Hypertension has become the reality for many who are leading stressful lifestyles, coupled with an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise. The global prevalence of hypertension is currently estimated at 1 billion. That translates into 1 in 3 adults having high blood pressure. Often dubbed the “Silent Killer”, many people can live with hypertension for years without having any symptoms. And yet, 7.1 million deaths are attributed to hypertension annually! Though a person may not have any symptoms, this doesn’t mean that their high blood pressure isn’t affecting their body. Having high blood pressure puts a person at a higher risk for strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, loss of vision, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

How do we stop this epidemic? Can we change these shocking statics by addressing the root cause of individual high blood pressure?

First, let’s look at what the numbers mean:

1. Systolic: Every time your hear beats it pushes blood out into your arteries. This temporarily increases the pressure in your arteries. It is the “top number”.

2. Diastolic: Between beats, your heart relaxes and the pressure that was generated, dissipates. It is the “bottom number”.

What causes Hypertension?

The cause of 90-95% of those with this condition is unknown. However, people that are overweight or obese, physically inactive and have diabetes are more at risk. The ongoing, day-to-day strain that obesity puts on the entire cardiovascular system causes blood pressure to reach dangerous heights. The good news is, the majority of cases today are borderline-to-moderate and they can be brought under control through changes in diet and lifestyle. There are also drugs that can be taken to reduce blood pressure (diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors). Here is where the question lies. High blood pressure is not caused by a lack of what these drugs provide. Does it not go without saying, that it is necessary to uncover the root of the cause rather than to simply treat the symptoms? If the cause is identified, appropriate and effective treatment can be found. As you read through this list, evaluate whether or not you have a problem with each specific cause and which contributes most to your high blood pressure. Are these causes modifiable?


*Lack of exercise
*High sodium diet
*Low fiber diet
*High sugar diet
*High intake of saturated fats
*Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids
*Low calcium, magnesium and vitamin c
*Spinal misalignment

Now, let’s take a look at these root causes in more detail and see how they contribute to hypertension and, what you can do to modify the situation.


Did you know there is a thin layer of muscle covering your arteries? Think about how stress makes all the other muscles in your body feel. That’s exactly how the muscles in your blood vessels feel when there is excessive stress. Chronic stress can also lead to insulin resistance, lowering Magnesium levels in your body which is needed for your muscles to relax. The body also increases the output of the heart in response to stress. Why? Because stress means that the cells of your body have increased energy demands. By increasing the blood flow out to those cells, the cells can continue to function properly but…More blood flow into the arteries paired with increased muscle tension in the arteries leads to increased blood pressure.

So what can you do to modify the situation?

Stress Reduction Techniques

*Deep breathing exercises
*Regular aerobic exercise
*Message therapy
*Chiropractic care

Lack of Exercise

*Lack of exercise makes it easier to gain weight and adds to the workload of the heart and arteries, making you more susceptible to high blood pressure.

Exercise is great stress relief and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Only 30-60 minutes of exercise a week can lower blood pressure by 4-9 mm Hg. You must start slow. Even just 10 minutes of walking a day can be beneficial. If you have been inactive, results are evident within a few weeks.

*Walk 10000 steps per day, aerobic exercise 3-5X per week

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

Your diet needs to be high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated and total fats. Cooking from fresh ingredients means that you do not have an overdose of salt, sugar and fat (all of which are present in nearly all fast or pre-packaged meals). Plus, you will enjoy cooking interesting meals for a change. Give yourself enough time to cook fresh meals. Your body will thank you for it!


You need to pay attention to your sodium intake. It’s not just in your salt shaker!!! It is in your fast foods, processed meats, bacon, sausage, ham and canned soups and vegetables. You should be restricting your dietary salt to less than 1,500 mg per day!

Do You Know How Much Salt You Are Eating?

High Sodium Foods

*1 Cup Canned Soup – 1000 mg
*1 TV Dinner has – 1150 mg
*1 Slice of Pizza – 900 mg
*1 Hot Dog – 900 mg
*1 oz of Parmesan Cheese – 500mg
*3 oz of Ham – 1100mg

Other sources of sodium:

*Cough medicine, laxatives, pain relievers, chewing tobacco.

You also need to keep your sodium-to-potassium ratio in mind. Consuming sufficient quantities of potassium is beneficial to lowering blood pressure, which reduces your risk for developing heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease or suffering a stroke. Here are some foods that are potassium rich:

You need to have fiber in your diet. Where do you find fiber?

*Anything Plant Based
*Whole Grains (In Moderation)

Snacks must provide at least 2 g of fiber!

Be very aware that diets high in sugar greatly contribute to high blood pressure. All sugars increase inflammation in the body. High sugar diets can injure the lining of the blood vessels, which can lead to their inflammation and scarring. Keep in mind that sugar hides under the guise of many different names.

You need to be aware of low intake of Omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation. They are an important part of cell membranes. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies have been shown to contribute to some cancers, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, digestive disorders, depression, and high blood pressure.

Low intake of…

*Calcium: Important for proper muscle function
*Magnesium: Important to allow for relaxation of muscles
Skeletal muscles
Cardiac Muscles
Smooth muscle of blood vessels
*Vitamin C: Needed for proper tissue repair

When you are trying to make a healthy choice, do not consume food if one of the first 3 ingredients is sugar, fat or salt. Watch The Serving Size!!!!

Spinal Misalignment

Improper function of spine and nervous system can put stress on the body and stress contributes to high blood pressure.

Chiropractic Care

“This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination. And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems.” George Bakris, MD – Study Leader

In summary, weight control is key in addition to a healthy diet. Choose a stress reduction technique that works for you, and eliminate caffeine and tobacco. Lastly, learn to relax and reduce nervous tension and anxiety. By uncovering the cause of your hypertension, you will be able to treat the condition more effectively.

Take control today! High blood pressure means your body is telling you something, the alarm bells are ringing and you can’t ignore them. There is a lot you can do with a healthy lifestyle: Be Fit – Eat Right – Think Well are key elements to take control of your health. Medication should be the last resort as I don’t believe anyone’s system is deficient in anti-hypertensive drugs. Take action…it’s your life!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp, B. Sc., D.C. is co-author of the book Wellness On the Go: Take the Plunge - it’s Your Life! And the founder of www.roadmaptowellness.com, and on-line wellness education program. Dr. Beauchamp is a chiropractor, a certified personal fitness trainer, a professional bodybuilder, a TV personality, a corporate wellness consultant and an inspirational speaker.

Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp www.drnathaliebeauchamp.com