John had spiked blood pressure. His numbers shot to 162/96 on his recent physical. The doctor immediately put him on heart medication.
John did not like that. He considered himself healthy and he never thought he would end up filling out prescriptions for his heart. He was not checking his BP, because he felt OK and his doctor always said that things looked good.
In good health, at least on the surface
John was under an undeniable impression that he is in good health. His doctor never suggested otherwise. John had no pain and seldom got sick. He liked his job, he had a happy family and his life was uneventful. He did not smoke and believed that he ate better than an average person. Thus he could not understand why he suddenly had high blood pressure and why his health declined from good to bad in a matter of a day.
His wife brought him to me. He was reluctant. Why? He already had a doctor. He didn’t need two. But his wife knew how to persuade him.
There was more besides spiked blood pressure
We had a chat on what he thought about his condition and why he ended up with spiked blood pressure. He thought it was genetic and other than that he was in good health. He thought that his weight of 200 lb for his height of 5’8” was normal and that cereal is a good breakfast.
He thought that bladder interrupted sleep was a common occurrence in males, and his spider veins on the face was hereditary. He believed that his skin tags were random, so was redness of his gums and absence of several teeth. He also excused his ankle swelling saying he stood a lot. His wife added a few symptoms to the list including loud snoring, joint stiffness, and headaches.
Blood revealed the reason behind erratic blood pressure
I did the physical and sent him for a more comprehensive blood work. He was nervous during the meeting. His blood pressure was sky high and his heart was racing at 96 per minute. He said very little and looked somehow confused about his condition and the reasons behind it.
His blood work came back with a few red flags. The gallbladder was congested, protein waste was accumulating, inflammation was raging, electrolytes were all over the place, and sugar was in the prediabetic zone. His blood was thick, microcirculation was bad, toxic by-products harming the heart was above the range, and he was dehydrated on top of that. He was shocked. Why the other doctor did not tell him that? He only gave him blood pressure medication and sent him for an angiogram.
Cholesterol blocked his arteries
Angiogram revealed that one of his heart arteries was nearly completely blocked. Once he read the results his doctor put John on cholesterol meds, blood thinners, aspirin, additional hypertensive meds as well as nitroglycerine spray and strongly suggested an angioplasty.
How could that be? One day he was healthy and the next he was lined up for a heart procedure while counting his daily meds. He was devastated. He thought of himself as a robust man only to feel like an old and vulnerable weakling a few days after the diagnosis.
The prospect of angioplasty and forever meds did not appeal to him, so we proceeded with a rescue plan.
- Five types of fluctuating blood pressure
- Fluctuations, dips and spikes explained
- Hypertension 101
- What’s your score?
The causes behind spiked blood pressure and blocked arteries
Before we could put the plan together we had to discover the reasons behind his high numbers and cholesterol deposits in the arteries. His spiked blood pressure did not come from nowhere. His comprehensive blood work and other tests were very helpful in that matter. They showed that John had:
Inflammation is at the core of atherosclerosis. It is raging inflammation, not high cholesterol that is behind arterial blockage. Lowering cholesterol in hope it could reverse atherosclerosis without reducing inflammation is childish. It is like trying to stop a red nose by avoiding tomatoes.
Few consider that hypertension could be a natural physiological compensation for poor blood circulation and poor oxygenation. Too bad, because boosting oxygenation and microcirculation returns blood pressure to normal. Test oxygen
Nutrition is the backbone of health. Prolonged nutritional deficiencies result in symptoms and diseases. Spiked blood pressure is not any different. John was specifically short in nutrients that were responsible for keeping the blood thin. Test body minerals.
John did not just have one type of waste accumulated. There were several red flags pointing to long-term health mismanagement. Some accumulated toxins contributed to thickness of the blood, some were directly responsible for accelerating arterial blockage.
High oxidative stress
John suffered high oxidative stress that was perpetuated by his low nutrient diet. His dietary choices instead of making him stronger and healthier only supported inflammation and contributed to more waste. His diet was seriously lacking antioxidants and without them inflammation was even more damaging. Test oxidative damage.
Health is a skill, not a pill
John turned out to be a great patient. He listened carefully and applied himself dutifully. He trusted that his high blood pressure can be reversed was confident that with his diligence he would not have to meet a team of heart surgeons. His dedication paid off. Three months later he is in top health.
Reversing heart disease
He has dramatically changed his way of eating and so far he lost 20 lbs. He stopped eating junk and processed items disguising themselves as health food such as cereals, low fat yogurt or orange juice. He also parted with his beloved biscotti and fried goodies. He hesitantly, but eventually, started to use salt shaker, eggs, and meat in his meals. He put emphasis on bowel health and maximized soluble fibre and added some heart-friendly foods to his diet. Here is the summary
- Heated oils and fats as in fried eggs, breaded chicken, roasted nuts, fried rice, commercial sauces; these contributed to inflammation
- Sugar as in biscotti, fruit juices, fruit salads; they contributed to fatty liver, which contributed to weight gain
- Processed foods as in breakfast cereals, cream cheese, take out dinners, coffee shop treats; these had little nutrients, lots of chemicals, and very little health potential
- Low fat foods as in yogurt, plain toast, meals without fats; these contributed to sugar swings and disruption in energy supply
- High citrate foods e.g. lemon juice, oranges; these foods increase blood fluidity
- High antioxidant foods e.g. foods high in ORAC, cocoa, spices, pomegranate; these help reduce effects of inflammation; Get a rack of antioxidants
- Foods high in nitric oxide e.g. beetroots, lettuce, spinach, leek and celery; they open blood vessels and improve microcirculation. Test nitric oxide
- Soluble fibre e.g. carrots, broccoli, potatoes, squash, Brussel’s sprouts; soluble fibre removes excess cholesterol from the intestines.
- High sulfur foods e.g. garlic, eggs yolks, onions, cabbage, and coconut milk; they improve detoxification, and help reduce oxidative stress.
- Quality saturated fats from organic sources e.g. egg yolks, butter, coconut oil, ghee; despite negative press unprocessed saturated fats are good for the body
- Slow-cooked animal protein as in grass fed beef, bison, or game; red meat is an excellent source of nutrients, provided it comes from a healthy animal, not from stressed animal shadows that originate in commercial farms
There were, of course, a few other suggestions including supplements, but for the simplicity sake I am omitting them here.
The victory over cholesterol and spiked blood pressure
After changing the diet John stabilized, gained energy and was able to move about without having an elephant sitting on his chest. He started brisk walking and eventually did some long hikes. He no longer felt shortness of breath or was burdened by a sudden body weakness. His bulging belly started to retract and his face lost a few spider veins. He snored less, his ankles no longer swelled and joints got limber again.
In a short time nearly all his blood parameters normalized. He dropped all the meds and stayed just on a few supplements. Last time I measured his blood pressure it was at 125/80 with a normal pulse of 68.
Now he has absolutely no symptoms even with strenuous physical exertion and he is full of energy. He feels that lifestyle changes and health education did more for him than all the meds his doctor put him on. He is joking that the surgeons will have to work on someone else, likely someone who only has one doctor, because for him blocked arteries or spiked blood pressure are no longer an issue.
PS. My upcoming books will explain “whys” and “whats” of cholesterol and high blood pressure in more details.