Normal weight? Yes, you could have a high blood pressure!

Natalie was a 55 year-old patient who came to doctor concerned about her increased blood pressure and the resulting decreased sense of well-being. She is still highly functioning and would like to continue to be active as she gets older. She was not on any blood pressure medications and her starting blood pressure was 170/100. Her major concern was the health insurance physical she had to do next year.

Natalie had a varied diet and avoided sugar and most grain products, when she could. She did not smoke or drink alcohol and made sure she exercised at least three times a week. She was not overweight but she had a family history of cardiovascular disease and reported that her family life could be a stressor.

When she came to us, Natalie was told to put on specific personal diet to relax her blood vessels as well as herbs to decrease anxiety. She was also told to decrease the amount of coffee that she was drinking. Within two weeks, her blood pressure had improved to 150/85.

At that point, to support Natalie's cardiovascular system, herbs and diet were used that keep the heart healthy & strong. Two weeks after that, her blood pressure had dramatically improved to 135/80. Natalie continues to monitor her blood pressure and compliance with the dietary to help her maintain those results.

Everything you need to know about your blood pressure and weight:

Obesity. About one-third of patients with high blood pressure are overweight. Even moderately obese adults have double the risk of hypertension than people with normal weights. In fact, the increase in blood pressure in aging Americans may be due primarily to weight gain. (In other cultures old age does not necessarily coincide with weight gain or high blood pressure.) Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for high blood pressure when they reach adulthood.

Thinness. Interestingly, thin people with hypertension are at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke than obese people with high blood pressure. Experts surmise that thin people with hypertension are likely to have conditions such as an enlarged heart or stiff arteries that cause the high blood pressure and also pose greater dangers to health.

Low Birth Weight. Low birth weight, particularly in girls, has been associated with high blood pressure in both childhood and adulthood. (One study suggested that breast-feeding these babies may help reduce this risk.) Another study reported high levels of stress hormones in babies with low birth weight, which could increase the risk for high blood pressure later on. Low birth weight is also associated with subsequent obesity, a major contributor to hypertension.

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