Blood pressure fluctuates all the time, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day, and there has been extensive over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment of millions of people because of this. In fact, it’s not uncommon for blood pressure to rise simply in response to a doctor’s visit! This is called the “white coat syndrome” and I’ve seen it repeatedly.
On the other hand, bona fide hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a well-known risk factor for heart attack. Twenty percent or more of North American women between the ages of forty-five and sixty-four have mild to severe high blood pressure. Since current statistics show that 1 in 2 women will eventually die from heart disease (either a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease, or a stroke,) it makes sense to know what your blood pressure is and how you can take control of it.
What is High Blood Pressure and Are You At Risk?
High blood pressure occurs when your arteries cannot dilate properly to accommodate changes in blood flow being pumped from your heart. It generally takes many years to develop, and usually you will not have any symptoms. In fact, most people discover they have high blood pressure when they go for a medical check-up.
Many factors are believed to contribute to hypertension. These include:
- Diet too high in saturated fat, salt, alcohol or caffeine
- Age, gender, ethnicity, and family history
- Underlying disease or condition (obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, pregnancy, kidney disease or hyperthyroidism)
- Medications (antidepressants, NSAIDs and decongestants)
- Lack of exercise
- Stress (including unconscious fear and panic from childhood trauma)
- Lead poisoning
- Head injuries
- Illicit drugs (cocaine and amphetamines)
Many of these causes are temporary and curable.
What Should Your Numbers Be?
For years doctors have been uncertain what the optimal blood pressure goal should be. For patients with high blood pressure, the goal has been to lower systolic (top number) pressure to about 140-150 for people over 60 years old. The new 2015 blood pressure guidelines support this more relaxed threshold calling for treatment to lower blood pressure to 150/90 mm Hg for people over age 60, and to 140/90 for adults younger than 60. Yet, a newer study called Sprint, which was supposed to end in 2017, has been concluded early with findings that suggest a systolic pressure below 120 reduces risks for heart attack and strokes by up to 1/3 and risk of death by up to ¼.
I have seen many studies over the years and it’s very hard to prove a benefit in lowering systolic blood pressure below 130 for someone over 60 years of age. In fact, while a systolic pressure that is naturally 120 may be good for some, it is quite another matter to artificially drag someone’s blood pressure down this low with blood pressure medications.
Attempting to reach a target this low would mean giving many people more and more medications. And, in order to see a benefit you would likely have to treat hundreds of people to prevent just one heart attack or stroke! This is known as the number needed to treat, or NNT. The accepted NNT for use of a statin drug is 104. This means that for every 104 people who take a statin, only 1 person has a heart attack prevented! Please read that AGAIN. 104 people are put at risk of adverse effects caused by statin drugs to save 1 person! In fact, as many as 1 in 10 people are harmed by statins. Now consider the potential risk of harm to hundreds by aiming for a questionably low blood pressure target. It is quite substantial, especially when you consider that many of the people who would be harmed are the frail elderly who are at risk for falls, and others who are already taking an array of drugs for chronic conditions, which could potentially interact.
How To Lower High Blood Pressure Without Medication
In my experience, many adults are taking more blood pressure medication than they need. Here are some very simple and effective ways you can lower your blood pressure without medication:
- Get Regular Exercise. Simply getting out for a brisk walk every day can help to lower your blood pressure. Other forms of exercise that can help include yoga, biking, gardening and dancing. Move your body in a way that is enjoyable to you for 30 minutes each day. Note that exercise can increase the effectiveness of blood pressure medications, so if you are taking one, be sure to check with your doctor. You may need to reduce you medication over time or even stop it!
- Use Biofeedback. Biofeedback is a mind-body technique that has a calming effect on the autonomic nervous system. This can produce the long-term benefit of lowing blood pressure to a healthy range. Methods include cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, guided imagery and psychological education.
- Improve Your Diet. Follow the insulin-normalizing diet I recommend. You can expect substantial improvements in your lipid profile, your blood sugar, and your blood pressure within two to four weeks.
- Lose Weight. Even in very overweight women, losing only ten to twenty pounds will often lower blood pressure significantly.
- Get Enough Sleep. Sleeping fewer than seven or eight hours or getting poor quality sleep can increase blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic.) This makes sense. Physiologically, anything that increases inflammation or contributes to chronic inflammation is going to negatively affect your cardiovascular system. Sleep is the body’s most effective way of digesting excess stress hormones. If you don’t get enough sleep, your stress hormones stay elevated and this increases inflammation throughout your body. This causes your arteries to narrow and even constrict, which results in higher blood pressure.
- Meditate. Specifically, Transcendental Meditation has been proven to bring about a unique neurophysiological state that leads to a drop in blood pressure. That said, any style of meditation that you practice regularly can help to lower stress hormones leading to lower blood pressure.
Release Suppressed Emotions and Heal Hypertension
There is no question that factors such as obesity, salt intake, and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with hypertension. And so is stress – but, not in the way you would expect. According to Samuel J. Mann, M.D., author of Healing Hypertension: A Revolutionary New Approach, hypertension is associated with what we don’t feel. In other words, our old, unhealed or repressed traumas are a major cause for hypertension. To deal with hypertension at its core (or anything else for that matter), it is necessary to bring those hidden emotions to consciousness, and to deal with them directly.
My friend and colleague Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., the founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in Manhattan, shared her personal experience healing from episodes of extremely high blood pressure—as high as 220/120 – despite her healthy lifestyle. She tried medications and also worked with a number of holistic practitioners such as her chiropractor, homeopath, and acupuncturist, which helped a little, but it wasn’t enough. After reading Dr. Mann’s book and seeing him, she began to look at what hidden emotions she could be harboring. After uncovering a traumatic event during her childhood in World War II Hungary, and releasing the emotions associated with the memories, her blood pressure returned to normal (137/82) within one hour!
No matter what your blood pressure is, when you don’t feel your emotions fully and let them flow through you, they will have a negative effect on your health. The more you truly care for yourself and allow yourself to feel your emotions, including the difficult ones, the better your health will be. And, positive emotions open your blood vessels, optimizing blood flow and lowering blood pressure! So it makes sense that when you fuel your heart and life with the energy of full emotional expression, and full partnership, and you heed your desire for more pleasure, then you will lessen your risk for hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and even dementia.
