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017. Effective Blood Pressure Management

Are you or a loved one dealing with high blood pressure? 

Many people think that high blood pressure is not a big deal. Well, there is a reason why it is called a silent killer… High blood pressure strikes without warning and causes a heart attack, stroke etc. 

I discuss how you can effectively manage high blood pressure in this podcast. I even discuss some natural ways to control blood pressure with diet/food. 

Episode Highlights:

  • Definition of high blood pressure
  • How to effectively manage blood pressure
  • Complications of high blood pressure

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Show Transcript

Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Wellness Surge Podcast with Dr. Adeola Oke. Each week we discuss our wellness journey with real people like you and me. We have conversations about food, fitness, mental health, financial wellness, and much more so you can get back to the real you. To make sure that you’re up-to-date with this and other wellness topics, visit Information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease please do not apply any of the information presented here without first speaking with your primary care provider. Now, let’s head on to the show.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:00:41] Hello, everybody. Welcome to the Wellness Surge podcast. My name is Dr. Adeola Oke, and today I’m here to talk to you about how to manage blood pressure effectively. And why are we talking about this? Right? High blood pressure is one of the silent killers of our time. So it deserves our attention. Okay.

And even you may say well, everything right now is COVID-19, but even in the COVID-19 era, we want to make sure our blood pressure is under control. So we don’t have to be busy in the hospital and exposing ourselves to things we don’t really want to take home. Alrighty. So what are we going to discuss?

Right. We’re going to talk about high blood pressure, of course, how to effectively manage your blood pressure and the complications of high blood pressure. All right. So just, I’m going to give you guys a little snapshot about myself.  I have  won, several hats in the healthcare field. And as a, as a clinical pharmacist specialist, I work with patients to improve their health through diet, exercise and of course medications.  Well we pharmacists are all about medications, of course, but I am a strong proponent of using diet and exercise to help mitigate things prevents them and possibly reduce the amount of medications you’re going to take. Right. Because. Even if you’re already on medications for blood pressure, you can still make some changes in your diet and your exercise. We can help reduce the amount of medication you’ll be taking, and that can save you some healthcare dollars right there.

Alright. So science continues to show that lifestyle changes are not inferior to medications, especially at the beginning of the disease process and they are often more efficacious in stabilizing or reversing the course of the disease.

Okay, you should also know that many medications were originally derived from natural causes. So because of this, I am, I am very passionate and I’m a strong proponent of the medicinal benefits of food to prevent and treat disease. Okay. So if you’re all for that please say “yay!” Even though I can’t hear you, I’m going to assume you’re saying that.

So I’m going to be talking to you guys like I talk to my patients every day, but let’s start with the basics. Okay. So what is high blood pressure? Well blood  pressure is the pressure of blood against the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Well, if you look at that piece of the picture I have on there, there are three diagrams. Well, we have normal blood pressure and that is just like a regular vessel. Right? So let’s think about a balloon. When we have a balloon that we just put a little water in and the balloon is just working normally. And it’s just like the vessel. No, no stress. Then we have the one that has increased pressure on the walls.

So let’s go back to that. High blood pressure is when blood pushes very hard against blood vessels in your body, most of the time. And so the second picture the one in the middle is what happens most of the time with high blood pressure, this causes the heart to work harder, to pump blood all over your body.

As a result, the blood vessels become stiff and weak. So let me break that down a little bit. So remember I was talking about the balloon, right? You have a balloon, you blow it up and it’s just fine. Right? And then you continue to blow, blow, blow, blow, and the balloon is getting bigger, bigger, bigger, right?

The material for the balloon is not as thick anymore, right. It starts to become more thin and it becomes weak, right? Eventually the balloon can’t blow anymore and then it bursts. The same thing can happen with high blood pressure, right? Because you were blowing so much and you put so much air and pressure, against the walls of the balloon, it popped. I’m saying the same case for high blood pressure. Right? When there’s the increased pressure on the wall, Of the blood vessels, the blood vessels can become thicker right. And it can, it won’t, it will be more stiff and the blood wouldn’t be able to flow as well. And that can lead to so many things.

