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Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 12:13 PM   #1
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Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Has anyone tried and found success with alternative treatments for hypertension?

I see so many alternative solutions advertised but don't see any credible or believable self-tried evidence that they work.

I am having a bit of trouble controlling my systolic level in spite of prescription drug, regular exercise and limited sodium intake and am wondering if other folks have had some first hand success with other means of lowering the top bp number.

I have also noticed that being able to fall asleep and/or to continue sleeping for 6-7 hours has become impossible with out a sleep aid.

The docs have dismissed everything as "job related stress" and found no cardiac problems or anything else. Quitting the job is not the answer but I do need to find better coping mechanisms for the frustrations and irritations I feel several times during the day.

And please in advance....... no juvenile jokes . Thanks as always.

- Dante
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 12:58 PM   #2
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante - Have you tried the DASH diet? The DASH diet is the gold standard diet for hypertension.Do you exercise? Have you eliminated alcohol? How about eliminating refined sugar and carbohydrates? My BP has inched up over the last few years due to female hormone shifting I have come to the conclusion that I may be on medication to control hypertension in the near future.

Oh and your reference to irritation and stress is something I can relate to. My BP always rises when I'm stressed. I'm trying to incorporate 10 minutes of daily meditation in my day.
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 01:26 PM   #3
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

cube-rat - Thanks very much for your kind reply.

I exercise on the treadmill 6/7 days for 35 minutes where I bring my average heart rate to 80-85% of my maximum HR for those 35 mins. Plus walking, playing sports with my 10-year old son, and other activities.

I am a male and in my very early 50s - not sure if hormones play a part but will check.

I haven't followed the DASH diet to the letter but do watch the sodium intake from processed foods very much.

Emptying the mind of all thoughts for even 5 minutes daily will go a long way for me - mind relaxation - I am still trying to figure out how to learn to do that. Do you go to a group meditation class or do you do it solo? How did you start the learnning process for relaxing your mind?

- Dante
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 01:59 PM   #4
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

dante, you might also ask your doctor about changing your medication or dosage.

I added another drug to my anti-asthma/bronchitis/ENT arsenal. A few months later I realized I was not sleeping well, getting even mroe earaches than usual, more headaches and dizziness. Stopped taking Singulair--problem solved.
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 03:19 PM   #5
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante,

Are you taking any other medications? My BP was getting higher (140's/70's) and my family doctor had me stop taking OTC decongestant for allegies because it can raise BP. Also I take Rx anti inflammatory for back pain that can raise BP 20%. I tried low sodium with no effect. The doctor put me on low dose Beta blocker which lowered BP to the low 130's/low 60's.

I had been on a very low carb diet for about three years and went off of it a year ago. My weight, cholesterol and triglicerides all went way up along with the BP. I went back on the low carb diet on April 1st and have already lost 8 pounds. Dr. will check lipids again in July. I'm betting the readings will all greatly improve by then.

Low carb diet has worked very well for me, not just for weight loss but also has reduced or eliminated other symptoms (stomach problems, migranes, headaches, etc.). I don't know if it will eliminate the need for the BP Rx but I will give it a chance to see.

Grumpy
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 03:25 PM   #6
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

astromeria - very interesting that the new drug's side effects were so strong. Glad your symptoms went away when you stopped taking it.

I have been on the same bp pill for 15+ years and when I asked the doc about perhaps my body developing "immunity" to it after all this time he said no - the pill dosage has been increased but I would like to bring the bp level down through stress management and relaxation techniques if possible.

Incidentally, I haven't been getting earaches but I get this ringing in the ear in the middle of the night which wakes me up and then I can't fall asleep. I went to an ENT and he gave me the full-blown hearing exam - everything came out normal and his comment also was that the ringing was stress related and will go away when I calm down. * *

It is still there and only manifests itself when I am lying down and have been asleep for some time. Very troubling.