If all of the above measures fail, then it’s advisable to see your doctor to discuss your options. You may need to use blood pressure-lowering medication for a time. Also, be sure to get your lipid profile and blood pressure checked again every three to six months.
One More Way to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
In addition to the tactics I have stated above, here is 1 more simple way to lower high blood pressure: Take a magnesium supplement!
On January 10, 2022, the FDA announced a new qualified health claim allowing it to be stated that magnesium is effective in reducing the risk of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. When making this claim the FDA requires qualifying language to be added stating that “evidence is inconsistent and not conclusive.”
If the evidence were truly inconclusive then calcium channel blockers—prescription medications that lower blood pressure by preventing calcium from entering your arteries and heart—would not be effective. This is exactly what magnesium does. In fact, magnesium is nature’s natural calcium channel blocker! The reason the agency has disallowed the magnesium claim for so long (and requires the qualifying statement) is because a naturally occurring substance cannot be patented.
The good news is magnesium is finally getting the attention it deserves as a safe and effective nutritional supplement with many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Magnesium works by causing your blood vessels to relax. When you don’t have enough magnesium on board, your blood pressure increases. Both calcium (which causes your heart and blood vessels to contract), and magnesium are necessary to keep your blood vessels and heart functioning properly.
In addition to high blood pressure, studies show that magnesium depletion can cause other serious conditions and symptoms, such as arrythmia, tachycardia, abnormal electrical activity in the heart, arteriosclerosis, angina, blood clots, and even heart attacks. According to the Center for Magnesium Education and Research, the organization that submitted the health claim petition to the FDA, most modern heart disease is caused by magnesium deficiency.
Heavily processed foods are the primary contributor to the average magnesium-depleted diet. Eating foods that are high in magnesium and taking a high-quality magnesium supplement are the best ways to maintain normal blood pressure and heart function.
Another great reason to increase magnesium is that it may help protect you from the dangers of EMFs. Despite the telecom and wireless industries decades-long claims that that non-ionizing radiation is harmless, studies show that exposure to EMFs result in increased cellular calcium, which are lessoned by calcium channel blockers.
Dr. Martin Pall has written extensively about the harmful effects of EMFs. He states that the mechanism of action by which EMFs effect our cells is through activation of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in the outer cell membrane. When VGCCs are activated, they open and allow calcium to flow into the cell. Pall says this is what allows EMFs to attack the nervous and endocrine systems, cause oxidative stress and free radical damage (underlies all chronic diseases), produce elevated apoptosis or cell death (implicated in neurodegenerative disease and infertility), lower sex hormones, increase levels of spontaneous abortion, attack the DNA in sperm cells, and cause cancer (via 15 different mechanisms.)
Since magnesium is nature’s natural calcium channel blocker and has many other health benefits, including increasing nitric oxide, I recommend taking a high-quality magnesium supplement. If you are being treated for heart or blood pressure abnormalities, magnesium may lower your need for medications. Be sure to check with your health care provider before taking magnesium.
I value your opinion. I follow your blogs now & then. I have been on low dose hydrochlorothiazide for high blood pressure since my 40’s when I had 2 ‘frisky’ teenage sons still at home, & was a single women working full time long hours in a high stress job. I went off the pills now & then but Dr always insisted I needed them forever. Now I am 69, teaching women’s 50+ exercise classes daily 6 days a week online on Zoom. I have been exercising regularly for 15 yrs. I eat very well, veggie with eggs & a little dairy, fish, no meat since I was 17 yrs old. I eat only sprouted grains or basmati rice, I have followed the blood type diet for A since 2005….I am good health! I take high quality vitamins, all of them; multi, calcium, D, C, B, Omegas, probiotics & a liquid ionic magnesium supplement in my 5 bottles of ‘Berkey filtered’ water every day. I want to stop these pills! Is it safe to stop cold turkey? I have cut myself back to one every other day…..for past 2 months…..is this safe? I have had great Dr’s but they have all retired….don’t know this current younger one well enough to trust him so I don’t call him much.
How much Mg do you recommend and what is the best compound?
Thx a million!
Dear Dr. Christiane, God bless you, WOW! How could you have known that is my health problem! I really do not trust doctors these days, as they ony ask me to take the clot shot! They really are not intersted in my health problems, Blood pressure as they prescribe for me Beta blockers and blood pressure tablets twice per day, I have never had a problem with Libido or ED, however Now I am experiencing problems which I never had before, my wife and I love to have great pleasure, so now I am feeling depressed! Suddenly this has come about, I am upset. I so enjoyed reading your fantastic article, I do already take a Solgar Magnesium and potassium pill during lunch. Nothing seems to help! Although my average systolic BP is around 135/72 But however my Libido is really not functioning. Have you some advice for me dear Christianne? The British NHS has drastically changed and I hve no confidence anymore, they just want me to continue with BETA Blockers and blood pressure pills. Thank you so very much for your info and great help! Joe David. with love
Yes! Such sound advice. I’m 61 and so many of my friends, because of their age, are simply put on medication with no discussion and no alternatives given! Please, try something more holistic first. My question for Dr. Northrup, what do you recommend for magnesium dosage? I have been taking a 300 mg chewy at night which is great. Helps with muscle relaxation as well. Recommended to take 2 a day on bottle. Is 600 mg too much?
As I take many supplements, the best ones can be in sprays for the mouth which are absorbent easily than tablets. Usually a magnesium skin spray can help before bedtime on the body to improve sleep besides lowering blood pressure.
i am a 41 year old woman that is 5’9″ tall and weighs 157 lbs. i am a very fit and overall healthy person. i dont take any medications for anything or pain meds. i have a lot of head aches so i take bc powder for them. i eat well and work hard. lately i have had ALOT OF STRESS , HEAVY BURDEN STRESS. and my blood pressure has went from average to staying around 159/105. at times i dont feel well and check it it may be 159/110 could there3 be something wrong or just stress?
