discharge a bit of excess energy from the nervous and adrenal systems!

Besides consulting with these two excellent professionals, my uncle did his own extensive research into blood pressure studies, relying on his background in chemistry to make sense of what he was reading. Then he sent me some information. I’ve asked him if he minds me quoting him, because I think what he has to say is really important, and he gave me his blessing:

“Systolic BP monitor figures are very easily boosted by worry and may be best disregarded even if high. Perhaps we should concentrate on getting the diastolic figure in the 71-85 (with up to 95 not too bad) range- increasing activity if it’s low.”

The diastolic figure is the lower figure is a blood pressure reading, or the second one listed, the one at the bottom e.g. 140 over 90… the 90 is the diastolic. But you don’t want your diastolic pressure to drop too low. Robyn pointed out that if my uncle’s diastolic BP was pushed any lower than it is now (which would have been inevitable if he had taken medication), then his risk for heart attack and stroke would go up. 

More from my uncle: “Figures from a blood pressure monitor certainly indicate worry levels but may not always be a good measure of heart/stroke risk. Naturopaths are well placed to advise on this. Are the orthopaths scaring the pants off people with very little benefit- except to the drug companies? Certainly, we should pay more attention to diastolic than systolic readings, and to pulse rate. Naturopaths, who are not beholden to the drug companies, may find it useful to reassure their clients that high BP monitor’ systoles are not necessarily an indicator of stroke/heart attack risk- indeed, pills and activity restriction can make such risks worse.”

“More and more reputable opinion is emerging that as BP monitors systolic figure is so easily exacerbated, the diastolic figure should be taken more seriously. It may well be that if the diastole figure is below 90 (or even 95) and the pulse rate is below about 80, the systole figure can be largely discounted.”