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Understand Blood Pressure & What It Means

Conditions
Last Updated Sep 08, 2020

Our blood pressure is an important way of measuring our overall levels of health, and it is vital that it is maintained in a normal range.  One of the best ways to do this is through maintaining our weight, so in this article, we are looking at the relationship between blood pressure and weight, measures that can help control weight, and how to cope with low or high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure and Being Overweight

Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels.  It is generated by the heart pumping blood into the arteries and is regulated by the arteries in response to the flow of blood.    The current guidelines state that a normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80.  Anything over 130/80 is considered to be high.  Being overweight is one of the principal factors for high blood pressure. The higher your weight, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.  Changes in your body weight over time as well as your skin fold thickness are related to changes in your blood pressure levels.  These factors are linked to the rise and development of high blood pressure.

Metabolic Typing

Your metabolic type can help to explain why certain eating plans work and others do not.  Your metabolic type is determined by "dominance" in one of the two systems that are involved in energy production.  You may be oxidative dominant.  If you are, you will either be a fast oxidiser, a slow oxidiser, or a balanced oxidiser.  Or you may be autonomic dominant.  If you are, you will be sympathetic, parasympathetic, or a balanced autonomic.

Metabolic typing asserts that the nutrients that are balanced and appropriate for one person may not be right for another, and may even be harmful.  What may be acidifying for one person may be alkalising for another, for example.  Therefore, a person should eat a diet that is based on their own metabolic type for maximum nutrition and health.

Eating for your Blood Type

There are four blood type groups: O, A, B, and AB.  The O type is most common, followed by A, B, and lastly AB, which is the rarest of all.  People that have different blood types are unable to eat or digest the same foods equally.

People with an O blood type have the hardiest digestive systems, and are the meat eaters.  People with O blood type need animal protein, as well as fruits and vegetables.  However, carbohydrates should be kept to a minimum as they are unable to digest carbohydrates well.  People with O blood type tend to have a low thyroid level and sluggish metabolisms, so they should supplement their diets with sea kelp and seafood in order to obtain natural iodine to stimulate their thyroids. 

People with an A blood type have fragile digestive systems that are unable to tolerate animal protein well.  They are also usually lactose intolerant.  People with A blood type should avoid animal protein and dairy products and eat plenty of whole grain, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.  Tofu and Hawaiian spirulina are also beneficial.  Vitamin B12 supplementation may be required.

People with a B blood type can tolerate most foods wells, however they should avoid corn, buckwheat, lentils, peanuts, and sesame seeds as these foods can make them gain weight.

People with an AB blood type contain the best and worst aspects of the A blood type and B blood type.  Like a type A, it is difficult to digest animal protein well but you do still need some in your diet.  Therefore portion size and frequency of eating comes into play.  Bromelain can help with the digestion of animal protein meals.

Coping with Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins.  If the flow is too low to deliver enough oxygen to nutrients to the vital organs, they do not function normally and can be permanently damaged. 

However, people with a naturally lower blood pressure have a lower risk of stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease.  Athletes, people that exercise regularly, people that maintain their ideal body weight and non-smokers tend to have lower blood pressure.  Therefore, low blood pressure is desirable as low as it is not so low that it causes symptoms and damage to bodily organs.

Low blood pressure without symptoms does not require treatment.  Symptoms of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, feeling faint, shock (where vital organs fail rapidly), and even chest pain or a heart attack if the arteries cannot supply the heart with enough blood.  The kidneys may also fail to eliminate waste from the body effectively.

Low blood pressure can be caused by dehydration, blood loss, septic shock, blood pressure medications, diuretics, and standing up too quickly, among other things. If treatment is required, a doctor will able to do so.

Coping with High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can be a serious health problem but it can be treated and controlled.  If high blood pressure is not diagnosed and treated, it can cause the heart to enlarge, aneurysms in the blood vessels, narrowing of the blood vessels in the kidneys, hardening of the arteries, and blood vessels in the eyes to burst or bleed.

High blood pressure can be mild, moderate or severe.  For example, your blood pressure will naturally be higher when you are exerting yourself, such as during exercise.  It is only concerning if your blood pressure is high when you are at rest, as the heart is being overworked and there is extra stress on the artery walls.

Some factors that can contribute to high blood pressure include hereditary factors, obesity, lack of exercise, a high salt diet, heavy drinking and kidney disease.  Cigarette smoking, high levels of saturated fat in the diet, high cholesterol and diabetes all worsen the effects of high blood pressure on the arteries.  Certain medications can also cause high blood pressure or make it more difficult to control.

Many people are able to lower their blood pressure by making simple lifestyle changes.  These include maintaining a healthy weight, eating a high fibre, low fat, low salt diet, giving up smoking, limiting alcohol, and getting regular exercise.  In some cases, medications to control the blood pressure may be required.

Originally published on Aug 13, 2008

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