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Keeping blood pressure in check.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure (HBP), can occur for a long time period without any symptoms, giving it the name of a silent killer. Even when asymptomatic, the forceful blood flow will cause the vessels to harden, thicken, and narrow affecting blood flow to the body. High blood pressure can be an indicator for stroke, heart attack, heart and kidney disease. 

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. 

What leads to high blood pressure?

Factors you can't control: age, genetics

Factors you can control: stress, exercise, diet, tobacco and alcohol use.

What should I eat?

In addition to lowering sodium levels and increasing potassium (which keeps sodium levels in check) and eating a more plant based diet, here are some specific food recommendations from Chinese Medicine: celery, spinach, bananas, garlic, seaweed, apples, watermelon, plums, lemons, tomatoes,mushrooms, vinegar, and green tea.

Hypertension does not have a diagnosis in traditional Chinese Medicine, but like most health conditions involves a holistic approach.  Diagnosis is based on a collection of symptoms that create certain patterns.

Below are three patterns involving HBP that may be seen in isolation, or in combination.

Fire syndrome

Hypertension, flushed face, perspiration, thirst, headaches, vertigo, irritability,  insomnia.

Deficiency syndrome

Hypertension, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, tinnitus, digestive issues.

Fluid retention syndrome

Hypertension, dizziness, vertigo, palpitation, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, heavy feeling, fatigue.

Acupuncture, cupping, and Chinese herbal medicine can help keep blood pressure in check and can be used in addition to anti-hypertensive medications.

One way acupuncture has been shown to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure is through increasing Nitric Oxide levels. Nitric Oxide helps relax and dilate blood vessels which lowers blood pressure and increases circulation. Since we produce less of this signaling molecule as we age, boosting supply levels can be important for cardiovascular health.

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