You are one of a kind, Dr. Northrop!
Unfortunate that other doctors are lead by Pharmaceutical companies, instead of their own logical human common sense and concerns.
This HBP presentation hit on all issues. Amazing.
I am 83 years old with a low cholesterol level – – what should my pressure be??
Hello Dr. Northrup,
I have been on the medications Toprol and Norvasc for several years, I am 61 years old. I have two leaky valves which at this time is moderate. I see my heart Doctor twice.
A year. Being at the moderate level, do you think there could ever be a chance for me to get off these medications. All together I’m on 8 medications, I wish so very much I wasn’t.
Any information would be very much appreciated. Both of my Blood pressure Meds are low dosages. Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your article especially your guide to lower blood pressure naturally, it’s very neccessary I think
Hi Dr Christiane,
Thankyou so much for continuing to provide this information on women’s health. There are so many articles on the internet and not all of them contain correct information. When I see your name I know I can rely on your support
Please keep up the good work
WOW! Thank you for this article. I have never suffered from blood pressure issues in fact I have always been on the low side. I am athletic, great diet… then I suffered a Brian bleed due to a slip on black ice. My blood pressure– the diastolic number, runs high ever since since the accident. Thank you for your guidance!!
I worked in a highly stressful job – subjected to chaos everyday. I also have fibromyalgia which has flared more frequently & intensely due to this stress. Anyway, I was feeling particularly stressed & decided to go to dr. who took blood pressure which was 179/80 (had never, ever been this high). He immediately prescribed meds even though I questioned why so immediate – I’ll add that when I go to dr’s office my bp has been up somewhat and I particularly noted that the way the bp was taken was incorrect – told to sit on table with legs dangling, left arm just hanging – so now I question whether meds are needed or not. I bought a very good bp monitor to use at home and make sure not to eat or drink anything 30 minutes prior to taking bp readings – sit in chair with feet on floor, left arm resting on table, bp monitor same level as arm, arm slightly bent – readings always 120/70’s range. The times it was slightly elevated was on the days I had nasty fibromyalgia flare-ups – in pain all day. Now – I’m wondering if I should seek a 2nd opinion and really question as to whether medication is needed. Slightly overweight but eat a healthy diet (keep everything written down) and even more careful what I eat. Everywhere I read (from prominent universities, medical clinics, etc), medication does not appear to first method of treatment.
I am 54 years old and I am 5ft 5″ tall, weight 162 lbs I had early meopause at age of 41, finished at 48. I have never smoked nor do I drink alcohol and I am not on any medication but very recently had a rheumatoid arthritis flare up so my doctor told me. Since then my blood pressure keeps reading 137 over 80. I have never had high blood pressure previously. I know I need to lose weight and I was always about 140lbs for 10 years or so and suddenly weight has gone to 162lb. Why is my bloody pressure up? Thanks.
Hi Hazel May.
Sounds like you’re 99.9% healthy. Keep working on the last 0.1%.
I’m 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, male, 56 years. I find that if I go over 190 lbs, my blood pressure rises precipitously. It’s like the weight has a tipping point. Keep it below 190, and I’m 120/70.
When I was more physically active, my weight fell to 165. I was walking two miles a couple of times per week, and one of those miles was with groceries in each hand on the way back home. Now, I am served food instead of cooking for myself, and fed on schedule instead of when I want to eat. The least I can do is find an excuse to get a couple of miles in a couple of times a week, again, at least. Also, my clothes fit a lot better when I was 165. Looks like a couple of miles twice a week is a good thing to do. It’s tedious; I hope your surroundings are more inviting for that walking, and not too many trucks while you’re walking.
… and google for “Rheumatoid Arthritis Iodine.”
The military industrial complex has been scamming people about iodine for the last 60 years. Similar to how people need more than 60 mg of Vitamin C per day but rather more like a couple of grams for maintenance, people need at least a few milligrams of iodine per day, maybe upwards of 12.5, 50, or 100 mg per day for thereputic levels depending on what you want to do. But the usual “serving” is measured in micrograms. To get milligrams, recommend iThroid capsules (which come in 6.25 or 12.5 mg) or Lugol’s liquid (which is a bottle of liquid, threatening to stain your belongings if you drop any, and is less expensive than the capsules). Iodine supplementation must be accompanied by Selenium supplements, 200 ug (micrograms) per day. Iodine isn’t the most expensive supplement; and Selenium is pretty cheap.
Just one link, for starters:
I wpuld like to know …aftermath of open heart surgery, 5 to 9 heartattacks in less than 2 hrs ,4 by pass. All stress related….
My question… what is the aftermath..and what should i expect .I am very anti drug ,I gave the Dr 11 meds back on my 6 wk check up.
I felt like a zombie, sweet nurse helped me” take control ,be informed…”
Help me to help myself. My diet is great, Im 62 ..5′ 6′ 1 / 2 i am now at 176 going down, (the right way)
30 min aerobic 3btimes wk
30 min glider opposite days
Total gym daily 30 min to build large muscle groups
Thank you for your sight
Thank you for the bp info
My diastolic pressure drops into the 50’s frequently. Systolic has never gone above 120 or lower than the high 90s. Heart rate is usually in the 70s when this happens, but I feel really bad when the pressure does this. I have told my doctor but felt like she dismissed my concern, as did the nurses in the hospital when I was there with lung issues. Can you tell me why my pressure does this and what are the risks? What to do about it?
