High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects one in three adults and millions have levels that are not controlled.
It's known as the silent killer because many individuals have never felt any symptoms. These symptoms can include fatigue, irregular heartbeat, vision problems, severe headaches, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.
You may also not fully understand the dangers associated with high blood pressure and the risks you might be facing.
So, what are the five facts on blood pressure?
- About 1 of 3 U.S. adults—67 million people—have high blood pressure.
- You can have high blood pressure and not know it. That is why it is called the silent killer. It is also why it is so important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
- Blood pressure is the force of blood on the walls of your blood vessels as blood flows through them. This pressure naturally rises and falls during the day, but when it is consistently too high, it is considered high blood pressure.
- Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is an all-natural supplement that has been clinically proven to improve high blood pressure.
- About 1,000 deaths each day are a result of untreated high blood pressure.
Nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board certified clinical nutritionist, Jim LaValle, shares the five facts on blood pressure and how you can prevent yourself from falling victim to the silent killer.
RadioMD Presents: HER Radio | Original Air Date: May 28, 2015
Hosts: Pam Peeke, MD & Michelle King Robson
Guest: James LaValle
It's all about her. Her body, her mind, her wellness, her sex, her relationships, her aging, her beauty. It's Her Radio starring acclaimed entrepreneur and women's advocate, Michelle King Robson and leading women's health expert, the doc who walks the talk, Dr. Pam Peeke.
DR. PAM: Hi. I'm Dr. Pam Peeke. Michelle's off today.
We're going to talk about the silent killer and that is high blood pressure. You know, you don't wear it on your sleeve. It's kind of hard to know. I'm a physician and I'm telling you that people walk around with blood pressure issues and are utterly clueless until they finally get the big headache or, God forbid, a stroke or something like this and the statistics are something else. One in three U.S. adults, 67 million people, have high blood pressure. You have it and you don't even know it. It's really important for us to pay a little bit of attention and, women, you better know it's affecting you, too. So, don't be looking around and saying, “Oh, that's a guy’s problem”. Not. Because, guess what? It’s heart disease. It's the number one killer for women, not breast cancer. So, please keep that in mind. So, when we're talking about blood pressure today we brought on board Dr. Jim LaValle. He is the author of Cracking the Metabolic Code: Nine Keys to Optimum Health. He is a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author and nutritionist and we want to welcome you to Her Radio, Dr. LaValle, because we want to talk about this whole issue of the silent killer. Why is it important to keep track of your blood pressure, Dr. LaValle?
DR. JIM: Well, I mean, blood pressure is one of the earliest things that will help you figure out, am I putting myself at risk for heart disease because as you mentioned, 50% of the time, the first sign of a heart attack is death. So, those aren't good odds. When you're blood pressure's high it puts you more at risk for stroke. The other thing is, is look for your blood pressures, when they start to trend high, it's a relation of how you're dealing with stress because a lot of people don't realize that when you have chronic stress the blood vessels get tight, the heart has to pump harder, the blood pressure goes up.
DR. PAM: I love it and, you know, here's another statistic: 1,000 deaths each day are result of untreated high blood pressure. You mentioned death. I don't want to be like a big downer here but, you know, it's a silent killer. It's a silent killer and that's really what it is and that's why it's referred to as a silent killer. So, what are some of the reasons? Keep it real simple here for all of our listeners in HER Radioland that contribute to high blood pressure.
DR. JIM: Some of the most basic reasons? One is stress. Chronic stress causes you to release more epinephrine and norepinephrine or adrenaline and noradrenaline and what those do is they make your arteries constrict. Your heart has to pump harder. The second thing is insulin resistance. When I gain weight and I pump out more insulin to try to get the blood sugar out of my blood stream, when I'm insulin resistant, making more insulin, insulin causes your vessels to constrict because it also causes your sympathetic nervous system to kick in, making more adrenaline and you lose your vagal tone. So, your heart, it loses its rhythmicity and your vessels lose their ability to be able to be pliable and expand and contract with the demands of your blood supply. The third would be low mineral status, low magnesium status and people aren't eating 12 servings of vegetables and fruit a day anymore and they're not eating pumpkin seeds. When you don't have enough magnesium in your body and this is even a U.S. government statistic, you have increased risk of diabetes, increased risk of metabolic syndrome which is pre- hypertension, pre-diabetes and it's been associated with elevated blood pressure. The other one that's important, of course, is environmental health pollutants. Lead has been associated with elevated blood pressure. That was the veteran’s normative aging study. So environments, nutrients, stress.
