Hypertension is High Blood Pressure
Fifty Million Americans have High Blood Pressure and if you are one of them, then your doctor has you on pressure pills costing 3 billion dollars a year nationwide. Despite over 100 antihypertensive medications that have been approved, sadly, we have been unsuccessful in controlling hypertension. A survey reported in the July 9 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that "Almost 30 percent of people with high blood pressure are unaware of their illness and 42 percent are not being treated".
The reason high blood pressure is bad for you is that it can damage the arteries causing heart disease, kidney damage, and stroke. In this article, we will look at the two major types of hypertension, and the pills that work best for each type. Lastly, we will look at the natural alternatives like Co-Enzyme Q-10 and Nattokinase which can reduce your reliance on blood medications naturally.
Dr. John H. Laragh is the Expert on Hypertension
My pick for best expert on hypertension is John H. Laragh, M.D., who founded the American Society of Hypertension in 1986. He is chief editor of the American Journal of Hypertension, and has written over 900 articles and several textbooks dealing with hypertension. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1975 for discovering the role of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in regulating blood pressure.
Hypertension is Caused by Renin:
Dr. Laragh says that common hypertension is caused by excess renin in sixty percent of cases and can be permanently controlled with one drug by measuring blood renin activity, a procedure that Dr. Laragh pioneered and perfected over thirty years at his lab. This test is called the PRA test (plasma renin activity). As a hospital based interventional radiologist for over 25 years, I sometimes did renin measurements by placing small catheters into each renal vein and collecting blood samples from the kidneys. This is unnecessary for most people, because a routine blood sample from an arm vein is all thats needed to run the PRA test.
Two types of essential hypertension:
Dr Laragh says that essential hypertension exists in two forms. The first form is low renin hypertension, occuring in about a third of hypertensives. This is called Volume (V) hypertension. The plasma rennin activity PRA test shows low renin (less than 0.65 ng/m/hr) and the "water pills" such as the thiazides and calcium channel blockers work best for this type of low renin hypertension.
The second type is high renin hypertension, occurring in the other two thirds of hypertensives, is labeled (R) for Renin Hypertension, and the PRA levels are greater than 0.65 ng/m/hr. This hypertension is due to the renin-angiotensin system, and the newer drugs such as the ACE Inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) and Beta Blockers work best for this type.
Measuring renin allows your doctor to identify which type of antihypertensive medication is most likely to be effective and possibly safer for you. If the "water pills" have been tried and dont work for you, then you are probably have high renin hypertension and need one of the newer drugs such as an Ace Inhibitor. The advantage here is that once this is established, it is possible for you have your blood pressure controlled with one drug permanently. Single drug therapy for life is the major goal of treatment.
Problems with older "water pills":
Whats really worrisome is the harm that can result from traditional diuretic "water pills". The thiazide diuretic, hygroton, produced an 11 percent incidence of permanent diabetes over five years in the ALLHAT drug study. Diabetes is a super high risk factor for heart disease. In other studies, thiazide "water pills" have been shown to regularly produce potassium and magnesium depletion that leads to cardiac arrhythmias, muscle weakness, EKG changes and fatal heart problems. All of these thiazide "water pill complications can be avoided by using a spirolactone type water pill instead (called aldactone). This is off patent and therefore inexpensive costing 22 cents per tablet. The aldactone corrects the sodium-volume related hypertension without ever causing diabetes or depletion of potassium and magnesium.
It hard to understand why Dr. Laraghs information has been overlooked (if not deliberately omitted) in official recommendations for the treatment of hypertension. And as a result, your doctor may not do the renin test for high blood pressure unless you bring it up.
Alternatives to Drug treatment:
Coenzyme Q-10 and Nattokinase:
Co-Enzyme Q-10 is a vitamin like nutritional supplement that has been useful in eliminating the need for blood pressure medications in about half the people who try it. One such program is advocated by Stephen Sinatra, M.D. in his books, "The Sinatra Solution, Metabolic Cardiology" and "Lower Your Blood Pressure in 8 weeks". Co-Enzyme Q-10 has also been credited with saving many people from death from congestive heart failure when other drugs have failed. In addition, since the statin anti-cholesterol drugs cause depletion of Co-Enzyme Q-10 in the body, all patients on a statin drug should be supplementing with Co-Enzyme Q-10. Since Co-Q10 is not a drug, your doctor may not be aware of it.
The Benefits of Nattokinase on Blood Pressure
In 1980, while studying physiological chemistry at the University of Chicago Medical School, Japanese researcher Hiroyuki Sumi accidentally discovered that a traditional Japanese soy cheese which had been consumed for centuries, called "natto", had the ability to dissolve clots. His research group published a paper on the discovery in 1987.
Traditionally, Natto has been consumed not only for cardiovascular support, but also to lower blood pressure. This was confirmed by several clinical trials in 1995, at MiyazakiMedicalCollege and KurashikiUniversity in Japan where the effects of nattokinase on blood pressure in both animal and human subjects was studied. The researchers found that natto inhibits angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), which has a lowering effect on blood pressure. In one Human Study, Nattokinase ingestion was associated with a 10 percent drop in blood pressure. Natto is a nutritional supplement which is considered safe, However, people with bleeding disorders or on blood thinners should use nattokinase only under medical supervision.
Check your own blood pressure:
If you are not sure what you blood pressure number is, you can have your doctor check it, or you can check it yourself with your own inexpensive machine obtainable from most drug stores. The normal blood pressure is considered 120 over 80.