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Old 03-05-2012, 06:52 AM   #21
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At age 58, my blood pressure fluctuates around the border between pre-hypertension and stage 1 hypertension, despite my being at an ideal weight, exercising a lot, not smoking, not drinking much
At age 69, exercising on the elliptical ~ 80 minutes a day, non-smoker, one glass of wine per day, and one coffee, potassium levels generally in the 'high normal' range, and zero added sodium (with minimal intake of sodium-bearing processed foods), I'm in a similar situation.

My doctor had me on low dosages of a diuretic and Apo-Ramipril, both of which he discontinued after I modified my diet, (had gotten into the (insidious) habit of eating pie and drinking chocolate milk, and my weight crept up, despite the exercise)......I'm currently, at 6', around 175lbs and the doc considers my BP 'satisfactory'.

However......even when I was marathon training, (I managed one in 1984, before my knees gave out), at 172lbs, my BP/heart rate was never as good as that of my running mates.........and I'm inclined to suspect high cortisol levels as the culprit, although since the BP is now 'under control', it isn't currently an issue, although, of course, it can present a whole lot of 'other' problems.....then again, what doesn't?

(All the above is just off the top of my head, with no corresponding data available so I can't provide readings.)
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:19 AM   #22
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Have you measured your BP after sweating a lot? Say you go running and lose 2 to 3 lbs of weight, what is your BP then?
I usually get low readings after a hard workout. In the past I've taken readings at different times, with different activities, and there is a lot of variation.

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Cool as a cucumber on the surface but evidently my body’s not convinced.

Same here. When a doc first explained white-coat hypertension, I thought "But I'm not anxious."But apparently I am. And now that BP is an issue...

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Do you have regular check-ups with blood work? If so, where have the sodium levels been? If your levels are well within range every year then you probably are okay.
I don't have any in which the electolytes were measured.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:28 AM   #23
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Secondly, are you measuring on both the arms or only one? I came across some new findings where it was mentioned that you should take measurement on both the arms and if you can, take lying as well as standing. The article was not very clear on how or what kind of difference does it make to the measurement and any supporting data. You may want to keep separate set of data with this, to see if you see any difference.

Questions -
- You mentioned about use of NaCl+KCl mixture, could you please cite the product? I started using Mrs Dash instead of salt. I was planning to try Miso (low sodium) but it won't go with every preparation.
- You started Magnesium supplements, what salt/compound of magnesium are you using and how much daily? (Do you see any change in your BM pattern?)

I am trying all these BP stuff because I get severe migraines and I am on Verapamil as a prophylactic. Last time I went to my neuro, my BP was 135/90.
My understanding of the two arms thing, is that once in your life at least you should measure in both arms. If the readings are significantly different, it may indicate a problem. I tried that and they were the same.

Here is the Sodium/Potassium mixture:

Morton Salt | Morton® Lite Salt

and the sodium-free:

Morton Salt | Morton® Salt Substitute

I take 400 mg Magnesium Citrate 2x per day. Gastrointestinal system different but OK (I'll leave it at that).

I recommended this book to my sister who has migraines.

Amazon.com: The Magnesium Solution for Migraine Headaches (9780757002564): Jay S. Cohen: Books
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:12 AM   #24
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Interesting stuff, but I'm curious about this bullet point in your 2nd post:

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Hypertension is a symptom of an underlying cellular problem, and drugs that lower BP are simply treating the symptom, not the root cause. As a result, reducing BP to a normal level with drugs does not reduce cardiovascular problems to a normal level
It seems like a disconnect to me, to make the above statement, but then not address that issue with the sodium/potassium ratio (maybe it is addressed elsewhere?).

IOW, he says that drugs are merely treating the symptoms by lowering BP (there may be something to that), but when you see lower BP from sodium/potassium, it must be treating the root cause, not just the symptoms? How does he come to this conclusion?

-ERD50
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:00 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Interesting stuff, but I'm curious about this bullet point in your 2nd post:



It seems like a disconnect to me, to make the above statement, but then not address that issue with the sodium/potassium ratio (maybe it is addressed elsewhere?).

IOW, he says that drugs are merely treating the symptoms by lowering BP (there may be something to that), but when you see lower BP from sodium/potassium, it must be treating the root cause, not just the symptoms? How does he come to this conclusion?