Grumpy - The other medication I take is Lipitor 10 mg and all blood test readings are within normal ranges. Weight is 155 lbs for 5'8"- pretty average.

I am also trying to cut down on rice and bread and other high carb foods but it is really difficult. I agree with you - I have found that I am not too sodium-sensitive and drastic reduction of sodium intake has had very little effect.

- Dante
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 03:59 PM   #7
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante
I have also noticed that being able to fall asleep and/or to continue sleeping for 6-7 hours has become impossible with out a sleep aid.
Do you snore? If so, get a sleep test. You may have sleep apnea, and one of the side effects of apnea is increased blood pressure due to stress hormone production.

Also, get your thyroid hormone levels checked if you haven't already.
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 04:09 PM   #8
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante,
I tool the Blue line back from O'Hare just to post about this. How bout a $2 tranfer ticket back?

Dude, like you I am 5'10-5/8" (Tae Kwon Do fitness) and 157 pounds. I run again, spar and lift some wieghts. My BP was about 130/80 and then the docs jumped in.

Somehow lack of exercise due to operations and restrictions required me to take a Statin and Toprol. I don't feel the gain.

I refuse Lipitor, I know several 55-65s taking it and getting lots of pain, sleep, etc.
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 04:48 PM   #9
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante - exercise is great. Keep it up. Your numbers post exercise BP numbers should drop below your average for a few hours after exercise.

As astromenia (sorry ) stated in a post above, maybe your meds needs to be looked at.

Also, grumpy brings up an excellent point regarding carbohydrates. When I was on the South Beach diet my average BP was 110/75.

As for mediation, The Relaxation Response written by Herbert Benson, MD is a great book. Your local library should have a copy.


Also, I may add, I have major white coat syndrome. My BP is always on the high side (140 to 150/80) in the doctor's office. Always. Do you have white coat as well?
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 05:06 PM   #10
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

sorry?
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 05:35 PM   #11
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Old Age Pensioner - Instead of the $2 transfer ticket I would invite you for a healthy lunch - I live in Winnetka, not too far from you (relatively speaking).

Whereabouts are you?

Are you able to keep the chol level in check w/o the statin?

- dANTE

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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 05:57 PM   #12
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante,

About a year ago I also suffered from stress induced high blood pressure. iIam convinced that one of the culprits was worry and negative self-talk thoughts going through my mind while I worked. I started paying attention to what I was thinking about during the day and tried to change my negative/worry self-talk into more positive and proactive thoughts to reduce stress. I also took an excellent mindfulness-based meditation course and now meditate do deep breething when I feel stressed. As a result of doing these "mind over body" activities, I was able to bring my blood pressure back to normal.

JoJo
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 06:30 PM   #13
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

You might also try magnesium (get the kind like magnesium maleate, or magnesium citrate--it's absorbed better). 300-600 mg, taken in the evening (start with 300 first). Magnesium needed to relax muscles (including the muscles that line the arteries). Many of us have a deficiency.

Get a month's supply and see if it helps. Not expensive and won't harm you if it doesn't work. Obviously, don't change anything else in your routine, so you know if it makes the difference.

R
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 06:46 PM   #14
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante,
I've diligently listed to my SHPS nurses for 5 months about my CAD.

Here is what I've gathered as keepers:

1. Your liver is prettty much pre-programmed to produce LDL at a give rate (heriditary).
2. Exercize will help it to produce additional HDL and thats good.
3. Statin drugs will slow the liver with that pre-programmed LDL rate.

So take a Statin (big choice), exercise, don't shove in any bad cholesterol in foods and hey you, might be a winner.
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 06:55 PM   #15
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante,
Seriously see Dr. David Mehlman at Northwestern ( he is not my doctor) but he really impressed me with his approach.

Not a young zealot, he is about 50 yo. He stresses diet and exercise.
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 07:03 PM   #16
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante,
One little gem the SHPS nurse told me>

1. Once you have done the cholesterol damage (Plaque buildup). There are many years of repair required.


But she said, be good anyway.
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 10:02 PM   #17
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Great suggestions, folks.