We’re not even going to go into that, right, but  blood won’t be able to flow as well. And sometimes it will, the blood, the vessel may expand so much that it can pop. And in that case, that’s where you hear about somebody that had a hemorrhagic stroke. So in that case, like the blood vessel popped in the brain because there’s so much pressure. It just popped, pshhh, also like an aneurysm, right. Really high blood pressure can make blood vessel pop somewhere else. Right. So,um, we’re not going into even going to that. I was trying to make you visualize what I’m trying to talk about. Right? So that’s why we need to pay attention to high blood pressure because you may not feel it, but a lot of stuff may be going on your body.

So for proper diagnosis of high blood pressure, your healthcare provider will use an average of two or more readings of your blood pressure. How do we measure blood pressure? We need to know the numbers to be able to come up with a diagnosis or to be able to say, Oh, my blood pressure is high or, it’s not right. So when you get a blood pressure reading that you get two numbers, an upper  number and a lower number. For the upper number that is called the systolic blood pressure. All right. I’m not trying to insult you guys, but I’m just trying to give you the basics. Like if you know it good, if you don’t you’ll learn something, right.

The upper  number, like I said, systolic blood pressure. This is the pressure when the heart squeezes blood out to the rest of the body and blood flows. Right. And then the  lower number. Right? That is the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats, right? So the heart squeeze, it works and then it has to relax.

Right? We want that pressure and that, that’s the lower number you saw you see in the picture I have over there. So what is normal in adults? Well, normal means a lot of things to a lot of people, but normal blood pressure in general is about 120 over 80. Right. Elevated blood pressure. Yes. 120- 129 over 80.

So if you check your blood pressure and it’s ranging in that area, know that you’re heading towards high blood pressure. Okay, and you need to start doing something about it. Stage one high blood pressure is defined as 130- 139, and with diastolic region of between 80 and 89 and the stage two is 140 or above with diastolic. of 90 and above. Right? Basic numbers. You don’t need to put that in your head. You can always just Google it. Alright. So what is the blood pressure goal.  Right before you can start treating something, you need to know what your goal is and that’s the approach I go with my patients and coming up with a blood pressure goal requires a lot. It’s not just one size fits all. It has to do with your risk. Right? The blood pressure targets are based on the patient’s risk of having a future cardiac event. So say somebody has had a history of a heart attack before or a stroke. The likelihood of having that in future is higher. Their blood pressure goal will be lower. Somebody has diabetes and kidney disease, right? Heart failure. All of that. Their chances of having an event in future is higher. So their blood pressure goal is usually about 130 over 80. So this is just the general. I just listed some, this is not an exhaustive list.

I just didn’t want to bore you, gave you some numbers right there. So just keep in mind people of African descent or. Or people of color too. Just for some reason, our body is just more at risk for this. So we just need to know that our blood pressure goal is most likely in the 130 over 80 range. Right. Just keep that in general for most people alrighy.

So how do you check blood pressure? Right. That’s it’s somewhat controversial. Some people would like to do it a certain way, but this is how I like to do it. I feel like I tell my patients the best time I like you to check your blood pressure is first thing in the morning. Before you take your blood pressure medications, before you eat before you drink. Oh, well, no, before you drink, but before you eat, so you want to make sure you do this. Check your blood pressure before you smoke at least 30 minutes before you smoke at least 30 minutes before you drink any caffeinated beverage, want to make sure you have not done any exercise 30 minutes before you check your blood pressure.

No smoking. 30 minutes before you check your blood pressure. So no smoking, no exercise and no caffeinated products 30 minutes before you check your blood pressure, but if you check your blood pressure first thing  in the morning, what’s the likelihood of doing all those things really low. And this is why I say check your blood pressure first thing in the morning. Most heart attacks happen very early in the morning. That’s why it’s good to know where your blood pressure is when it seems like the medication is starting to wear off. You want to make sure you have medication or good blood pressure control, if you’re not even on medication, very early in the morning, when the likelihood of heart attack  is higher. Okay. Alright. And so how do you check this blood pressure? Sure. You empty your bladder because interestingly,  a full bladder can affect your blood pressure readings. Alrighty. So you’ve emptied your bladder. You sit down. Okay. No talking all those doctors that you go to, the hospital, the clinic and the nurse is talking to you while checking the blood pressure… ahh, it just makes me want to scream! So no talking right. Put feet flat on the ground. Okay. sit down with a chair that has a back support. All right. So you’re supporting yourself and then you put your hand around your heart level and you check that blood pressure. Right. m, so you’re going to check the first time, right?

