Healthy Blood Pressure

I had planned to do a series on the different endocrine glands, but decided to take this month to talk about high blood pressure. It seemed appropriate, first because there are so many factors that can play a part in this imbalance and secondly because this is a month for gratitude, a very important tool in managing high blood pressure.

Let's take a brief glance at what blood pressure is. It consists of the higher number (top number) which is called the systolic. This is the measure of the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills these arteries with blood. The lower number (bottom number) is the measure of the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. I won't take the time to talk about the symptoms associated with high blood pressure because very often they do not appear unless the pressure is very high or has been high for a long time.

According to most literature, the exact cause is not known; however, there are many contributing factors. Most people know the common ones, so I won't take the time to talk about them but rather will talk about the things that I would look at from a BioEnergetic perspective. From this standpoint we do not want to artificially lower or force the issue but allow the body to naturally fall into balance. As I mention in each article, an imbalance with whatever name it is given, is simply that - an imbalance. Again from that perspective, if given the right tools the body will balance itself. Your body is balancing itself even as you read this article, or you wouldn't be alive. Balancing blood pressure can be a lengthy process since so many vital organs play a role. Organs and systems need to be rebalanced and at the same time the communication between these rebalanced systems also needs to be restored.

Kayaking down the river
So what are some of the organs and systems involved in regulating the blood pressure? One of the first place I look is the hypothalamus, the topic of last month's article. Our body works from top down. If something "at the top" is out of balance, so will anything below it. I could go crazy giving examples of this, but I will spare you (smile).  If the hypothalamus is off, the rest of your body will automatically be at a disadvantage. The hypothalamus creates our thirst response and manages the inter-cellular and extra-cellular fluid. It is also directly tied into the nervous system. We all know that stress can cause elevated blood pressure, and the hypothalamus along with the adrenals helps to regulate our response to stress. We can also look at the stress response in relationship to our digestion. If digestion is off, the body is not able to produce enough serotonin, a neurotransmitter vital to calming the nervous system. So we already can see that having a healthy hypothalamus, adrenals, and digestion are key in the proper management of blood pressure.

The kidneys are also a vital part of managing healthy blood pressure. We have all heard about the connection between salt and high blood pressure. It is interesting to note that long-term high stress combined with a high salt content appear to work synergistically to elevate blood pressure. Furthermore this stress can cause a restriction in the blood vessels in the kidneys and thus decrease the secretion of salt and water resulting in elevated fluid levels. Since both the kidneys and the adrenals help manage the sodium potassium pump, keeping both organs healthy will be of great benefit in managing the blood pressure.

The heart itself is not usually not a direct factor in blood pressure although the condition of the blood vessels is. Congested, rigid blood vessels that are not able to relax can contribute to an elevated blood pressure. It is interesting that in Chinese medicine the heart and the small intestine are on the same meridian (energy pathway). This brings us back to healthy digestion which is such a pivotal part of health.

Garden setting
Another thing that may not be obvious, but plays a significant role are the various metabolic syndromes that are increasing dramatically these days. When insulin is elevated and comes into contact with the interior wall of the arteries, it can cause damage. This damage will cause inflammation. Cholesterol will then accumulate or "get hung up" in these areas of inflammation resulting in a restriction in the blood flow through the vessels. This restriction will require more pressure from the heart's pumping action in order to move the blood through the vessels. When looking at the metabolism one must also look at the liver. If the liver is congested and is not able to do its job of filtering and eliminating, this can cause added stress on the kidneys and added stress on the circulatory system. Possible congestion in the liver is one of the first places I look when addressing healthy blood pressure.

In summary, there are multiple body systems and organs that are involved in maintaining healthy blood pressure. It is certainly more involved than just not eating salt and loosing weight. Having a healthy hypothalamus, neuroendocrine system, digestion, kidneys, and liver all play an important part in this process.


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