I just saw your program on PBS “Glorious Women Never Age”. A recent widow with a number of chronic conditions – psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, high blood pressure, immune suppressed due to treatment for the arthritis an Crohn’s, low Vitamin D, depressed with anxiety – have moved from sea level to a Rocky Mountain state elevation 5280. On an earlier visit I observed that my BP was running higher at elevation that at sea level. The first order of business has been finding new doctors – a rheumatologist, gastroenterologist, internist and psychiatrist. These are the doctors that prescribe my present medication list. In the past year I have weaned myself with a doctor’s assistance off of the following: Crestor – Fioricett(which I had taken for almost 35 years) and Nexium. I have also reduced Ativan-g, Effexor XR-g and Wellbutrin XL-g. Ativan from 4mg daily to 2mg. Effexor XR from 450mg to 375mg and Wellbutrin from 300mg to 150mg. The Topol XL ER is not keeping the BP at the new levels recommended. I am seeing my new internist in the coming week to work on the BP issue. I do not want to take the Topol any longer. I also find that certain beta-blockers bring the cough side effect so I wish to avoid those as well. The use of a water pill is not advised to diminished kidney function which already limits any possible use of NAIDS. The articles declaration that stress from childhood trauma was interesting to me in that since I was 23 years old- I am 69 now- I have been working on that very issue with both psychiatrists and therapists on that very thing. In seeing a new person for med management of the antidepressants and anxiety drugs, I received the most profound impression that her biggest question is “Why have I not found relief of both issues since I have been on medication and therapy for so long. The actual medication and therapy through the years was an up and down struggle until a cardiologist suggested that I take a pill to treat this illness but I will not treat my brain? The truth must be said that the last 14 years of my life were not the easiest. I loved my husband but we were polar opposites. An early retirement was disastrous for him for he had nothing to retire to. So for 14 years the co-dependant and unbalanced relationship continued. I believe that the only thing that did get me through those years and his slow decline to his death was the fact that I saw a psychiatrist and a therapist on a regular basis and took the prescribed medication. My question is: how important is altitude in blood pressure management? I have read your recommendation of Divine Love Healing. As a Christian I know there is power in forgiveness and I freely admit that may have buried the anger/frustration at the circumstance believing that I needed to do this for my husband. I know this is a long posting but if you could comment please?
I read in Time magazine that in the Sprint study, participants only got their numbers under 120 with the help of 3-5 anti-hypertensive drugs. So who sponsored the study? Do we know? Could this have been sponsored by a drug company in an attempt to get more people of their medications?
Great information. I am a 71 year old woman, who works out five days a week with weights and cardio. I weigh 125 pounds which I’ve maintained for 4 years using a metabolic balance all natural food program. It’s worth checking out. However, I still have high blood pressure I take Irbesartan, Amlodipine and sometimes hydrochlorothiazide. It however seems to make my dystolic number two low. I tried going off of them but seem to get the rebound effect and my blood pressure spiked. So that didn’t work. Going off them slowly doesn’t seem to work either. How I can be so healthy and fit yet have high blood pressure makes no sense to me. I’d appreciate your thoughts- thank you.
Have you been tested for lead? Also have you replaced the drugs with supplements such as niacin, L-Arginine, beets, white willow bark instead of aspirin. Have a holistic md test your blood for what is missing. The NIH is sponsoring another chelation study instead of sponsoring places where you can get it. The CDC found 100% of those tested had serious toxins. How can we get old without these toxins when they were legal and are still used in hair dye and makeup? I hope this helps.
I just began having physical symptoms of menopause, and naturally purchased your book on the subject right away. Am loving it. Something not mentioned in the article above is that the particular age group of women with events of higher blood pressure coincides with perimenopausal years, when our bodies are going through major changes. After some consistent episodes of arrythmia, palpitations, and light headedness, my GP sent me to a heart specialist who became alarmed by my 130 sistolic (!) and put me on metoprolol, a Beta-blocker, to stabilize. It helped a bit but in a matter of weeks I had severe negative reactions. My limbs began to tingle, swell, and I experienced severe joint pain that prevented sleeping comfortably. At first I thought this was just part of my past experience with fibromyalgia combined with the oncome of menopause, but after research I realized the drug was the culprit! I stopped taking it immediately. What I actually also found in my reseach is that it is very common for women to have these symptoms during this change, and they are largely due to the hormonal flux, where deprivation of estrogen can result in episodes of ‘racing heart’ or thundering ‘palpitations.’ The miracle of it is that as soon as I started using progesterone cream based upon wild yam and taking flax seed oil regularly, all my heart irregularities went away. In spite of the fact that my heart specialist wanted immediately to put me on another beta blocker, my instincts were right to go completely drug free, find the cause of the sudden episodes, and subsequently find a natural solution to rebalance my system. I hope others out there experiencing a sudden rise in blood pressure and heart activity don’t fall victim to conventional solutions through drugs, but take the time to know themselves and understand the health they can continue to achieve if they put their own mind to it. After all, it’s our own body at stake! Understanding ourselves is worth the effort.
Having same issues now .. it’s scary
What about low B P?
I’m 54, 5’1″, 108# and my BP runs 90/58
Sometimes a lot lower!!
I do have Chronic Lyme, NO medications, and healing . BP has always been low!
Thank you for this information. People are often confused by statistics. So many health related decisions are based on statistics that an understanding of how to interpret them is essential. You have cleared some of this confusion.
I was under the care of a physician in an HMO. He revealed to me that he got a bonus for each patient he could lower their blood pressure and cholesterol below a certain number. Clearly he was prescribing drugs like crazy so he could get his money. I promptly went in search of a different doctor.
I just had this very conversation with my health care provider. She was to the point of argumentative with me. I appreciate your willingness to share.
Thank you Dr Northrup for this article, you’ve made my day, I’ve been for so long desiring to stop taking this kind of medication especially because I changed my way of living two years ago to natural organic food, gave up all toxins etc. But I have a question, how to stop the medication, at once or baby steps? Please don’t tell me to go to a doctor, I’m afraid of their manipulation, I would only go to you, unfortunately I’m too far away. Well, thank you again, I’ll buy your books as soon as I can
So happy to see that you cover the harm in suppressing emotion. I hadn’t realized this until a few weeks ago. I have been working to go back and work through these suppressed emotions to relieve myself of the burden on my mind and body. It has been transformational!
This takes a lot of courage!! Thanks for showing up and being brave. It changes everything!
