The most commonly diagnosed medical condition in the United States is high blood pressure, or hypertension, and blood pressure medications are among the top 10 most commonly prescribed drugs. However, these medications can cause undesirable side effects. It’s better to address the underlying causes of high blood pressure—research shows diet and lifestyle changes are just as effective or even better than medications in lowering high blood pressure. Blood pressure is of particular importance to those with Hashimoto’s as hypothyroidism triples the risk of developing high blood pressure. Why should you be concerned about high blood pressure? High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. Thirty percent of the population has high blood pressure, and another 30 percent has pre-hypertension, or somewhat elevated high blood pressure. Men are more likely than women to have high blood pressure before the age of 45, but after 65 the ratio reverses. African Americans and Mexican-Americans are at an increased risk. Those with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism are at more risk as hypothyroidism can increase the stiffness of blood vessel walls. Also, when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland in an autoimmune Hashimoto’s flare, this spills excess thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, which can cause high blood pressure. Diet and lifestyle changes most effective approach for high blood pressure with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism Instead of treating symptoms, address the actual causes of high blood pressure for lasting better health. Studies have shown that lifestyle changes alone can reduce risk of heart disease by a dramatic 90 percent. Lifestyle interventions influence the fundamental biological mechanisms leading to all chronic disease. For instance, regular exercise is one of the best ways known to control high blood pressure. Other important factors include a whole foods diet rich in plant fiber and low in sugar and sodium, maintaining a healthy weight (a BMI less than 25 is ideal), not smoking, and managing stress, such as through yoga, meditation, walking, and laughter. Managing your autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is another important way to help regulate your blood pressure. Adding the functional medicine approach with high blood pressure and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidismIn functional medicine, we look for why the person has high blood pressure rather than simply at what can be done to lower it; it’s a person-centered approach, versus a disease-centered one. Factors to consider include autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, genetic predispositions, nutritional deficiencies, environmental triggers, and lifestyle habits, such as:
Deficiencies in nutrients such as biotin, vitamin D, vitamin C, B1, choline, magnesium and CoQ10.
By addressing these and other factors, a functional medicine approach addresses the root cause of high blood pressure. Research has shown that up to 62 percent of high blood pressure patients were able to go off their anti-hypertension medications and maintain normal blood pressure by making diet and lifestyle changes. Eating a whole foods, vegetable-based diet and avoiding processed foods will help keep you sufficient and balanced in the right minerals to support healthy blood pressure. Ask my office for more information on how you can address the root cause of your high blood pressure and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Overmedicated? New guidelines suggest that people over 60 should only take blood pressure tablets when their reading is 150/90
The new guidance was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In it, the doctors stress they are not changing the definition of high blood pressure: 140/90.
And people with heart disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should aim for a reading of 130/80 or lower.
But they do recommend that adults aged 60 and older are given a higher treatment threshold - and only take medicine when their blood pressure levels reach 150 over 90 or higher.
Too aggressive blood pressure treatment can cause fainting and falls in older patients, or bad interactions with drugs they're already taking for other illnesses, panel members said.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE Share However much of the existing guidance does remain - such as giving younger adults with a reading of 140/90 medication and also those with diabetes or kidney disease.
A third of people in the UK and U.S. have high blood pressure - and a third do not realise. It is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
A high blood pressure reading is one that exceeds 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). The first figure, the systolic pressure, corresponds to the ‘surge’ that occurs with each heart beat.
The condition typically has no symptoms, so it goes undetected or untreated in many people.
+2 High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure
In developed countries like the UK, the lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure is now 90 per cent and six million Britons take drugs to control it - usually for life.
People with hypertension - the medical term - are routinely advised to change their lifestyle and eat less salt, lose weight, drink less alcohol, eat more fruit and vegetables and exercise more.
The new guidelines were based on a review of the most rigorous kind of medical research - studies in which patients are randomly prescribed drugs or dummy pills - published since the last update in 2003.
The research suggests older patients can avoid major health problems like heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease even when their blood pressure is above the current recommended level, the panel said.
For many patients, two or three drugs - or more - are needed to bring their blood pressure down.
Many older adults could probably reduce their doses, or take fewer drugs, to reach the new, less strict target, said Dr. Paul James, a panel member and family medicine specialist-researcher at the University of Iowa.
While the guidelines were updated by a government-appointed panel, they don't yet have the government's endorsement like previous versions.
And some doctors fear the experts didn't take into account the effects of under treating high blood pressure in older people.
Dr. Curtis Rimmerman, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist, called the guidelines 'exceedingly important' given the prevalence of high blood pressure.
The panel added that the guidelines are simply recommendations, and that doctors should make treatment decisions based on patients' individual circumstances.