-ERD50
He presents evidence that a higher potassium/sodium ratio not only decreases BP but also reduces the incidence of other problems, unlike drugs.

He spends a lot of the book discussing the membrane pumps that move sodium and potassium in and out of the cell (other pumps also), showing how they do not work optimally when potassium levels are low. He shows how these problems lead to hypertension.

He has a model for what is going on, and presents predictions based on that model:

predict1.jpgpredict2.jpg
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:10 AM   #26
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He presents evidence that a higher potassium/sodium ratio not only decreases BP but also reduces the incidence of other problems, unlike drugs.
OK, thanks. I guess it is Chapters 5 & 6 that would be most interesting. The other items just seem to confirm that BP is lowered, which prescribed drugs also do.

Like the discussion on statins, does changing this number result in higher QOL? Hopefully so.


BTW, and going off the top of my head here, but I think you can use potassium in place of sodium in water softeners. This might be a good way to move those ratios for people using water softeners.

-ERD50
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:26 AM   #27
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I usually get low readings after a hard workout. In the past I've taken readings at different times, with different activities, and there is a lot of variation.
My hypothesis is that if you sweat a lot, then the water has to come from somewhere. Some of it will come from blood, so you reduce the volume of the blood in your body. If you reduce the volume of blood and it is going through the same size circulatory system, then your blood pressure has got to be lower.

It is true that systolic blood pressure goes up when doing a treadmill stress test, but I think that just helps to stretch out your blood vessels and make their total volume bigger.

As for variation with different times and activities, I hypothesize that the activities where you do not lose water (sweat), your BP will be higher than with activities where you lose lots of water.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:44 AM   #28
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I had never heard anything before about the sodium/potassium relationship, very interesting.

I also take a small coated aspirin/day as a preventative, anyone else here with HBP taking a small coated aspirin?
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:15 PM   #29
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My hypothesis is that if you sweat a lot, then the water has to come from somewhere. Some of it will come from blood, so you reduce the volume of the blood in your body. If you reduce the volume of blood and it is going through the same size circulatory system, then your blood pressure has got to be lower.

It is true that systolic blood pressure goes up when doing a treadmill stress test, but I think that just helps to stretch out your blood vessels and make their total volume bigger.

As for variation with different times and activities, I hypothesize that the activities where you do not lose water (sweat), your BP will be higher than with activities where you lose lots of water.
Your conclusion is likely true, but remember that the arterioles which are the vascuar resistance sub-system, are not only passive pipes. They are dynamically responsive neuromuscular systems. It is usually incomplete to think about physiological matters purely mechanistically.

Ha
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:25 PM   #30
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Your conclusion is likely true, but remember that the arterioles which are the vascuar resistance sub-system, are not only passive pipes. They are dynamically responsive neuromuscular systems. It is usually incomplete to think about physiological matters purely mechanistically.

Ha
Yep. The Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC has some nice exhibits on exactly this.
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:00 PM   #31
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Do you have regular check-ups with blood work? If so, where have the sodium levels been? If your levels are well within range every year then you probably are okay.
I don't have any in which the electolytes were measured.
That's a shame. My annual physical, paid for by my insurance, includes these tests. I've looked back over the last 5 years and the Na and K levels have hardly budged, with both being middle of the range.

I've been concerned about my bp for a few years which has been in the 120 - 140 range, sometimes into the 140's, but nearly always below 80 on the low end.

In that time period I've mentioned it to the Doc but when both he and the nurse have measured it was normal, in fact at my physical 2 years ago it was 98/55, so I wondered if I had the reverse of white coat syndrome.

However, at my physical last week it was 135/90, but the doc wasn't the least bit concerned since all other health factors are normal. I took it myself last night and it was 122/66.

I've decided to just forget it unless I get regular readings over 140, and accept that getting older means that the artery walls do lose some elasticity as one ages (I'm 57).

