What is it?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition that signals an overworking heart. Blood pressure is the result of the heart pumping blood into the arteries and the arterial blood vessels exerting resistance to the blood flow from the heart. When either of these forces – diastolic blood pressure (when the heart is resting) or systolic blood pressure (when the heart is beating) is elevated, the heart and arteries have to work under a greater strain. This can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, eye disease and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Without treatment, the heart has to work even harder to meet the blood supply needs of the body’s organs and tissues, eventually resulting in cardiac disease.
What causes it?
There are numerous primary factors that can cause hypertension, including obesity, overuse of alcohol, high salt diets, aging, lack of exercise, stress, low potassium, magnesium and calcium intake, and resistance to insulin. Less common is secondary high blood pressure, which occurs as a result of a medication or some other disease (e.g., tumor).
What role might cytokines play?
For hypertension associated with being overweight or obese, MNT is the first line of treatment because of the direct link between cytokine imbalance and weight loss. Cytokines affect salt and water retention, blood vessel spasm, clotting, and cause direct damage to the collagen structure of blood vessels. Each of these factors alone can contribute to hypertension. All of these factors work together to accelerate hypertension. MNT affects all cytokine components. Therefore, patients with hypertension lose fluid, relax blood vessels, lessen the risk of blood clots, and decrease damage to collagen. MNT is a primary treatment of hypertension.
What results could I expect with MNT?
First you need to be clear about what may be causing your hypertension, especially if it is a secondary problem caused by another medical illness. Talk with your doctor about the cause of your hypertension, possible medication therapy, and what effects MNT may have on that treatment.
Next, you may want to take your blood pressure daily. Purchase a home blood pressure monitor and use it at the same time every day, preferably upon waking. This will give you a baseline to track improvement over time. Most importantly, you need to work closely with your doctor to balance medications with symptom reduction. Do NOT discontinue or change the way you take prescription medications without consulting your doctor first.
How can I measure symptom change on the plan?
Based on clinical experience for the past decade, the PrescriptFit MNT Plan helps patients reduce their need to antihypertensive medication. Because response is typically quite rapid, usually in Food Phase 1 and 2, you must keep in close contact with your physician to avoid medication impacts when the symptoms they treat no longer persist. Close vigilance is required to avoid hypotension (low blood pressure), especially in those using diuretics (fluid-reducing medications), or vasodilators (calcium blockers, alpha blockers).
Talk to your doctor about controlling your hypertension using MNT. Even if medication is initially required to control high blood pressure, MNT may be all you need to later discontinue or decrease the medication you take.
Start out on either the one or two week per Food Phase Plan, especially if you’re taking blood pressure medication. By adding each Food Phase at these intervals, you are more likely to identify particular food groups that contribute to hypertension.