Saludos Dr Northrup, I’m so pleased to read your article, I’ve been on BP medication for 13 years and hate it, I wish I could stop taking these statins, my age is 69, and the first time a Dr decided I had high BP was because I was in an emotional crisis, and I’m sure it could have been managed otherwise. Since then on I’ve been manipulared over fear to take the medicine, as I’ve been told that if I don’t take them I may have a brain stroke which wouldn’t lead me to death. At the moment I follow all the list you suggest to get better, the only thing I don’t do is going to check up to a doctor as I’m afraid of them (sorry), I don’t want them to give more medicine as they’re used to. By the way years ago I reduced the dose they gave me, but even If I hate this medication I continue to take it, for the reason I’ve said. What can I do? About your list, the only thing I lack is have 8 hours sleep, I have such an active life that 24 hours a day are not enough for me. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, God bless youa
Hi Anamaria… i’d suggest you change your doctor if the one you have is too bossy…. please understand that YOU HAVE the power over what YOU WANT to take… after the initial period to keep you bp in check, you are doing everything possible, following Dr. Northrup’s advice, read everything you can on the subject, do exercise, eat well, healthy clean foods, learn about alternative methods to lower bp, work on your ‘internal issues’, check your bp at home with a home blood pressure mmonitor, keep a record of those readings…. and then go to the dr. and tell him/her what YOUR DECISIONS on the matter is. They don’t want patients regaining their own power, tehy want to keep them under control, but it’s YOUR Life, NOT theirs…. so you go ahead and do WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO. You already know what it is.
Thanks for your wonderful information. My mom BP has always been uncontroled. This past few months she has been hospitalized with high pottassium. In the hospital they start all over with no BP pills. She leaves the hospital with one medications and so after her BP out of control again so her doctor ends up putting her back on 3 BP meds again. In March she had quadtriple bypass. Am just not sure what her doctor is doing and I can’t get my mom to understand.
Very interesting article. I have followed your writings for years. I am 82 years old and take no meds, only supplements. I live alone, I am happy, involved, creative, loved, and doing great. Every day I bicycle for 10-15 minutes. I manage a house and yard, cook every day, make whole wheat bread, eat good, etc. Lately I have been wondering about my blood pressure, so I check it occasionally, for I like to stay away from too much “doctoring.” Thanks for your comments on blood pressure, and all that you know and do!
I began reading you books and learning from you around 2007,when the hideous symptoms of peri-menopause reared their ugly head. LOL Even took one of your books to a couple of Dr. appointments, as I have been fortunate to have found some open-minded, progressive MD’s and DO’s. I have been an RN for 34 years as well, with 17 years in OB/GYN, so I appreciate the above-average amount of scientific information you provide. Thank you! Keep up the good work.
I love that we both have been stealth operatives behind the scenes changing medicine for the better!!
I am currently taking two BP meds that causes nightly waking to urinate several times. I have not had a full night sleep in years. It is most disturbing. I am now being treated by a natural doc to help me and hopefully he will.
Thanks Christiane for the great information. Keep it coming. I sure appreciate you.
Thank you, again and again for this article, Dr. Northrup, it puts my mind at ease. I am 76, med-free and wish to remain that way. I thought my numbers should be the old 120/80. My average numbers are 128-138’s over 68-76–once in a while higher or lower. Now I realize I am very healthy, and living all of the things you listed. My mother, at the age of 93, died of a stroke so I monitor my blood pressure. She was also diabetic so I periodically check that too, averaging 97-104. Due to a physically abusive childhood I do get anxious when I visit the doctor, and I’m sure I stress over other emotional happenings in life also. I’m wondering if journaling each morning, or evening, might also release emotions and keep blood pressure in check? I used to do this but in the passing years haven’t continued this habit. I used to record dreams, too, and if I could decipher them, received many answers.
Hi Linda– journaling has been shown to improve all kinds of health challenges, including arthritis and asthma. The main thing is to get the stresses out of your body and down on the page. I also recommend the Divine Love Healing process which is profound for childhood traumas that remain in the body. We all need extra help sometimes. Why not go right to the Divine Source. Check out http://www.worldserviceinstitute.org And bless you!
Well done summary but I think we need to be careful about evidenced based medicine data which should inform decisions but shouldn’t turn people away from seeking help. Every drug will have a Need To Treat NNT number. That doesn’t mean medicine shouldn’t be considered on an individual basis; there may be medicines with few side effects that can effectively lower blood pressure for some — and extend their lives. And, the conversation with the doctor — whom some people will seek out only if they think there is a possible medicine — may lead to a discussion of other habit changes which are beneficial.
For instance, re: the statin’s statistic your refer to — a NNT of 20 people for a statin to prevent 1 heart attack sounds like a good investment to me. That means we might prevent 5 heart attacks among the 100 women I know at church. 20 among the women in my high school graduating class. And one of them might be me. I think I would like to discuss the medicine and its side effects to make my own decision and not let statistics make it for me.
HI Karen– well– Dr Mark Hyman corrected me about the number to treat with statins. Turns out I way underestimated that statistic. It’s much WORSE. Only 1 in 83 people will be helped by a statin. And 1 in 10 will develop muscle pain and other side effects like an increased risk of diabetes Check out NNT.com
And I completely agree with you— each of us is unique when it comes to medications . But given that prescription drugs– properly prescribed — are the 4th leading cause of premature death in the US, it’s always best to err on the side of more natural and safe approaches.
Just yesterday I was having a discussion with my 91-year old client. She told me that her doctor finally gave her permission to stop taking blood pressure medication. She is no longer dizzy and has no need for her cane to keep her steady when she walks. I will be sharing this article with her. Eternal thanks for all your wonderful advice.
Boy does this ever drive home the problems with taking medication! Thanks so much for letting me know.
Ginger and Yarrow are very helpful as well. They’re actually developing high blood pressure medication from the plant derivative of the yarrow plant.
A prayerful life = a healthy present
Thanks so much for this information. It will help many.
Aloha Dr. Northrup– Mahalo, again, for your wonderful info and excellent presentation! How refreshing to hear this instead of having drugs pushed, as usual. Please keep up the good work!
p.s. Statistically, vegans, even those with high bp, don’t get heart attacks.
