I have encountered so many people who don't know that high blood pressure and heart disease can be reversed, and is not something you have to have because it "runs in your family". Dr. Mercola has written a special report that I will share with you on this topic.
The Surprising Cause of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
If you are not already among the 1 in 3 adults with high blood pressure in the U.S. — or about 75
million people — the odds are that without intervention, you will have high blood pressure at
some point in your life. In fact, if you’re middle-aged (55 to 65), the risk of becoming hypertensive over your lifetime is about 90%, and statistics show that 64.9% of adults in the U.S. age 60 and over do have high blood pressure. Also, when you become hypertensive, statistics also show that there is a 50% chance that you’ll be among those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, which
increases your risk for a number of serious health problems, including:
• Heart disease
• Kidney disease
• Vision problems
• Cognitive decline and dementia
The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. Unfortunately, many confuse this
word as being related to feelings of anxiety or nervous tension. While such feelings certainly can
cause high blood pressure in some people, anxiety is not the only cause of this condition.
In reality, a number of other factors have been identified as contributing to high blood pressure,
including, but not limited to:
• Insulin and leptin resistance. As your insulin and leptin levels rise, it causes your
blood pressure to increase
• Metabolic syndrome. Identified as a group of risk factors that put you at risk for heart
disease, diabetes and stroke, metabolic syndrome is now also recognized as a
contributor to high blood pressure
• Elevated uric acid levels are also significantly associated with hypertension,9 so any
program adopted to address high blood pressure needs to normalize your uric acid level
• Poor nutrition in childhood has been shown to raise the risk of high blood pressure in
• Lead exposure
• Pollution. Air pollution affects blood pressure by causing inflammation, while noise
pollution asserts an effect via your nervous and hormonal systems. Air pollution has
been shown to increase your risk of high blood pressure to the same degree as having a
body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30.
Living in an environment plagued by constant noise pollution can also raise blood
pressure. With all of these factors playing in to your everyday life, it’s no surprise that hypertension is on the rise. What may be surprising, however, is how easily you can control one of the major
contributors to high blood pressure — insulin and leptin resistance — through diet alone.
The Importance of Diet and Insulin Sensitivity
Groundbreaking research published in 2001 in the journal Hypertension, featuring a prospective
cohort study of 12,550 adults, reported the development of diabetes was almost 2.5 times as
likely in persons with hypertension. A few years earlier, a 1998 article in the same journal
showed that 58% of study subjects with hypertension were also insulin resistant.
This crucial connection between insulin resistance and hypertension is yet another example of
how wide-ranging the debilitating effects of high insulin, leptin and blood glucose levels can be
on your body.
The bottom line is if you have hypertension, chances are you also have poorly controlled blood
sugar levels. And if your hypertension is the direct result of an out-of-control blood sugar level,
then getting your blood sugars normalized will also bring your blood pressure readings into a
The Sugar Connection
Research now shows that consuming excessive fructose (sugar) can not only cause metabolic
syndrome — a precursor of diabetes — but also lead to an increase in blood pressure of about 7
mmHg/5 mmHg,16 which is greater than what is typically seen with sodium (4 mmHg/2 mmHg). And
in fact, a study in the journal Open Heart argues that sugar consumption may be more directly associated with high blood pressure than sodium. One of the primary sources of excess sugar in your diet (as well as sodium) is processed food. According to SugarScience.org, added sugars hide in 74% of processed foods under more than 60 different names!
When you consider that Americans consume 66 pounds of added sugar each year, it’s easy to
understand why, as your insulin and leptin levels rise, your blood pressure increases and,
besides having high blood pressure, you may eventually become insulin and/or leptin resistant.
How Magnesium Figures Into the Sugar Connection and Insulin Resistance
Magnesium is a mineral important to the health of every cell and organ in your body, especially your heart, kidneys and muscles. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include unexplained fatigue or muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, eye twitches and muscle spasms. Magnesium has a direct effect on the relaxation of vascular smooth muscle and the regulation of ions important to blood pressure control, and a meta-analysis done at the Indiana University School of Medicine Strategic Research Initiative shows a direct link between magnesium deficiency and hypertension.
Insulin stores magnesium, but if your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant
to insulin, you can't store magnesium, so it passes out of your body through urination. Since
magnesium stored in your cells relaxes muscles, if your magnesium level is too low, your blood
vessels will be unable to fully relax, and this constriction raises your blood pressure.
Fructose also elevates uric acid, which drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric
oxide in your blood vessels. (Uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism. In fact, fructose
typically generates uric acid within minutes of ingestion.)
Nitric oxide helps your vessels maintain their elasticity, so nitric oxide suppression leads to
increases in blood pressure. Therefore, any program adapted to address high blood pressure
needs to eliminate added sugars in your diet, to help normalize both your insulin/leptin
sensitivity and uric acid level, as well as your magnesium levels.
