Hello My Friends
Welcome To The Vitality Project!
As a professional health coach concerned with the health and well-being of my clients it is my intention to improve your well-being and longevity by using the principles of nutrition, fitness, diet, lifestyle dynamics, and anti-aging medicine.
High blood pressure or hypertension, as it is frequently referred to is a very dangerous disorder. The “silent killer” is an accurate descriptor for this very common medical concern as it greatly increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and blindness. From a global perspective; high blood pressure is directly attributed to the development of approximately 50 % of the cases of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is caused by a series of factors, when combined can insidiously damage your blood vessels hence compromising your health.
In my opinion, in the vast majority of cases, hypertension can be prevented by the application of certain lifestyle choices. Here are some of my suggestions.
• Change In Diet
There has been a great deal of media hype and attention afforded to the concept of sodium restriction. Of course, decreasing sodium is a good idea as most North Americans eat far too much sodium in their diets. However, some people like black Americans are more prone to the effects which salt has upon their kidneys and the resultant influence upon blood pressure. In my opinion, it’s the “out of control” consumption of refined grains, sugar and high calorie junk-food that causes the most damage. This type of diet increases blood sugar, insulin secretion, inflammation and fat deposition. The result is the development of insulin resistance with the sequential rise in blood pressure. If your diet consists of foods high in saturated fat like meat and butter or fried foods, you may also be ingesting trans fats. These types of fats can increase blood pressure because they increase the inflammatory response. Substituting this type of diet for one that contains more fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fatty fish, nuts, olive oil and lean protein can greatly influence your blood pressure in a positive direction.
In my opinion, the most influential cause of high blood pressure is the over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugar and high fructose corn syrup which causes very high and sustained levels of insulin. This continual state of hyperinsulinemia causes increases in blood pressure among many other harmful physiological changes. This leads to the metabolic syndrome…the precursor to type-2 diabetes.
There is a direct relationship between smoking and the elevation of blood pressure. Smoking causes lowered amounts of oxygen in the blood and this increases the blood pressure as does the toxic chemicals contained within the smoke which irritate the sensitive vascular linings of your arteries. Smoking also prevents the secretion of an enzyme known as nitric oxide which normally causes relaxation of the smooth muscle walls of your arteries. The only way to do this right is to quit smoking full-stop. Talk to your doctor for more information regarding smoking cessation.
• Physical Activity
There is no doubt that regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and controls it rather well. Regular exercise relaxes blood vessels, lowers high levels of insulin and inflammation. It also increases fat loss and decreases the resting heart rate, and levels of certain hormones which cause increases in blood pressure. I recommend exercising at least 45-60 minutes per day of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity like brisk walking, cycling or cross-trainer. Combine this with resistance training 3-4 times per week and you will be well on your way to lowering your blood pressure.
According to research only 1/3 of patients receiving drug treatments for hyper tension achieve the desired blood pressure goals. Certainly, drug therapies designed to lower blood pressure do not manage the stress which is the basis of the problem. Psychological stress is a big issue in today’s society where competition in the workplace to getting a parking space can be a stressful experience. Stress accounts for more lost time from work than any other reason and continues to plague our society. Studies looking at the relationship, between stress and poorly-controlled blood pressure have seen a correlation between levels of impulsiveness, depression, anger and general stress contrasted to those who have adequate control over their blood pressure. Stress-reduction techniques including yoga, tai-chi, exercise classes and meditation can all be useful if practiced daily.
As humans age, the arteries become stiffer and much less resilient. This makes the prospect of high blood pressure much more certain. It is imperative that prevention occur early in life so when you are in your mid-fifties….your blood pressure remains normal and your resting heart rate within the lower range of normal for your age group.
Together you and I will work as a team to accomplish all of your health needs and to ensure that you practice prevention and live your life through the lens of quality.
Remember….your quality of life is the measurement of successful living regardless of your age.
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project