Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Treating Low Blood Pressure the Natural Way

Blood pressure is determined by the force of blood pumped from the heart onto our artery walls.  Because arteries are thicker than veins, they can support most variations in pressure without damage.  Those of us with low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, experience less force as blood is pumped through the blood vessels, which results in a diminished blood supply to the body.  When the blood supply is low, nutrients have a more difficult time reaching the organs where they are needed.

Many people experience low blood pressure due to stress, dehydration, bleeding from injury or surgery, inflammation where blood concentrates around the area where its needed, use of medication over long periods of time (especially calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, meds for depression, and meds that treat high blood pressure), and heart weakness or failure.

Low blood pressure is also common among athletes and dancers, or anyone who engages in consistent physical activity.  As a dancer, I’ve been suffering from low blood pressure for most of my life, experiencing some of the symptoms when I’m not properly attending to the right diet and protocols.  Additionally, as we age, the organs often don’t function as efficiently no matter how healthy you may be, which can also contribute to fluctuations in blood pressure.

Varying Types of Low Blood Pressure
Not all types of low blood pressure are cause for alarm.  Some can be treated with conscious shifts in diet and protocols.  Here are the three main categories of hypotension:
·      Asymptomatic hypotension, which is when pressure is low, but there are no symptoms.
·      Orthostatic hypotension, which occurs when we stand up suddenly after lying down or sitting and experience a sensation of dizziness or lightheadedness.  This is easily resolved by resting for a few moments.
·      Neutrally mediated hypotension, when we feel dizzy or lightheaded after standing for a long period of time.  Here too, rest will help recover a more normal blood pressure level.
·      Hypotension leading to shock can occur when the blood supply to the organs such as the brain and kidneys is restricted, which is cause for medical attention. 

Some common symptoms of hypotension include:
·      Dizziness
·      Lightheadedness
·      Blurred vision
·      Confusion
·      Weariness and fatigue
·      Nausea
·      Sweating
·      Pale or bluish skin color
·      Rapid breathing or gasping

Generally the body corrects blood pressure levels on its own if there are no serious causes for great fluctuation as can occur in cases of prolonged stress, bad eating habits, reliance on medication, surgery, and the like.  But we can also apply a bit of intelligence when dealing with blood pressure levels by adjusting our diet and way of living to create a balance. 

Natural Remedies
There are many ways those of us suffering from low blood pressure can reverse our symptoms.  Here’s a list of easy-to-follow protocols that will help pressure become more regular when symptoms do not require medical attention:
·      Take 10 to 20 minute long hot Epsom salt baths before going to bed 
·      Keep your bowels regularly cleansed
·      Dry brush the body
·      Do Yoga breathing exercises to improve the flow of blood to the body’s tissues
·      Exercise regularly, such as walking, cycling, or swimming
·      Don’t smoke
·      Avoid stress!

An intelligent diet is also key for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.  This includes the following:
·      Increase your intake of fluids by drinking at least two liters of water a day
·      Drink raw beet juice
·      Soak raisons in water overnight and eat in the morning on an empty stomach
·      Add the Aryuvedic/Indian spice, Asafetida, to your foods to increase blood pressure
·      Fresh fruit
·      Milk
·      Seeds, nuts, and grains
·      Protein
·      Vitamin C and the foods that contain it
·      Vitamin B Complex, especially Pantothenic Acid
·      Mineralized salt (you can add a half tsp in warm water and drink daily)

Eating dark chocolate with a minimum content of 65% cocoa is one of the most pleasurable ways to help regulate hypotension.   Dark chocolate contains essential flavenoids, which are antioxidants that help keep the blood vessels healthy.  I eat a handful of chocolate nibs every day, which are pure dark chocolate and contain the highest amount of flavenoid power. What a medicinal treat!

Words to the Wise
If you suspect you suffer from low blood pressure, regardless of the severity of your symptoms or lack thereof, it is important that you consult with your healthcare provider before embarking upon any type of new diet.

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