Healthy Blood Pressure Is Within Your Control
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a very serious health concern. It is especially dangerous
because hypertension often has no warning signs or symptoms.
The sad reality is half of people taking multiple medications for high blood pressure are still not
able to manage their condition, often because they don’t take their medications as
The great news is that if you have hypertension or hope to avoid it, there are simple lifestyle
steps you can take to balance your blood pressure, glucose, leptin and insulin levels — all at the
same time — without harmful and/or ineffective medications. I’ll detail those steps later in this report.
But first, a little background information about the importance of your blood pressure to your
What Do the Numbers Mean?
If you’ve ever had your blood pressure taken, you know that there are two numbers given in a blood
pressure reading. The upper or first number is your systolic blood pressure reading. The lower or second number is your diastolic pressure. For example, a blood pressure reading of 120 over
80 (120/80) means you have a systolic arterial pressure of 120 and a diastolic arterial pressure of 80.
Your systolic pressure is the highest pressure in your arteries. It occurs when your ventricles
contract at the beginning of your cardiac cycle. Diastolic pressure refers to the lowest arterial
pressure, and occurs during the resting phase of your cardiac cycle. Ideally, your blood
pressure should be about 120/80 without medication.
If you're over the age of 60, your systolic pressure is the most important cardiovascular risk
factor. If you're under 60 and have no other major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, your
diastolic pressure is believed to be a more important risk factor.22
So what is the ideal blood pressure for you? According to guidelines issued by the Joint National Committee (JNC) on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure,23 the following blood pressure classifications are used to determine whether you might suffer from hypertension:
Blood Pressure Systolic Pressure Diastolic Pressure
Classification (mmHg) (mmHg)
Normal <120 <80
Pre-hypertension 120 - 139 80 - 89
Stage 1 Hypertension 140 - 159 90 - 99
Stage 2 Hypertension ≥160 ≥100
These guidelines also include the following recommendations for specific groups of people:
Adults ages 30 to 59 with high blood pressure should aim for a target reading of under140/90 or under
Adults with diabetes or chronic kidney disease should aim for a target reading of under140/90 or under
Adults age 60 and older should aim for a target reading of under 150/90
In late 2016, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) broke from these guidelines and recommended looser numbers for the treatment of those age 60 and over:
Adults age 60 and older with high blood pressure should aim for a target systolic reading of less than 150 mm/Hg
Adults age 60 or older with a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack should aim fora systolic pressure of less than 140
Adults age 60 or older at higher cardiovascular risk, based on individualized assessment, should aim for a systolic reading of less than 140 mm/Hg
Getting an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading
Your blood pressure readings can vary significantly from day to day — even from morning to evening, and often within the same hour. It is when your blood pressure remains consistently elevated that significant health problems can occur.It’s important to remember that there are several variables that can affect the validity of your blood pressure reading.
If you’re overweight, a size “average” blood pressure cuff can lead to a falsely
elevated blood pressure reading. Estimates indicate that 8 to 10 percent of overweight
and obese patients are wrongly diagnosed as hypertensive due to ill-fitting blood
pressure cuffs. Since two-thirds of Americans are overweight, this is a significant
concern. You should make sure your doctor or health care professional is using the right
size cuff for your size.
Arm and body position. If your blood pressure is taken while your arm is parallel to
your body, your systolic reading can be as much as 10 mm/Hg higher than it really is.
Unless your health care provider is using a wrist monitor, which requires that your wrist
be placed over your heart, blood pressure readings should always be taken with your
arm at a right angle to your body. Your arm also needs to be supported: A dangling arm,
or one held up by the patient her/himself, can cause an increase in systolic pressure of
Lack of back support, crossed legs, tight clothing pushed up on the cuffed arm and even
the need to urinate can also give a falsely high systolic reading.
“White coat hypertension,” which is an elevation in blood pressure caused by the
stress or fear associated with visits to doctors and other medical personnel, can be a
transient but serious concern. Stress reduction in this situation is key.
But guess what happens all-too-often when a patient receives just a single elevated reading in a
doctor’s office? That patient is likely diagnosed as hypertensive and a prescription is written —
and a vicious cycle of blood pressure monitoring and medication adjusting begins.
Statistics support this claim: A study in JAMA says that “overestimating true blood pressure by 5
mm/Hg would lead to inappropriate treatment with hypertensive medications in almost 30 million
Along with that over diagnosis and treatment would also come possible adverse drug reactions,
not to mention the financial burden of “treating” something you don’t really have.
So, if this happens to you, be very careful. It is important to have at least three elevated
readings, properly measured, over a few weeks before you can truly be diagnosed with high
blood pressure. The exception would be hypertensive crisis, which is very elevated blood
pressure that occurs in certain situations such as heart or kidney failure, and which could increase your risk for stroke — that situation should be treated without waiting.
These are very important ideas, tips and medical facts to investigate, think about and bring up to your doctor. In part 2, we will dive further into this subject to learn more!
I am with you and in your corner!