Fluctuating blood pressure can mean two different things. It can either be a sign of great health or a sign of a complete health breakdown. Since every single one of us has fluctuating blood pressure, it is good to know which one you have.
First, know that blood pressure numbers are not random, but strictly follow the commands given by the nervous system. Good numbers mean that the nervous system functions well and that the circulatory system responds properly. Bad numbers not necessarily indicate that the heart is out of whack, but may point to a defective central nervous system signalling. Tracing blood pressure fluctuations can reveal a great deal about brain-heart communication.
When are blood pressure fluctuations healthy?
Contrary to a popular belief healthy blood pressure does not stay at 120/80 mmHg, but fluctuates according to body needs. BP spike has a purpose. Its job is to increase blood flow and oxygen supply to the body. Spikes are natural when the body is in need of extra energy, e.g. during physical exertion. Once the body’s extra energy needs get satisfied, blood pressure should return to its resting point, which is about 120/80 mmHg, or a little bit lower for an extra healthy.
Odd blood pressure spikes, the dividing point
Chronic disease is not something that shows up overnight, neither are cardiovascular troubles. Unhealthy numbers also creep up slowly. They look like nothing worrisome at first: an occasional spike during a doctor visit, a temporary elevation during a football game, and a slight increase before that impossible-to-meet deadline.
You know for sure you crossed the line between heathy and unhealthy when your doctor suggests “out of the blue” a gentle blood pressure lowering pill, even though you don’t have hypertension. Beware! Prevention is something you do on your own: eat healthy, exercise, relax and keep outdoors. Healthy people don’t need meds. Meds are prescribed to people who are unwell or believe they could be unwell in the near future.
Blood pressure numbers should never spike randomly; neither at the doctor’s office, nor at a sports bar. When the numbers go up without a reason, it is a warning sign that something is off in the cardio department. This is also the time when one should start re-evaluating lifestyle habits. Unless something changes today, there is a good chance that that occasional spike will grow to a monster hypertension tomorrow.
Why does it go up first?
Spikes are not the result of a confused heart, but its smart compensatory move to improve the body’s milieu. Studies suggest that the increase in blood pressure does not come from an ailing heart, but from plugged up pipes. As the pipes (arteries, arterioles, capillaries, etc) gradually close up, the heart pumps harder to compensate for the reduced pipe diameter. Those who understand hydraulics (blood flow) and pneumatics (oxygen distribution) know exactly what I am talking about and why hypertension is necessary to keep the flow in the pipes going. Poor blood flow, blocked micro-circulation, and low body oxygenation is what starts the road to cardiovascular disease.[i]
On the surface treating hypertension is easy. There are many different drugs that seem highly effective. From beta blockers to diuretics, there are plenty of choices. They all work great. They lower blood pressure either by slowing down heart beats, reducing brain-heart talk, or by telling the kidneys to remove fluids.BP guidelines download
There is only one problem. None addresses the underlying causes. None cleans up the pipes, improves microcirculation, or shoves more oxygen into the body. Ever wondered why hypertension gets worse over time? Now you have it: pills force BP numbers down, but do not make the body any healthier. If lifestyle does not change, the pipes will keep on getting smaller, oxygen-deprivation will deepen, and micro-circulation will stall. All that will be happening while the heart keeps on beating harder in attempt to fix the problem.
Somehow despite that obvious connection between dirty pipes and hypertension the only thing your doctor will keep on offering is yet a stronger BP pill. Only when the pipes get extra plugged and threaten with a heart attack, you will get a stent, or a bypass. Now you should be scratching your head with disbelief. Why not clean the pipes instead? Easy. Lifestyle changes cannot be patented. Pills and stents can.
- Hypertension does not kill!
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Dysautonomia – the final stage of heart troubles
With time, blocked microcirculation and oxygen insufficiency will affect every single body system. From circulatory problems to memory lapses and fatigue, many “old-age” symptoms will start popping up. Eventually the ischemia will also damage the nervous system, which will mark the onset of erratic and dysfunctional blood pressure fluctuations.
As the nervous system gets confused, it will send wrong signals to the heart and the blood vessels. Now the pressure instead of going up, it goes down without warning. Erratic heart beats, frustrating BP swing, and general system instability will rule.
At that stage many things go wrong. The central nervous system simply loses control over body functions. Mouth gets dry while the bladder voids at night, eyes don’t adjust to light, stomach does not digest, bowels get weird, erections don`t happen, the skin can’t produce sweat, memory fails, confusion sets in, and mere walking upstairs becomes a dangerous proposition. This is dysautonomia, a state when body automation no longer works.
Dysautonomia leads to the worse kind of blood pressure fluctuations. It is a major cause for falls in seniors. It frustrates both patients and doctors. Simply put.. there is no cure.
That`s not really true…
Did you know that the best way to deliver oxygen to the body and improve circulation is not a blood pressure pill, but… exercise? Did you know that those who exercise usually are free from hypertension? Did you know that the best intervention for dysautonomia is…. yes, you guessed it right… regular exercise?
Here you go… regardless whether you have high blood pressure, low blood pressure, swings, or fluctuations, scout out local gyms, dancing clubs, or badminton classes. Make those pipes flow again. Add to it other lifestyle tricks and you may beat your “incurably hereditary” hypertensive trait. Don’t wait around hoping for an announcement of a new miracle pill for fluctuating blood pressure. Won’t happen. Give it a good thought.
To read more on causes and solutions refer to The Ultimate Guide to Fluctuating Blood Pressure.