Once again, thank you Dr. Christiane, for looking at an important health issue from a truly holistic perspective. No one wants to add in another prescription medication to their lives when there are truly smart and reasonable lifestyle choices that can make all the difference. In the past few months, I have been “asked/told” to go along with having blood pressure checked at my dentist office, my regular M.D. office for a flu shot, at my Chiropractic office, at my Asthma/Allergy office, and at my eye doctor’s office! Requiring this many blood pressure checks is ridiculous, especially as my blood pressure is only slightly elevated, after years of being on the low side! I feel that Obama Care is trying to collect this information, along with my weight measurements, as a way to categorize people, and to increase payment cycles for health insurance (i.e. if your weight and blood pressure fit in a particular category, you will pay higher insurance premiums and will be penalized, no surprise). I have had a 10 lb. weight gain with menopause that I am working on changing (hello!), and my blood pressure has also slightly increased; I have no intention of taking medication as I feel/know that adjustments in my lifestyle with this huge life change (menopause), will address/correct these temporary increases. Thank you for your information and I so intend to live the less medicated lifestyle! I so appreciate your perspectiv, you are just the best. Please keep on sharing your wisdom! Best, Jeanne
Hi jeanne– I couldn’t agree with you more. My dentist started taking my blood pressure a couple years ago– for the first time. And I couldn’t figure out why. I agree that this sort of thing feels like an insidious form of population control! Kind of makes your blood pressure rise, doesn’t it!!
Oh my gosh, several years ago I had a dental appointment and I was running late. Couldn’t find a good parking spot, ran through the parking lot, bolted through the building and when I plopped down into the chair the assistant immediately wrapped the blood pressure cuff around my arm! She then sternly warned me that my BP was dangerously high! These days when I see my dentist I always politely insist that I do not want my blood pressure measured, and they always comply.
… I mean, really, aren’t most people kind of nervous when they go to the dentist?? I’ve heard it
said that the dentist’s office may be the only opportunity someone has to have their blood pressure
measured, but I still think it’s a stupid practice. Makes no sense to me, just saying… Have a wonderful
Had similar happen to me. My doctor relocated and I had great difficulty in finding the new office. Immediately when I was taken to the treating room the nurse took my blood pressure but only after she had me sit on a table with my legs dangling, still frazzled after being somewhat late for appt. – my bp was elevated and I was immediately prescribed medication without even a 2nd or 3rd bp taken. Now after I’ve done some research – I’m finding out that one should relax, not have anything to eat or drink 30 minutes prior to having bp taken, sit in a chair with feet on floor legs not crossed, and arm resting on table – neither my nurse or doctor did this – and during a follow-up apt only did so at my insistence. I have a healthy diet but – I have a job that is extremely stressful (hostile/toxic environment) that some have walked out on – I am sure that this finally caught up with me. I am concerned that bp meds were prescribed too soon. I purchased a very good bp monitor and my readings everyday (sometimes 2-3 times day different times are always 120/70-80’ish range) and having been doing that consistently for over 6 weeks. I have been writing down everything I eat as well – all healthy about 1200 calories/day. I also want to mention as a result of the toxic work environment my fibromyalgia flares have gotten exceedingly worse and more frequent – and during my bp self-monitoring I’ve noticed during flare-ups that is when my bp is elevated. I am now concerned that I was prescribed the bp meds to quickly.
You are so right
Very useful article. Lots to learn and adopt. Thank you very much Dr.
Dr. Northrup, could you please give full name and title of the book by Dr. Mann you referred to in yoyr article?
I am 57, have severe hyoertension, sometimes as high as 245/145, am on 5 medications for it. My dr tells me I am a stroke bortherline.
I have had veryvtraumatic experiences being shot, kidnapped and held hostage in Nigeria in 2007. I believe that my hypertension can be improved with the release of trauma.
If your whole arm is not at rest, completely relaxed, when the doctor takes your bp, it will very likely be higher. If you do some deep belly breathing for even 60 seconds before it is taken, it will very likely be lower. If before it is taken, you lie down for 5 minutes breathing and relaxing, it will almost surely be lower. I would ask your MD to do all these things before considering bp medication.
the NNT for statins for prevention (no previous history of heart disease), taken over 5 years is : None were helped (life saved)
•1 in 104 were helped (preventing heart attack)
•1 in 154 were helped (preventing stroke)
With known heart disease: 1 in 83 were helped (life saved)
•1 in 39 were helped (preventing non-fatal heart attack)
•1 in 125 were helped (preventing stroke)
NNH for both: 1 in 100 were harmed (develop diabetes*)
•1 in 10 were harmed (muscle damage)
Thank you SO MUCH FOR THIS!!!! Notice– 1 in 10 were harmed!! Yikes.
Since most people are magnesium deficient which can be a cause of high blood pressure, would you consider magnesium as a fundamental consideration in lowering blood pressure naturally. Dr Carolyn Deans book, The Magnesium Miracle, is very encouraging regarding the Magnesium’s many benefits.
I certainly would. I’m well aware of Dr Dean’s great book. And should have mentioned it. Thanks so much.
A really helpful article. Thank you!
Thank you for your common sense solutions to high blood pressure. Easy to do…
How wonderful for me to see that you have such a good article on blood pressure. Between yesterday and today I have seen two doctors for fluctuating blood pressure between 170/75 and 98/50. I live with a disability that prevents me from getting the exercise needed for good health. I am 75 years old and run a blood pressure more within the new range when it does not jump to high or low extremes. I am grateful for all your wonderful work and insightful wisdom that I use in the healthy lifestyle that I have focused on for the last three years. Thank you and many blessings
A concern I have, in addition to lowering the “normal range” numbers is also the mechanism used to obtain the numbers, I believe the battery operated blood pressure monitors are less reliable.
Thank you very much for your insights on the new study information.
Thank you, I am in the older group with 140 over 90, that info just lowered my blood pressure.
Isn’t nice when some good information actually improves your health just from the reassurance? Thanks for your comment.
I had blood pressure readings that were all over the place and occasionally crazy high. When I sought a doctor for a knee problem, they heard a strange heart murmur that turned out to be a bad aortic valve – 75% blocked. I had surgery to replace it 5 months ago and my blood pressure has been much lower and more stable since then. It makes me wonder if medical professionals should look at high blood pressure as a symptom of a problem rather than a disease itself?
