Doctors might ass well tell their patients their blood pressure is fast or slow, acute or chronic, temporary or permanent, flat or oval, or anything else that enters their mind as to tell them that it is high or low, for only a few patients know about what it means--if it is not thoroughly explained. And many doctors are rather averse to explain abnormal conditions or any physiological activity.
Some doctors are inclined to frighten their patients by mentioning the outcome of high blood pressure, emphasizing the most serious consequences and by not being able to assure the patient that such “accidents” need not be encountered. The mere recital of such possible consequences is enough to raise the blood pressure several points in many individuals.
What is blood pressure? It will be found explained in the discussion of Low Blood Pressure, on a later page. High blood pressure is that above 150 mm as explained in the discussion mentioned, but it would be a great deal better for most people if their blood pressure never reached this high point of normal-the normal range being from 100 to 150 mm. If one could keep the pressure from going above 135 mm even in old age there would be less going above 135 mm. If one could keep the pressure from going above 135 mm even in old age there would be less wear and tear upon the heart, blood vessels and general system.
The direct causes of high blood pressure are abnormal resistance in the walls of blood vessels, and increased heart action. The underlying causes are toxemia’s, or a condition caused by lack or proper care of the skin by suitable baths, free perspiration, or porous clothing, which may so constrict or partially occlude the capillaries or so thicken the blood that it can not flow normally through the capillaries. Gradual deposition of calcareous mineral matter in the blood-vessel walls, from these same causes and a concentrated diet deficient in water, fruits and vegetables, will in time so harden these vessels that they lose their elasticity and thereby offer more resistance to the circulation of the blood.
Kidney disease may cause a retention of certain substances in the blood, which irritate the nerves of the vessels and cause a contraction of the muscular walls of the blood vessels, thus increasing resistance. The heart may become enlarged because of leaking valves or through excessive muscular activity or abnormal kidney or nerve action, and give a more powerful beat. In this case Nature may gradually deposit additional material in the vessel wall to combat the increased force of the heart-beat, but in her preservative action she becomes over-enthusiastic and in time the vessel walls become hard and resistive.
The sections of the brain that control the tone of the blood-vessel may be over-stimulated by mental stress over longperiods of time, by anxiety, worry, or other emotions, and the vessels become contracted from too much lone. Any condition that increases resistance will in time enlarge the heart, which will then continue to maintain the high pressure. One rarely finds a case of very high blood pressure without also having to deal with some degree of arteriosclerosis, kidney disease or heart enlargement.
These various causes are, in turn, due to excessive food or an unbalanced diet, insufficiency of water-intake, dearth of fresh fruits and green vegetables, too much meat, starches or sweets, constipation, excessive mental activities, physical activities that overtax, especially competitive sports and athletics, and various other dissipation’s.
The symptoms may be those of heart disturbances; of kidney trouble; or of cerebral (brain) irregularities irritability, excitability, emotional outbreaks, insomnia or drowsiness, memory affections, visual disturbances, headache, head noises; or various sensations in or clumsiness of different extremities - the extremities may pain, tingle, feel numb, or “go to sleep”. Nosebleed is quite common, and may be frequent and profuse. The stomach may be much disturbed, with various symptoms of indigestion, and there may be lung or pleural affections. The patient may feel quite well until some condition of a more or less serious nature is brought on suddenly by over-exertion physically, mentally, or emotionally, Ulethoric of “full-blooded” people are more usually susceptible to high blood pressure, but slender ones also may be affected. After the arteries become hardened the weight usually reduces.
The treatment of these high blood pressure cases cannot be expected to prove effective unless any exciting cause or causes be avoided. The environment, including one’s occupation, should be agreeable. Medical men say, “determine the cause and treat that,” because they treat different organs and symptoms with different drugs. But as natural treatment is in the main similar for various abnormal conditions, the placing of the patient on a program that will allow the entire body to be restored to as nearly normal as possible will do all that treating any specific organ will do, and vastly more, However, it is advisable to have a capable physician in charge of critical or severe cases.
The most important factor of treatment, next to mental equilibrium or calmness, is diet, because practically every case of high blood pressure, whether considered more directly due to kidney, heart or circulatory disorders, in reality is due to dietetic errors. Whether the blood pressure be dangerously high or merely above normal there should be at once a curtailment of diet. In the dangerously high cases the absolute fast or a diet of fruit juices or vegetable broth alone should be taken-and such a diet would be good in the initial treatment of nay case. Whether such a limited diet is followed or not, every protein, starch and unnatural sweet should be eliminated from the diet until the pressure has been reduced to safety. Juicy fruits may constitute one or two meals a day, with or without a small amount of milk, and other meal should be strictly of green vegetables, both cooked and uncooked. Spices, condiments, tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco are strictly taboo.