I did have a treadmill stress test 3 years ago and was amazed at how high the bp got, but the cardiologist said that was perfectly normal.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:42 AM   #32
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You're probably already watching your vitamin D levels, but if you're not, maybe you might want to look into that too... :-)

In a study the crude odds ratio (risk) of being hypertensive was almost five times higher for those with 25(OH)D levels less than 15 ng/ml compared to those above 40 ng/ml.
Source: Bhandari SK, Pashayan S, Liu IL, Rasgon SA, Kujubu DA, Tom TY, Sim JJ. 25-hydroxyvitamin d levels and hypertension rates. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011 Mar;13(3):170-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7176.2010.00408.x. Epub 2010 Dec 22.
25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and ... [J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011] - PubMed - NCBI

Vitamin D supplementation and 1,25-(OH)2D3 treatment reduced blood pressure in hypertensive and hyperparathyroidism patients.
Source: Mehta RG, Hussain EA, Mehta RR, Das Gupta TK 2002 Chemoprevention of mammary carcinogenesis by 1 -hydroxyvitamin D5, a synthetic analog of vitamin D. Mutat Res 523–524:253–264.

Low serum vitamin D levels appear to be independently associated with the development of prehypertension.
Source: Sabanayagam C. Abstract 21058. Presented at: American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2010; Nov. 13-17, 2010; Chicago. Prehypertension linked to low vitamin D
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:02 AM   #33
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did you stop taking the CoQ10?
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:04 PM   #34
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Yes, I stopped the CoQ10, because it wasn't helping.
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Two-Month Update
Old 03-27-2012, 10:07 AM   #35
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Two-Month Update

It's now been two months since drastically reducing sodium, and increasing consumption of potassium rich foods, and taking magnesium and calcium supplements. Here's the continuation of the graph at the beginning of the thread:



And here is a graph covering only the recent experiment:



Note that each data point represents the average of the last five readings.

At the start I was taking a Magnesium/Calcium supplement, but since it seemed to be causing constipation, I switched to magnesium only on Feb 13. Because the BP was rising, I added calcium back (with more fiber) on March 4.

Remember that I take these measurements in a very standard way. I wake up in the morning, get dressed, sit down, wait 1.5 minutes, and take the reading. The readings are good for standardization, but don't give a good indication of my general BP. Here are some measurements that I've taken at other times of the day:



They are generally lower, with the lowest being 104/75. BTW, there's a very nice free app for the iPhone called BP Companion, that makes it easy to record the data.

-------------------------------

It's hard to say whether this regimen is working, or whether I'm just recovering from the increase I saw in Dec/Jan. My numbers were significantly better in early October. But this latest trend is encouraging.

I've continued to keep the sodium as low as possible. Even with no added NaCl, I've figured that I get enough sodium from the foods I'm eating. This is a difficult thing -- I'm getting sick of spinach, and there are a lot of things I can't eat with this regimen (most cheeses, restaurant food). I'm hoping I can be less stringent in the future. I've eaten a lot of almonds, roasted then coated with butter and KCl. I expected my weight to go up, but it has not.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:28 AM   #36
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It's now been two months since drastically reducing sodium, and increasing consumption of potassium rich foods, and taking magnesium and calcium supplements. Here's the continuation of the graph at the beginning of the thread:



And here is a graph covering only the recent experiment:



Note that each data point represents the average of the last five readings.

At the start I was taking a Magnesium/Calcium supplement, but since it seemed to be causing constipation, I switched to magnesium only on Feb 13. Because the BP was rising, I added calcium back (with more fiber) on March 4.

Remember that I take these measurements in a very standard way. I wake up in the morning, get dressed, sit down, wait 1.5 minutes, and take the reading. The readings are good for standardization, but don't give a good indication of my general BP. Here are some measurements that I've taken at other times of the day:



They are generally lower, with the lowest being 104/75. BTW, there's a very nice free app for the iPhone called BP Companion, that makes it easy to record the data.

-------------------------------

It's hard to say whether this regimen is working, or whether I'm just recovering from the increase I saw in Dec/Jan. My numbers were significantly better in early October. But this latest trend is encouraging.

I've continued to keep the sodium as low as possible. Even with no added NaCl, I've figured that I get enough sodium from the foods I'm eating. This is a difficult thing -- I'm getting sick of spinach, and there are a lot of things I can't eat with this regimen (most cheeses, restaurant food). I'm hoping I can be less stringent in the future. I've eaten a lot of almonds, roasted then coated with butter and KCl. I expected my weight to go up, but it has not.
Thanks for this presentation. I have one coment, and one question. Comment-Trader Joe imports and sells an Emmentaler which according to the label is 50 mg Na+ per oz- about 1/4 to 1/3 of most cheeses.