It may be higher because a lot of stuff has gone on, maybe you were stressed or yelled at somebody. So that first reading. Just let it go. Then just sit down there again. Relax. Just like I tell my mom, just sit down there. You know, don’t stress about that one. Sit down there. Relax. Right. And three to five minutes later, check it again and you will be surprised that the blood pressure reading you get will be way lower than the first one. Okay. So the main thing is we want to make sure you’re relaxed before you check your blood pressure. And even if you get a reading the first time, want to make sure you check it a second time after your body has had a chance to relax some more. Don’t forget that. Alright. And because you don’t want to stress yourself over something when your blood pressure is not really that high, it’s just the fact of what’s going on in your life.

So what can high blood pressure do to you? It is a silent killer because it has no symptoms, but when it does strike, it can cause damage to blood vessels all over the body. And this can cause a stroke. Like I talked about earlier, it can cause a heart attack. It can cause heart failure . When heart failure happens, you may wonder what that is, but the heart is not working like it should be. all the vessels of the heart becomes stiff. In some cases like the vessels become, it becomes bigger. The heart becomes bigger in size and it can’t pump blood where it should be. Sometimes you may see some swelling here, swelling there, and it’s not fun can. High blood pressure can cause kidney disease. So when you see patients on dialysis, it could be the cause. It’s not the only cause in, in all cases. And it can cause erectile dysfunction and nobody likes erectile dysfunction. Okay.

So how can we manage this blood pressure? We’ve talked about what blood pressure is, all the nasty things it can cause. How can we manage this? Right.

Well, we have the pleasure of living in a world where there’s junk food, junk food everywhere. The problem is this fast foods are way easier to buy and they contain artificial ingredients that make you feel good, and you just want to continue eating it. But sometimes they have things that, they have way too much salt, or they have salt wannabes kind of thing. So you need to be very careful about that.

Did you know that. I’m going to drop one golden nugget right here. Did you know that over 60% of all chronic diseases can be prevented? If people eat a healthy diet over  60% of all chronic diseases can be prevented. If people eat a healthy diet. Let, that sink in for a minute. So we need to be very careful what we are giving our body and what we are putting in our mouth. Okay. So I was just talking about things that, how to manage blood pressure. When it comes to blood pressure, sodium is a big deal, right? We want to limit salt intake. So what are the sources of sodium? So we can know. Well salt, so managing blood pressure,  salt is a big deal. And we’ll talk about that a little more.

Most of the foods in our diet comes from processed foods, and they’re really high in salt. When you have foods that are high in salt, they drive your blood pressure. Okay. So when it comes to salt, we want to watch out for the salty six, the top six common foods that add the most salt to your diets.

Okay. So you want to make sure you read food labels and choose the lowest level of sodium you can find in any of this items. All right. Breads and rolls. Yes. Sorry, your bread that you love. Yes. It could be high in salt. Pizza. Yes, yes. Yes, could be high in salt. Soup, right? Especially those canned soups. You know, the reason why salt is high in this food is because salt is used as a preservative. Right. And when you have foods with salt in there, it prevents stuff from going there, microorganisms and stuff, and it can make the food last longer on the shelf. In the supermarket before you buy it… in the grocery store before you buy it. Hence the reason there’s a lot of salt in this, but the sad thing is this high salt is driving our blood pressure higher.

Right? So cold cuts. So like you go to the deli and you’re going to get some cold cuts. Well, they are usually  high in salt to preserve it. Poultry and sandwiches. Okay. So those are the six. Let me say them again. Cold cuts and cured meats. Poultry, sandwiches, bread and rolls, pizza, and soup. Those are the most common foods most of us eat, most people eat., And just be careful, when you go to the grocery store, be sure to check the food label and how much salt is in it. I’ll be showing you what a food label looks like in a minute, but just hang in there. Okay. Alright. So other sources of sodium will be your monosodium glutamate, right? Chinese food usually has a lot of MSG. African food, people that like to cook with Maaggi, Knorr cube. In this day and age, I am still, I’m just, I’m always like really? I just open my mouth, like. With how much education goes that goes in. I’m still very shocked when I see people cooking with MSG, especially people of African descent where we know that yeah we are at a higher risk of high blood pressure. It’s really had to change, but you just, for the sake of your health, I think you just need to change your taste buds. Right? It was really hard in my house too. And I actually, have a friend that will say, Oh, my husband is complaining that the soup does not taste good, blah, blah, blah. I’m like, yes, but if he loves himself and if you love him, you will let go of that MSG. You will find alternatives. When I started, when I let go of MSG, I started using like celery, spring onion. Okay. You’d be surprised how much onion goes a long way. Like if you use a lot of onion in your food or even other herb’s and stuff, it goes a long way in, in making the food taste delicious. You will, it’s just, you have to change your mindset when you change your mindset, it can change the world. Same thing here. Change your mindset. Forget about that MSG in the food. I am sorry about this long rant, but I’m just, I’m always so shocked when people close to me they are still consuming this MSG, and then they come to your house. They’re like, “your food doesn’t taste good”. And I’m like, whatever, men. Sorry about that.