OldAgepensioner: Is Dr. Mehlman an internist or a cardiologist? I will look him up.

I have been on Lipitor for only a year and have dreaded the side effects all along - memory loss, muscle aches are the well publicized ones but there may be more more - however, an amazing number of 40-50 year olds that I know are on that drug.

Sparkee - Will the magnesium interact with the Lipitor or Zestril in any way, do you think? If not, I will most definitely try it. Did you get it from Walgreens or CVS type drugstore or a natural/ health food store?

JoJoGirl - Very intrigued by your success. How did you train your mind to drown the negative worry thoughts or to slow down the hyperactivity in it? How long did it take? Where did you take the meditation class? University or commercial?

Wab - I snore (per my wife and son) but have not had sleep apnea, at least that I know of. Would the Ear Nose Throat Specialist have caught it or considered it - he didn't ask me about it. What is involved in a sleep test? Where is it administered?

cube-rat - I definitely have the white coat syndrome. My internist is my wife's younger brother (in fact I just had dinner at his house) and he discounts the reading by a few points to account for it. I have a Target digital bp monitor that I have used over the years but for the last few weeks I have stopped measuring my bp because I was overdoing it and it was adding to my anxiety.

Dante

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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-22-2006, 10:24 PM   #18
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante
Wab - I snore (per my wife and son) but have not had sleep apnea, at least that I know of. Would the Ear Nose Throat Specialist have caught it or considered it - he didn't ask me about it. What is involved in a sleep test? Where is it administered?
If you tell the ENT that you snore and you're having trouble sleeping, he'll probably refer you to a sleep specialist.

Sleep apnea is sort of interesting.* * Estimates are that 24% of adult men have it, and most of them don't know it.

They can test for it a couple of ways.* *One simple test is to put an oximeter on your finger while you sleep and observe your blood O2 saturation.* *If O2 isn't making it to your finger, it's because your body is conserving it for the core, and you probably have apnea.* * A better test is to hook up electrodes and monitor your brain activity during sleep.* *Another side of effect of apnea is that you don't get much REM or restful sleep since you're always being aroused by sort of a dive reflex when your O2 levels get too low.

Random link:

http://www.entcolumbia.org/osa.htm
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-23-2006, 07:50 AM   #19
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

dante,
- I don't have any experience with this isometric exercise device, so I can't say it's effective. Still, it seems like it >>might<< work. I'd want to see some real peer-reviewed articles on the approach before I plunked down any money.

- I know they market it heavily to aviators who want to control BP without medications, if possible.
Caveat emptor.
http://www.cardiogrip.com/Home/default.htm


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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,
Old 04-23-2006, 12:15 PM   #20
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Re: Non-conventional treatment for hypertension,

Dante,

It took several months to train my mind to calm down. I hadn't realized taht I was always worrying in my head about certain things going on in my life. I read an excellent book and followed the suggestions - for some stupid reason I didn't write down the name of the book but the title had to do with reducing anxiety. Basically the advice was to observe your "inner chatter" during pauses that you have in your day. Pay attention to what it is saying, what are the mental pictures, what are the physical feelings? Evaluate this inner talk - how is it making you feel? Change the negative inner talk to positive inner talk - what would I rather be hearing? what is the positive intention behind these anxious inner thoughts? The author said that many people get into a "toxic anxiety" cycle through negative thoughts during their day that causes stress, high blood pressure etc. By making yourself aware of these thoughts and proactively changing the messages, you can have a significant impact on your body's physical responses. As you do this, you will notice trends like when certain thoughts are in your head, you take shorter breaths, you get more anxious etc. You have to try to get at these unresolved issues and deal with them, understand what these thoughts mean on a deeper level. If you can fix the mind, you can fix the body's reactions. JoJo
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