A Natural Way to Manage Hypertension

Ann Wang, Ph.D., L. Ac


I. DIAGNOSIS
According to the 1990 WHO Diagnostic Standard Report, hypertension is defined as having a
blood pressure consistently greater than 140/90 or when checked on three different days, found
to be high with a systolic blood pressure greater than 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure
greater than 90 mmHg.


The blood pressure will normally peak at its highest in the morning upon awakening, drop off at
its lowest reading in the afternoon, increase once again at bedtime, and then again drop off
during the middle of the night. In order to take the blood pressure most accurately, it is best to
take it at the same time of day everyday or three times a day in the morning, in the afternoon, and
then again at night.


II. CAUSES
The causes of hypertension may be divided into two categories: modifiable and non-modifiable
causes. Modifiable causes are those factors which the individual may control such as diet,
obesity, smoking, alcohol intake, and mental stress. Non-modifiable causes are factors related to
genetics which the individual cannot modify or change, for example, age, sex, or family history.


Generally speaking, genetic factors alone may not cause hypertension. But, genetic factors
combined with modifiable factors usually will cause high blood pressure.


III. ESSENTIAL AND SECONDARY HYPERTENSION
In about 90% of people with high blood pressure, the cause is not known. This condition is
known as essential hypertension. When the cause of the hypertension is known, the condition is
referred to as secondary hypertension.


IV. VARIATIONS IN HYPERTENSION IN THE ELDERLY AND IN WOMEN
The elderly and women have their own hypertensive characteristics:


   A. Hypertension in the Elderly. The elderly in North America and in most of European
   countries are defined as those people greater than 65 years of age. In most Asian
   countries, the elderly population is defined as people greater than 60 years of age. There
   are certain characteristics of hypertension in the elderly:



1. In the elderly population, you may only see a high systolic blood pressure

reading. This is caused by hardening of the arteries and loss of elasticity of the arterial wall.


2. Also, there may be more fluctuation changes seen in the blood pressure in the
elderly. The ability of the body to control blood pressure is especially lessened
when moving from a lying to sitting position. This fluctuation is seen even
more so when taking antihypertensive medication.



3. Pregnancy can also cause hypertension. Pregnancy induced hypertension may

especially be seen during a woman’s first pregnancy or in pregnancies after 35
years of age. A woman, who has hypertension prior to her pregnancy, may
become more hypertensive while she is pregnant.


4. Menopausal women may develop menopausal related hypertension. During
menopause, a high systolic blood pressure is usually seen, and the blood
pressure also fluctuates more than usual. If the hypertension is related to
menopausal syndrom
e, the high blood pressure will usually return to normal
after menopause.



   B. Hypertension in Women. There are certain characteristics of hypertension found in women:


1. During PMS (premenstrual syndrome), because women usually suffer from
anxiety, irritability, dep
ression, and fatigue, a woman who is already has

hypertension will have a tendency to have higher blood pressure than usual.


2. Birth control pills also can cause hypertension. They may cause a normal
blood pressure to be high or make hypertension more pronounced. For women
who already have genetic factors for developing hypertension, may have a
tendency to develop abnormal blood pressure while taking birth control pills.


3. Pregnancy can also cause hypertension. Pregnancy induced hypertension may
especially be seen during a woman’s first pregnancy or in pregnancies after 35
years of age. A woman, who has hypertension prior to her pregnancy, may
become more hypertensive while she is pregnant.


4. Menopausal women may develop menopausal related hypertension. During
menopause, a high systolic blood pressure is usually seen, and the blood
pressure also fluctuates more than usual. If the hypertension is related to
menopausal syndrome,


V. HYPERTENSION AND ORIENTAL MEDICINE
Any internal or external factor may cause one of the following conditions to occur which then
results in hypertension:


1. Kidney yin deficiency.
2. Liver yang excessive.
3. Chong and Ren imbalance.
4. Excessive heart heat or fire.


VI. ORIENTAL TREATMENT FOR HYPERTENSION
A. Acupuncture
Acupuncture works effectively for essential hypertension, especially in the early stage.
The length of the course of treatment depends on the history and severity of the
hypertension as well as the individual’s sensitivity to the treatment. Generally speaking,
1-2 treatments per week is recommended to start with until the blood pressure is lowered
within the normal range and is stabilized. Then, the treatment is cut back gradually to
once a week or every other week and then gradually stopped. In order to receive best
results in treating hypertension, there must be a trusting relationship between the patient
and the practitioner. The patient must be relaxed in order to follow the instructions given
by the practitioner for providing relaxation and meditation. Also, it is necessary that the
practitioner be relaxed, well-grounded, and highly focused in deep concentration on the
needle manipulation and the flow of energy during the treatment.



B. Herbal Treatment
Blood pressure may be effectively treated with herbal formulas. Generally speaking,
personalized formulas work better than over-the-counter herbal formulas or products.
Herbs are often used in conjunction with medications taken for hypertension. The patient
should take the herbs until the blood pressure is lowered into the normal range and then
stabilized. It is very important to avoid suddenly stopping to use the herbs.

 

VII. OTHER TREATMENTS FOR HYPERTENSION
1. Diet
A balanced diet that is low in fat, low in carbohydrates, and has the proper amount of
protein, and is limited in salt is helpful in the prevention and treatment of
hypertension. The daily dietary intake should include rice, flour, and grain as the
main contents. It is important for people to eat 70-80% before feeling full. One should
try to avoid eating until 100% of being full. In regards to meat, an intake of 70-100
grams per day is recommended. One should eat approximately 500 grams per day of
fruits and vegetables. Oil intake should be limited to 25 grams per day of unsaturated
fat. It is recommended that salt intake be limited to 5-6 grams per day. Also, some
fruits and vegetables, soy bean, and seaweed contain potassium which is helpful in
managing hypertension.


2. Managing Obesity
The management of obesity is very important in the treatment of hypertension,
because an obese person is 2-6 times more likely for the potential of having high
blood pressure.


3. Exercise
One must choose the proper exercise suitable for their own individual condition. If
after exercising you feel pleasantly refreshed, the heart rate has returned to normal,
the fatigue has diminished after short period of rest then, it is most likely that you
have found an appropriate exercise activity. It is important to exercise 5-7 times per
week at 30-40 minute intervals each time. Tai Chi, Qi Gong, mediation, and slow
walking are examples of exercises suitable for treatment of hypertension.


4. Stress Management
It is important to avoid stress or emotional disturbances which can cause fluctuation
changes in the blood pressure. Therefore, it is important that people make a concerted
effort to try to, have an even temperament, let go of pinned up anger, and try not to
worry but have a positive outlook on life. Making an effort to enhance one’s tolerance
for stress is helpful as well.


5. Lifestyle Management
Stop smoking, because nicotine can increase the heart rate and blood pressure,
thereby, speeding up the process of atherosclerosis which affects blood circulation in
the body. Any one with hypertension should make a big effort to stop smoking as
early as possible. Acupuncture is effective treatment for smoking cessation.

 

Limit alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol intake can also increase the blood pressure
and affect the result of medication prescribed for treatment of hypertension. Alcohol
consumption should be limited for the treatment of high blood pressure.

Limit caffeine intake. Coffee and strong red tea should especially be avoided as they
can cause heart palpitations, over stimulation, and insomnia. Avoiding coffee and
strong red tea is highly suggested in the treatment of hypertension.

© 2013 Integrative Medicine Center

  • b-facebook
  • b-tbird