Prescott, AZ (PressExposure) December 28, 2015 -- "The reason why there are so many types of blood pressure drugs is because if one of them worked very well without adverse side effects, there would be no need for the others. They all have adverse effects as the package insert shows--anyone taking prescriptions should ask the pharmacist for the insert," says Richard Ruhling, MD, MPH.
Having cardiology training, Ruhling received a bulletin sent to cardiologists by the American Heart Association in the mid-70's saying that unless the blood pressure is inordinately high with a diastolic (lower number) of 105 or more, treatment should begin with environmental factors rather than drugs.
Diet and exercise were the two main ingredients to the Pritikin Program that got 85% of patients off their drugs for high blood pressure in the 70's. Nathan Pritikin, a non-physician gave his report to cardiologists at their annual convention in Anaheim. Pritikin's results were probably the basis of Dr. Dean Ornish's program featured in the US News & World Report cover story, How to Reverse Heart Disease seen on Ruhling's website and he offers the following suggestions for blood pressure:
What we put in our mouth is the main factor in most cases. 97% of people are born "normal," and if they have a problem 40 or 60 years later, they did it to themselves, but it's also reversible--early better than later.
1. The three no-no's are alcohol, salt and fats. Alcohol makes the blood sticky and should be avoided. We need about 1-2 grams of salt a day, but the average American gets about 10 times their need in packaged and processed foods. A high fat diet also makes the blood sticky, so that more pressure is needed to push it through the vessels. This means finding a low-fat salad dressing and avoiding fried foods. The tasty part of meat, including chicken, is the fat. Beware of baked goods that have shortening ingredients by the cupful.
2. Exercise helps lower blood pressure several ways, one of which is helping us cope with stress and enabling us to sleep better. If we don't get enough sleep, the body makes stress hormones (catecholamines) that drive our blood pressure up.
3. Sunlight has a mild blood pressure lowering effect.
4. Avoid heavy meals within 3-4 hours of sleeping. Food in the blood stream with sluggish flow during sleep favors clumping of blood and mini-strokes.
5. Drinking more water would be beneficial for most people, but not at meal-time, especially not ice water as it shuts down digestion, and water dilutes the digestive juices. Drink between your meals.
6. Positive mental attitudes like the words on our coins, "In God we trust," are good for blood pressure as well as sleep, digestion and happiness.
7. Some prescription drugs can cause high blood pressure. Ask your pharmacist for a package insert and use Google for any words you don't know and also for seeking natural remedies to see if blood pressure can get lowered to a borderline range that used to be 140-160 over 90-95, says Ruhling. He believes that range achieved by diet and exercise is safer than lower numbers with Rx drugs.