After considerable reduction of pressure the diet may include further foods, but if meats and starches are resumed they should be taken extremely sparingly and not oftener than twice a week each. Natural sweets may be used in moderate amounts, also natural fats-cream and butter especially.
If there is pronounced hardening of the arteries the reduced mild diet will be of benefit, and in the milder cases the full milk will be of great value. Considerable water should be drunk every day unless the full milk diet is followed.
The bowels must be kept active, and this may be accomplished by the fruits and vegetables or, if necessary, by the enema. The skin activity, also, must be increased, so as to reduce toxemia and, especially, so as to reduce the resistance to the circulation in the skin vessels and, through these, in the entire body. As this can not be accomplished by exercise in these cases, especially if extremely high blood pressure exists, various water treatments may be use, and very effective and safely.
An immersion bath at ninety-eight to one hundred degrees for fifteen minutes (more or less) may be given once or twice a day; or a cold wet pack about the trunk, covered thoroughly with dry blankets, may be given twice a day, for from thirty to forty-five minutes at a time; or the entire body except the head may be wrapped in a sheet wrung from water at about seventy degrees, in a dry blanket covering the sheet snugly. Usually the reaction will not be long delayed. But to hasten it if necessary and to induce perspiration fairly quickly, hot-water bottles may be placed about the patient’s feet and thigh, beneath the dry blanket. More blankets may be spread over the patient, who should meanwhile drink copiously of hot, unsweetened lemonade or plain hot water. If there is a tendency to headache or any other cerebral symptoms, a cloth may be placed on the forehead or about the head.
The headache of high blood pressure usually can be greatly alleviated by the long neutral or barely warm tub bath, with cold cloths or turban about the head; by cold cloths over the heart region covering these cloths with heavy blankets, or by the hot foot-bath or hot leg-bath the latter being taken the same as a foot-bath except that a large pail or other deep vessel is use, with the water nearly to the knees. The water for both the foot and leg bath should first be at about one hundred four degrees and increased gradually (within three minutes) up to one hundred eighteen degrees or one hundred twenty degrees. A cold turban may be about the head during this bath, which may continue for from ten to thirty minutes, according to effect. The feet should be given a quick cold splash or dash immediately at the finish of the hot bath. These treatments may be given for any case of high tension, whether or not headache is among the symptoms present.
Exercise is an important part of the treatment of beginning high blood pressure, and later in severe cases after the tension has been brought down to a safe point. Exercise must necessarily have some effect upon the skin increasing at least the “invisible” perspiration if not producing “sensible” (visible) perspiration; and this is a valuable effect in these cases. Exercise also dilates the arteries, the arterioles or minute arteries, and the capillaries. Furthermore, it has a favorable effect upon the region of the brain that largely governs the tone of the vessels, relaxing this tone when too high, and thus lowering arterial resistance.
The effect of exercise may be surmised from the fact that manual laborers are not nearly as frequently affected with high blood pressure as are mental workers, especially those who take upon themselves unnecessary burdens. Worries may be called mental workers, so far as the maintaining of excessive tone of the arterial system is concerned and so, also, may those who are excessively active emotionally. The types of exercise most valuable are walking, resistive movements (resistance by an attendant), and show active movements of various muscle groups. A considerable amount of time should be spent in the fresh air, for the beneficial effects of the air and sun upon the skin and of the oxygen upon the lungs.
It should be remembered that high blood pressure might develop insidiously-and that the brain, the kidneys, the heart or the blood vessels may be seriously affected in this condition. But it is not until the causes have been long continued and until there has been considerable degeneration in some or all of these structures that the serious “accidents” or possibilities are encountered. Even after one of these serious complications much can be done to bring about more nearly normal conditions, and the patient be permitted to enjoy a fair degree of health-whether the serious occurrence involve the brain, the heart, or the kidneys, As a safety precaution it should be a routine procedure by everyone to have a thorough examination of the vital organs and the blood pressure noted every year at least. It would be well to adopt the plan of having such an examination each birthday. It might serve to catch one speeding up too much and detect a beginning break, and thus put one more on his guard.
High blood pressure is quite amenable to treatment if taken in hand when detected and combated in a natural, constructive manner. And as worry aggravates it greatly, one should avoid this as much as possible. If you have it, get after it rationally, but at the same time let events shape themselves much as they will, and “let the rest of the world go by”. One certainly can not keep up a fast pace of living with high blood pressure. One must plan to take life calmly, and philosophically.
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