5. How do you know if you have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is also known as “the silent killer” because it is a largely symptomless disease. This is what makes high blood pressure so insidious: you can’t see or feel it, yet if left untreated, it will kill you. It is no wonder that 8% of the adult U.S. population has undiagnosed high blood pressure—they can’t feel that anything is wrong. Perhaps this is one reason that, of the over 78 million adult Americans already diagnosed with high blood pressure, a whopping 56 percent do not have it under control. If you are one of the people who believes that if there was really a problem, you would feel it, think again. You are taking a chance with your life. The fact is, the higher your numbers and the longer you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, the greater your risk of developing the devastating health consequences that often accompany high blood pressure—all the more reason for you to find out your numbers and start today to get your Blood Pressure Down.
6. What foods are most important if you need to lower your blood pressure?
Many of the foods I recommend are packed with blood-pressure-lowering minerals and are no more dangerous or expensive than bananas, spinach and walnuts. Many of the steps in the plan are basically plain old healthy eating, with no harmful side effects or costly prescription medications. Most can be purchased at your local supermarket. Add in a few supplements, lose a few pounds, cut down on your sodium intake and get some exercise in, and you have a safe and effective natural alternative (or adjunct) to prescription medication.
When it comes to preventing and treating high blood pressure, it’s strength in numbers—the more steps added together on a daily basis, the more powerful the blood pressure lowering additive effect of this combination lifestyle therapy plan. Many different foods, supplements, and exercise routines are individually effective in lowering blood pressure, but my patients and I have found that my Blood Pressure Down combination creates the most potent health-promoting and nonpharmaceutical strategy for getting those numbers under control.
7. Does salt really impact a person’s blood pressure? Suppose the person is not “salt sensitive?”
Our food supply is tainted. The fact is that salt, America’s prized condiment, is actually a slow poison. Excess sodium intake is inextricably linked to the development of serious diseases in American women and men, namely heart disease (the No. 1 killer) and stroke (the No. 3 killer). In fact, according to data from the world famous Framingham Heart Study, a whopping 90 percent of us will eventually develop high blood pressure from a lifetime of too much salt—making almost all of us “salt sensitive.” Slash the salt and you slash your blood pressure numbers—it’s as simple as that. The bottom line is that although your body needs some sodium to function properly, most people eat far too much sodium, which contributes heavily to high blood pressure. Cut out all forms of added seasoning salts (including table salt, sea salt and kosher salt) and you will take a huge step in getting, and keeping, your blood pressure down.
The book will teach you how to enjoy delicious food—prepared without salt—and seasoned with tasty herbs, spices and vinegars. Train your taste buds to enjoy foods the way Mother Nature intended and you will be surprised at how you lose the craving for salt and how quickly your pressure drops. There are over 50 delicious, easy-to-prepare blood-pressure-lowering recipes included in the book.
8. What is the best exercise for lowering blood pressure?
The three most powerful blood-pressure-lowering lifestyle strategies known to humankind are diet, exercise and stress management. Note that food is just one part of this equation. Hence, the final step in the Blood Pressure Down plan is exercise and stress management. The best medicine for healing the arteries and reversing high blood pressure is moderate aerobic exercise combined with relaxation therapy (such as deep breathing exercise), practiced on a daily basis.
9. Why is your plan better than just taking medicine?
Relying on drug therapy to treat and prevent this global epidemic is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. Lifestyle modifications should serve as first line therapy for the prevention and treatment of this disorder–with the specific changes outlined in this book as the foremost strategies for combatting this disease. With the Blood Pressure Down plan, I hope you will see how you can focus on the “cans” rather than the “cannots.” You will learn about all the delicious foods and activities that you can enjoy while making your health a priority.
10. What is your goal for writing this book?
On a personal note, I know all too well about the dangers of high blood pressure. Not just because of my profession, but because my grandmother, my brother (at just 56) and my father, who had his first heart attack at forty-five and died several years later from a second heart attack, all had high blood pressure which led to their premature demise. This haunts me as high blood pressure is easily detected and has a multitude of safe and low-cost non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions to rapidly bring blood pressure under control—and yet millions of Americans continue to live with and die from high blood pressure.
It is my grandmother, brother and father’s untimely deaths from this insidious disease that has inspired me to write with great passion about cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention through simple lifestyle changes.
That is part of the reason why I wrote my latest book, BLOOD PRESSURE DOWN: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs (which will be released by Three Rivers Press May 7, 2013).
I hope that this book will help others suffering from this “not-so-silent” killer to avoid my grandmother, father and brother’s fate.