Thank you Dr Northrup. Your article inspires and empowers me to take action steps for the healthy me 🙂
Those statistics are very alarming. As a pretty healthy 64 year old woman this article has been a reminder to me of what goes on below the surface. I have diet and exercise under control but when we are not so young anymore its so important to minimise stress and after just having had a heated argument with my daughter where we both were quite angry I’ve been reminded reading this article to be aware of emotional stress. I can’t afford to let unimportant things get to me, I don’t want to have a stroke or heart attack or be known as an angry mother.! more a loving, generous healthy Mum who dies of natural causes in her sleep one day is priority, thanks Dr Northrup
I had struggled with serious high blood pressure for years and carried an extra 20lbs since menopause. I could not lose the weight no matter what I did. I have always been all about nutrition and an avid tennis player so it didn’t make sense to me that I could not control these 2 things. I decided to try a plant-based diet and lost the 20 pounds but the blood pressure while better, was still an issue. I soon discovered the critical role pH balance plays in health and steered my diet to more alkaline foods. The single most important thing I’ve ever done for my health was start a meditation practice. I’ve come to believe we are what we eat and think.
My blood pressure plummeted. I HAD to come off the meds as it became TOO low. This is where I ran into a REAL BIG problem that put me in the hospital twice! Coming off these meds is dangerous, can be even life threatening. My blood pressure skyrocketed when I stopped them (230/120 at the highest point). I was having what is called a “re-bound” effect (something that was never explained to me by the prescribing doctor). When I realized this, I was able to wean myself off gradually (that was 4 years ago).
It’s easy to see how people become convinced the drugs are saving their life, when just missing a couple of pills can have such a dangerous effect. Makes me wonder how many strokes and heart attacks have been caused by this effect? I am now a happy, healthy and completely drug free 58 year old. Thank you Dr. Northrup for speaking out about the dangers of high blood pressure and the drugs that treat it.
I also have been trying to get the 20 pounds off unsuccessfully. I am interested in your plant-based diet. Could you share with me the diet that you followed ?
I really appreciate it. Thank you so much,
Dr. Christiane ,
I can only confirm your position regarding hypertension, which I (71 and my mother 91 ) have been addressing for many years ! I am now off all medications and concentrate on healthy eating and exercise patterns !
Thank you so much for your common sense and vanguard approach!
Wonderful article. I have your book and it is on my nightstand so that I can reread and refer to it often. It was given to me by another beautiful and talented woman.
Another great article! I’m about to start reading your book in a few days:-) Can’t wait!
Really appreciate this article. I have always felt that there were alternatives to the medications routinely prescribed. In going to incorporate these ideas in my lifestyle.
Thank you , Dr. Northrup. I have been struggling with blood pressure since I had a stroke 9 years ago. I am now 84 and pretty fit for my age. However, I am labile. I have taken Ativan for so long I wonder if it is the culprit that is now making me anxious instead of the opposite. My BP can be 116/65/ 62 (low diastolic and heart rate normal for me) or 150/80. Its a yoyo. I am going to follow your plan and exercise more – and hopefully have more energy. I had a fecal implant (in England) and am dealing with changes in my body now. I liked all your links as well – would love to see Dr. Man. Anna
Thank you so much for this information.
I am 66 years old, I was active until I was put on blood pressure meds. and cholesterol. I have a thyroid condition as well.
I have always use Holistic approach food and herbs. I am also trying aromatherapy. Do you have any other suggestions?
Try the Divine Love Healing process and one of Bob Fritchie’s webinars: http://www.worldserviceinstitute.org
Thank you Dr. Northrup. Once more, you have given us practical and comprehensive information. I began taking drugs to lower my blood pressure after my husband’s heart attack (from which he has completely recovered). I have no doubt that was the trigger and helping to heal from that trauma helped me cut the dosage in half. I’m now focused on becoming completely medication free, using many of the suggestions you’ve made here.
GREAT article!!! Thanks so much for sharing.
Thank you Dr. N. for always talking with us at a “human” level everyone can understand. Plus for giving everyday suggestions that won’t cost an arm and a leg, won’t hurt us, and are EASY to add to an already crazy life. God bless you 🙂 🙂
Thank you Dr. Chris!
My blood pressure always hovered around 110/70 during my 20’s and 30’s. Now that I am 47, it is slightly elevated. I don’t like taking any medications except daily vitamins and supplements (B-12, L-Lysine, D3, E, mulitvitamin, flaxseed and fish oils.) At 47, my blood pressure is slightly elevated (130/90.) Thank you for practical suggestions and doable action steps to bring it back down. My parents both take BP meds, and my twin brother did, before his death. I am determined to do all that I can to remain pharm-free! The NNT information was especially encouraging!
Thank you for the work that you continue to do and your beautiful light. I give copies of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom to every woman who is important to me. You illuminate the way for so many women.
Thank you SO much for these encouraging words!!
Dr. Northrup, Thank you so much for the article on blood pressure.
I have white coat sydrome every time I go to a doctor.
Hi Dr. Northrup,
Your book Wisdom of Menopause saved my life! I read the chapter on Women and Blood Pressure and saw Anna Marie’s story on how she was suffering with High Blood Pressure and could not understand why and mentioned that she found Dr. Mann’s at the Weil Cornell Hypertension Center in NYC and reference his book, Healing Hypertension.
At that time I was a healthy food chef (and in Institute of Integrative Medicine Health Coaching Program) with extremely high blood pressure (suffering two yrs) and tried homepathy which worked for a while, tweak my diet, climbing mountains and then my blood pressure was 200/100 and had low potassium level. Long story short, I read Dr. Mann’s book and contacted him and told him my story and that I been on blood pressure meds for almost 2 yrs. and it was not controlling it-when I got to him he suspected that I had these adrenal tumors that were causing my hypertension because of my high sodium levels and low potassium-after a cat scan he found he was right and I had an adrenal tumor that was non cancerous and needed to be removed if I wanted to stop having such readings or I could be on a drug to monitor it – I opted to have the surgery which they had to remove the whole adrenal gland because of the way the tumor was sitting on the end of the gland-long story short I am not on any medication and my blood pressure is 110/65-I continue to hike a mountain everyday with my dogs and eat a whole foods diet and try to keep my stress in check. I also continue to work as a Natural Foods Chef, Culinary and Wellness Instructor and talk about you, Dr. Mann, Anna Marie Corbin and IIN how you all save my life and continue to help me help others who need the motivation to make healthier lifestyle changes!