DR. PAM: Wow and when you talk about women out there. We're talking about oftimes diets are just not including all of our “strive for five,” you know, vegetables and fruits and the rest of it and magnesium is a huge issue here. As a pharmacist, tell us why magnesium is so important with regard to heart health and this whole issue of high blood pressure.
DR. JIM: Well, I mean, obviously when magnesium is needed for the relaxation of your blood vessels, magnesium helps to calm your nervous system and magnesium is essential for how your body makes energy and how you use your glucose in your body. So, magnesium fills in all the spots all around related to how your heart pumps, meaning you need to make energy for those cardiac muscles to contract and expand to regulating your glucose so that you don't make too much insulin so that you don't have the vascular resistance in your system. So, magnesium is really important. I'll tell you probably one of the best things out there: aged garlic extract is fantastic for regulating blood pressure especially in--
DR. PAM: Hold on. Hold on one second. Hold on, hold on. I want to get back to magnesium here for a second. So, women out there are saying, “Okay. Huh? Magnesium. Okay, so how am I going to get enough magnesium? So, in a supplement form, for instance, if they were to say, “Oh, my gosh. My diet is just never going to be, you know, excellent and on the nose.” So, if they were aiming for just a reasonable supplement how much should they be looking for?
DR. JIM: Well, I tell them 10mg per kilogram body weight or basically 5mg per pound. At least get 300mg of magnesium a day--elemental magnesium--today in their diet in the form of a pill. So, if you take three capsules of magnesium amino acid chelate per day, that's a good place to start. If you're experiencing restless leg syndrome, you know, your legs are twitching, you're getting muscle cramps, you're getting headaches, you're getting back spasms, you're suffering from anxiety or insomnia, you may need to take a little more magnesium, like 400 to 600 a day to see if that's the source of your issue.
DR. PAM: I think that's important for people to really stay in touch with. What if someone says, “I don't want to take supplements. I just want to get enough food.” Talk to us about magnesium rich foods.
DR. JIM: Well, that's the hard one. Right? Everyone's told, “Don't eat rice,” because rice is fairly high because it's a whole paleo world today. So, we're kind of doing anti-grain diets so that's out there and it's an issue. Pumpkin seeds are really highly in magnesium but you're going to have to eat a fair amount but they're great. Right?
DR. PAM: Love them. Love them.
DR. JIM: They're really good and healthy. They also provide a lot of zinc which is great for women's health in terms of producing estradiol and helping with their immune system. So, that's really quite good and then, of course, you know it's the whole thing of green leafy vegetables and especially vegetables because vegetables have that higher mineral content in them. So, it's get as much of the vegetables in as you can. I always try to tell people look to try to get six cups or three cups raw a day in minimum in addition to the fruits that you want to pick.
DR. PAM: And absolutely become one with your steamer. You know? Make it work. The other thing…Well, the other thing I want to make a big point about and, obviously, everyone who knows my background knows that I rant and rave about this daily, is lifestyle habits and that is physical activity. I don't mean the Olympic boot camp. I mean physical activity. Notice I didn't even say the “E” word--exercise. I just said, assume the vertical. Get up start moving and it is just absolutely miraculous what it does in terms of being able to help reverse a lot of the problems with high blood pressure. That is extremely important that you do that in addition to excellent nutrition and then finally, stress management like in a big way. We need stress management and as you've said, lack of sleep, toxic stress it leaves you feeling helpless, hopeless, and defeated. That's always a problem.
Everyone out there I have been talking to Dr. Jim LaValle. His book is Cracking the Metabolic Code: Nine Keys to Optimum Health and his website is www.jimlavalle.com, that's L-A-V-A-L-L-E .com. We've been talking about the silent killer. Everything you need to know about high blood pressure.
Thank you Dr. LaValle, I'm Dr. Pam Peeke with Michelle King Robson. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and please stay well.