Sources of Sodium. Baking soda and baking powder. Anything  with sodium or Na in its name. All right. Okay. Like I said, please limit salt intake. The black race is more sensitive to salt when compared to other races. So. Please be very careful. The recommended  daily serving of salt is about one teaspoon per day for healthy adult. If a person of color, should take in half a teaspoon of extra salt, half a teaspoon of extra salt, this can raise their blood pressure by about five points.

Okay. And I know we’re taking in more than half a teaspoon extra. So please be very careful people for those with high blood pressure. If you can limit intake of your salt to, about half a teaspoon per day, it can improve your blood pressure and your heart health in general, and avoid adding salt to your foods at the table. This is where a lot of patients…people, get in trouble. At the table like they cook. Right. They cook. They may put salt. They may not, but then they get to the table, they get their steak,… salt, or they get whatever food and they put salt. I even had a patient, he was like, I don’t use salt. Guess what, he uses salts to eat apples. And I’m like, WHAT who would think, you know, people use like salt to eat avocado, basically, like cantaloupe. Apples ?… I am sure that it must taste good, but he didn’t realize it because it’s something he has always done. And he just, you know, most of us don’t realize these things. And it’s just things we’ve always done. And we just, it is just second nature to us. We just need to take a step back and figure out where at the hidden sources of salt in our diet. Okay. Like those, those frozen foods  there’s always a low sodium option…in most cases. Alrighty.

So how do you read a sample of a food label? Right. There’s something called the nutrition facts on all foods in the grocery store. If it’s in a package, right. And you just go through, you can check your calories, you can check the nutrients and you can see the sodium. The sodium is on the yellow part of that slide. And, and this is about 20% and that’s on the high side. Okay. So that’s it. That’s where you check the food label.

I’m not going to go into details of all that. What else can you do? Well, when you eat foods rich in potassium, such as banana, right there sauce. There are many facets of potassium, but the one that I just came to mind. Yeah, it’s banana. Right. And why is this important? The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through your urine.

Okay. And hence, it helps your blood pressure also. Potassium also helps the tension in the walls of your blood vessel. Remember the blood vessels that I said , like the balloon, right? It starts to get thinner and thinner, not thinner, but it’s not a, it’s not working as well until it pops. right? The potassium helps that blood vessel, and it helps reduce the tension over there and helps your blood pressure. But keep this in mind, this is not a license for you to go to the store to go and buy some potassium supplements. Okay. Because, everything in moderation. Too much potassium can stop your heart. It can kill you. Please do not take extra potassium. If your healthcare provider did not give it to you. So no, please don’t go to the store to buy potassium supplements. If  your healthcare provider, primary care provider, didn’t say you needed to go and buy it. Please, I am begging you.

This is not a license for you to go and buy extra potassium. But! Instead of using salt, there are potassium alternatives. So people, instead of  them using salt in their food, there’s some salt alternatives. They usually have potassium in them, which help your blood pressure. So you can do that.

Or, you can eat fruits and vegetables rich in potassium. All right. What else can you? You can limit alcohol intake. If you’re smoking, try to quit. And if you’re not smoking, please don’t start. And also keep in mind, you want to avoid second hand smoke. Because smoking increases blood pressure, just like alcohol can increase blood pressure.

Exercise. BE active for at least 30 minutes every day you can dance, you can walk, you can jog, do something you love and you can be consistent with don’t start some big exercise thingy, but you can follow through on, do something you love. Okay. Please do that for me. Oh, well for yourself. Of course of vegetables and fruit.