Dear Donna– this is SUCH an amazing story. And it makes me realize how the Divine works to get the message to the people who are open to it. I am so touched and happy to read this. And humbled. Thank you.
Thank you for your advice regarding the new guidelines for hypertension treatment. You confirmed my thoughts when I learned about these. Do you think these guidelines are really a mass marketing plot by the pharmaceuticals to sell more medication and therefore, boost profits? Medicare’s Part D (drug plans) are a nightmare of confusion for seniors. The financial profits of the pharmaceutical seem to be the motive of the plans vs. the treatment of our elders. My dear husband, a retired MBA, volunteers to help “65ers+” sort through these computerized, ever changing plans to select a plan most economical for them, with our local Department on Aging. It takes a computer literate person plus a mathematician to do this. Me, a retired Nurse Practitioner in Women’s Health, avoids the pharmaceuticals, and treats any sign of hypertension with “eating right,” exercise (brisk walks, gardening, Nia and aerobic dance). The only pills I take are nutritional supplements. So far I have avoided hypertension and a heart attack. I meditate with a group from my church and at church and I even particapate in a drum circle. It all really works. I am grateful for your support and encouragement. Thank you ! !
Great articles! Saw you years ago at Holiday Valley talk; you showed your appointment harried book! The Eddy’s know John; I know your athletic mom Edna and saw her recently when my brother-in-law Neal Eddy died. The entire family is most accomplished! Good luck in your books and work; I have bought your books for my daughters and friends!
It is so refreshing to know that a Doctor Just gets what women need and isn’t afraid to share it with the world, because it helps everyone.
Thank you for all of your wonder information that we know (Intuition) works!!
Four years ago my blood pressure, which had been creeping up over the years needed medication. I was very reluctant to go on anti hypertensives but did not want to suffer the consequences of persistent hypertension. Most checks it ranged 165/95-100. I had very few contributing factors, familial hypertension being the main one. For a year I suffered the side effects of anti-hypertensive medications all the while believing there much be better alternatives. After reading many books offering natural solutions, including the impressive, The Magnesium Solution for High Blood Pressure: How to Use Magnesium to Help Prevent and Relieve Hypertension Naturally by Jay S. Cohen and trying dietary alternatives, I was finally able to come up with a natural combination that really works. I take Magnesium Citrate 600mg, in divided daily doses and eat four sticks of celery (know for it’s anti hypertensive properties) a day, I have maintained my BP for the past 3 years below 125/85, drug free. I tell everyone who will listen just how well it works.
Thank you for all the work you do to empower women to lead better, healthier more conscious lives.
LOVE THIS!!! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Jeni, I am Hypertensive on 3 different BP meds but yet my systolic still seems to spike for no apparent reason from 130 to around 160. Could it be due to an emotional response perhaps subconscious, a chemical imbalance or maybe even something in my diet which is generally healthy? Was interested in reading your story and wondered if you would share details of your “natural combination that really seems to work” for you. Jack
I often read that sleep is very important for your health and I try to do all things suggested to help me with sleeping. The problem is that I have interstitial cystitis which causes me to awaken several times throughout the night to urinate. I am wondering if you have any information that would help me in this area other than medication? I am not a big proponent for taken medication as I tend to suffer from the side effects as I am sensitive to what goes into my body, even to the extent of food and beverage. Thank you for your help on this subject.
I switched from Health Partners insurance because every time I saw the doctor my blood pressure skyrocketed. He was pushing statins and high blood pressure meds on me. I even tried a beta blocker and felt absolutely horrible, like a zombie.
I switched to Blue Cross and got a recommendation from a friend. The new doctor is athletic and uses my at home blood pressure readings, and talks about exercise and weight loss in a proactive way. I take a mild diuretic and my numbers have dropped by ten points. Mostly my anxiety is gone because the new doctor does not push meds on me or tests and vaccines I absolutely don’t want. I trust him with my health.
This was a very helpful article. Thank you! I’m printing it out and taking it to my doctor to discuss with her the next time I see her. It’s too bad you hadn’t posted it two days ago when I went in, scared to death my blood pressure was out of control because I had had a couple of nosebleeds over the weekend. (BP was fine — 110/68 mm, I’m 65 years old. I had a small ulceration that was causing the bleeding.) It would have been the perfect opportunity to discuss your article with her, but I will next time. I don’t want to be on medication I don’t need.
My #1 health goal isn’t about how much I want to weigh or what dress size I’m wearing. It’s about getting off all medications, including the medications I’m on for hypertension. That’s when I’ll know I am healthy! Your article has helped me realize that I might be closer than I think to reaching my goal. It motivates me to keep making the improvements in my lifestyle that will ensure I eventually become medication-free.
I am EXTREMELY grateful that you have written this post. It sheds so much light on a health concern that has pleged me for the last eight or so years. I was placed on anti hypertensive meds about seven years ago during a time of extreme stress related to a stroke and subsequent death of my mother. During the two years that she lay in a paralyzed state unable to do anything for herself were the most difficult for everyone. I was told that I was boarderline hypertensive at that time. Shortly after her passing, I was diagnosed with full hypertension. My bp was in the 200/150 range. That terrified me seeing as my mother just passed due to regularly having untreated high ranging bp. Deep inside though I always felt that her and my own bp numbers had more to do with various stresses than anything else. Eight years ago I was placed on three different anti hypertensive meds. Currently I am on two. I am exercising regularly and most often eating well. My intention is to use the tools that you have outlined here in this post. Some of these practices are already a part of my life. The new numbers that are presented here are very encouraging. My goal is to be completely free from these meds and live my life clear of emotional trauma. Thank you again for you knowledge and insight. Be well.
Thanks Christiane, Your blog just lowered my blood pressure.
This is one of the best presentations on blood pressure and all that contributes to it I have read. Thank you.