By Don Penven
Many of us have accepted the fact that the western diet often results in high blood pressure, but we must accept the fact that diet alone is not the culprit. According a to recent article I came across from Blue Heron Publishing, a new research report published in China tells us that one third of the adult population suffers from hypertension while NOT being exposed to our western lifestyles.
Granted, our American Fast Food industry is beginning to spread around the world, but fast food alone is not responsible for such high numbers of adults with high blood pressure. The Chinese research and the World Hypertension League says that more than 330 million Chinese citizens are hypertensive.
The medical community on Mainland China are appalled at the fact that 1 in 5 men aged 25-34 is afflicted. We must consider the fact that the western diet may be part of the problem… BUT NOT EVERYONE IN THE WORLD has access to it!
Thus, diet trends globally are a major contributor to hypertension, but it is obvious that we are not looking at the whole picture.
High blood pressure in Asia is a serious concern, and researchers dug into this condition and discovered that all peoples around the globe share one common problem to some degree. That problem is STRESS!
We can readily accept the fact that regardless of the continent one lives upon, sloppy eating habits will most likely continue to be a problem, but they are not the whole problem. Casting aside the dietary habits of countless millions of people all over the globe, research most frequently leads back to the common denominator—stress.
Medical Science has identified the 4 most often-recognized forms of stress:
Mental Stress – From those living highly complex lives to those with seemingly few concerns, mental stress develops from situations like making the credit card payment on time to will the heavy rains destroy the corn crop. Mental stressors are a factor in virtually everyone’s life—complicated or idyllic. Mental stress takes shape in the human brain and the brain uses from 20%-40% of blood oxygen. So the more mental stress we experience, the greater the blood flow needed. It takes elevated blood pressure to fill this need.
Physical Stress – Physical activity above the resting-state requires extra blood flow. A brisk walk or tossing a Frisbee to the family dog will cause a rise in blood pressure, but most of the time it drops back to normal when the exercise is stopped—but not always when the individual is hypertensive to begin with.
One may resort to exercise to outpace mental stress, but in that situation you have two problems working against you.
Sensory Stress – Sensory stress may begin innocently enough but at times it can cause significant spikes in blood pressure. Loud traffic noise or the clanging and banging of heavy machinery on the job are stressors. Even watching TV can elevate the blood pressure– especially if you are watching “Action” shows.
Emotional – Worry, worry, worry—we all fall victim to everyday worries. These may include concerns over a relationship with spouse or kids, neighbors or co-workers. And we often overwork emotional stress by dwelling on the problem instead of changing one’s thoughts to something more conducive to “peace of mind,” instead of “piece of mind.”
These 4 types of stress are single-handedly capable of punching up your blood pressure. But the real problem is that when the begin accumulate, that is, 2 or more stressors attack at the same time.
If you are currently undergoing treatment for high blood pressure, then you are aware of just what can result, health-wise, if it is allowed free range. Over time, high blood pressure can result in damage to internal organs, cardiac difficulties and stroke.
High blood pressure is often referred to as, “The Silent Killer.” Left unchecked, it will eventually live up to its namesake. Medical science and those who practice it will invariably reach for the prescription pad after giving a hypertensive diagnosis. Drugs will treat the symptoms but will not provide a cure. You have more control over your blood pressure than you can imagine.
My Blood Pressure reading on July 27, 2013. This is about 10 weeks after quitting smoking after more than 50 years. I still take medications–Atenolol and Lisinopril–but I’m only taking 1/2 of each tablet. The next time I see my Health Care provider, we’ll talk about discontinuing all HBP meds.