So we’re going to talk a little bit more about vegetables and fruits. So that’s why I am not even talking about that right now. Okay. So what else? Vegetables have so many benefits and it can help reduce inflammation in your body. Fruits! Fruit juices are  not a good choice because the fruit juices have high sugar and low fiber. An easy way to get lots of fruits and vegetables is to make a vegetable fruit smoothie.

So how much should you be taking? Strive for a minimum of about five cups of vegetables and fruits. And so you can say you can have two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables, and you’re good. Easy way to do it? Dump it all in the blender = smoothie. Especially when it’s hot, but it’s such a wonderful way to get your fruits and vegetables.

Okay. Alrighty. How else can we lower blood pressure naturally? Right. Well, this is always my favorite. My favorite Cocoa found in dark chocolate, right? Who doesn’t like chocolate? Shown, by science. All right. This is not just because I like chocolate it’s food shown by science. The dark chocolate with at least 70% of cocoa mass  is very rich and flavonoids.

Not the milk chocolate, not the white chocolate, a dark chocolate. About 70% of cocoa mass. Alright well, can help lower your blood pressure. So the rich flavanoids in there can lower your blood pressure. So this is the nice thing. We have a product coming out. It’s called the Wellness Surge Premium  Super Green. It has a cocoa seed extract in it. And you get the benefits of cocoa without the calories. Another one is  black seed, right? Another way to lower your blood pressure- black seeds help lower your blood pressure. Guess what? Our Wellness Surge Premium Greens also has black seed extracts in it.

All right. Okay. How else can you do a blood pressure? With garlic? Garlic is so good for so many things , you can dump it in food and nobody will smell it.  But maybe some people eat it raw? Whatever. But garlic is so good. Green tea is another one. And, Hibiscus tea! Right? Well, that’s the one that like it’s very interesting. Drinking it every day can actually help lower your blood pressure.

Medications to avoid if you have high blood pressure.  People don’t know this but, things like Alive, your ibuprofen,things like that, Celebrex.  They are called something nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs, and they’re not good for people that have high blood pressure. One because they can increase your blood pressure. They can affect your kidneys, they can affect your heart.

So please, if you have high blood pressure, stay away from them. An alternative to use. If you’re in pain will be your acetaminophin. Your para- stuff like  that. Okay. Acetaminophen. Easy to remember.

Things that can also increase blood pressure, nasal decongestants, such as phenylepherine, corticosteroids.

So. Steroids can increase blood pressure. They can increase so many things. Testosterone and other anabolic steroids. Yes. This can also increase blood pressure. So people that use STEM testosterone, like injectable ones that can increased blood pressure. So people don’t like to let go of that.

Even if they have high blood pressure. That’s your choice, but just know this, it can increase blood pressure. Ephedra can do the same.

So the take Home message is this, okay. I’ve talked about a lot. I was very passionate about my salts, my MSG, my soap box. I know that I’ve said a lot today. It does seem a little bit overwhelming, but I want you to know this high blood pressure is preventable and it can be effectively managed, right?

Compared to taking medications, the effect of food and natural compounds work in a slower and more long lasting way. You may not feel the immediate effects in your body when you’re doing like the diet, the exercise and things like that. But I promise you that in the long run, your body and your family will thank you for taking care of it. And the changing diet and exercise will not only affect your blood pressure, but will affect other body parts too. All right. So the most important thing you can do today is to take the first step to change. I have said so many things today, but I would like you to please pick one, just one. If it is the sodium intake, then go for it. If it’s the exercise, you don’t have to totally cut MSG from your diet.  If you’re using like a whole cube, right? You can take a one cube. If you’re useing one cube, you can reduce it to half. Right. And just take baby steps. But choose one thing to work on today and then I’ll  know that I’ve made a difference. All right, because yes, the reason I’m doing this not so that I can come here and look good. Or talk to you all.  It’s because our goal is to equip you with tools to improve your physical, mental, and financial wellness. So that’s why I’m doing this. All right. So please pick one thing that you can, and you can stick with, but please you can take baby steps. You don’t have to go from MSG. Full-blown Maaggi or Knorr cube to none. Just start to cut it out slowly. And  on your way. Alright. So keep  in mind that this, that blood pressure, keeping your blood pressure under control can save your life. And can save the life of somebody you love. All right, your husband, your wife, somebody you’re cooking for it can save their life.

All right. So I’m all for the saying ‘prevention is better than cure!’ Who is with me? All right. It was a pleasure presenting this with you today. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave us a message.

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