And the question- many low carb gurus claim that on low carb diet you need to deliberately supplement with additional sodium. I certainly have not noticed that, but wonder if you notice anything. I do notice that the muscle cramps that I used to get regularly have pretty much disappeared, as long as I keep my K+ and Mg++ adequate.

Ha
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:32 AM   #37
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Thanks for this presentation. I have one coment, and one question. Comment-Trader Joe imports and sells an Emmentaler which according to the label is 50 mg Na+ per oz- about 1/4 to 1/3 of most cheeses.

And the question- many low carb gurus claim that on low carb diet you need to deliberately supplement with additional sodium. I certainly have not noticed that, but wonder if you notice anything. I do notice that the muscle cramps that I used to get regularly have pretty much disappeared, as long as I keep my K+ and Mg++ adequate.

Ha
Yes, I eat Swiss cheese now and then.

No, I haven't had any cramps since starting this.

Something else related to supplements: I used to get frequent heart palpitations. My doc confirmed that these were nothing to worry about, even though I was getting them almost every day.

When I took magnesium, they were reduced by about 50% after one day, and after five days they were gone. I couldn't believe it, and I stopped the Mg and they came back. Started again and they went away.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:37 AM   #38
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Haven't read all other responses but here are my 2 cents.

Secondly, are you measuring on both the arms or only one? I came across some new findings where it was mentioned that you should take measurement on both the arms and if you can, take lying as well as standing.
You should also take your blood pressure manually, and not use any of the automatic cuffs. If you have deep, or small veins, the automatic cuffs do not give an accurate reading.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:47 AM   #39
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You should also take your blood pressure manually, and not use any of the automatic cuffs. If you have deep, or small veins, the automatic cuffs do not give an accurate reading.
Yes, I suspect that there's a lot of variability introduced by the automatic cuff that I have. OTOH perhaps it is more objective. And I think you mean "arteries."
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Stress and Diet
Old 03-28-2012, 01:32 AM   #40
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Stress and Diet

My wife and I both had hypertension but we decided to retire early to Europe to get away from the unhealthy foods which are prevalent in the US regardless of your source. We live in Hungary now where no GM foods are permitted, no pesticides are legal here so all food is organic. There are also no foods coming from South America and nothing has any additives or preservatives. We drink locally produced mineral water locally grown wine and eat a healthy diet but most of all no more stress at all. All of our health problems have disappeared. My wife and I both had serious hypertension, gastric reflux disease and early Type II diabetes plus the added complication of gall stones. We both were on high dose lipitor (probably what caused the gall stones and certainly what caused my cataracts) and I also had BPH. We have both stopped all drug therapy and all symptoms have either dramatically reduced or disappeared altogether. We deal with the GARD with a bed that has foot head elevation and keep our heads elevated so that also is a manageable issue. The gall stones have disappeared and our cholesterol levels are now back to acceptable limits without any statins. So, I can attest that changing your life style can make dramatic improvements in your health. All of the issues about sodium and potassium may be correct but basically the answer is to eat well, lower your stress, and get away from unhealthy stuff. The air and water are clean here and we can enjoy a vigorous exercise regimen and eat extremely well on mostly organically grown foods. We also cut out anything "white" in our diet which includes potatoes and rice and try and limit any pasta to once a week or less. We have a healthy green salad and small portion of pork, chicken, fish, or turkey plus a vegetable side dish. We do not limit butter and use olive oil in food preparation. We drink green and/or black tea daily, have 2 cups of espresso a day, and drink 1 glass of red wine (Merlot or Cabernet) daily. We get our fish either locally from friends who fish or Norwegian Salmon. We have fish at least 4 times a week. Breakfast consists of cottage cheese (Eastern European version) plus Greek yogurt and jam. Lunch is a sandwich usually of salami or ham slices. Mostly we drink carbonated mineral water at least 1 liter a day. Desserts are limited but typically I make date/coconut, almond balls, date bars, apple pie, cookies or something similar. We also make our own (Tibetan) kefir and drink 250 ml every evening before bedtime. For us, this all works wonderfully but it requires a commitment to change your lifestyle completely.
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