Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most common conditions in the UK. While medications are currently used to manage it, they can cause unwanted side effects. Instead, experts suggest using a functional medicine approach to tackle the problem.
Here, we will look at what a functional medicine approach means and how it can help to manage hypertension.
What is a functional medicine approach for hypertension?
A functional medicine approach for hypertension focuses on treating the actual cause of the problem. There are several things that can cause hypertension, including:
- A poor diet
- Excess alcohol consumption
In some cases, the exact cause may not be known. However, in the majority of patients lifestyle factors causing insulin resistance are involved and a functional medical approach can be highly effective at combatting it.
How does it differ from traditional medicine?
Functional medicine is different from traditional medicine in that it treats the underlying cause rather than just the symptoms. Traditional medication is prescribed to combat the symptoms only. While obviously a reduction in symptoms is a good thing, it doesn’t eliminate the problem altogether.
It is thought that genetics only plays a role in around 1% of hypertension cases. This means that the majority of cases could be solved through a functional medicine approach.
Understanding high blood pressure
Hypertension is diagnosed when a patient experiences high blood pressure for at least a few weeks. Blood pressure is considered to be high when it goes over the healthy range of 140/80. So, if your blood pressure readings come out at 140/90 or more, that is when you have a problem. It means that the heart is being placed under more stress due to the stress/inflammation the whole body is experiencing. This chronic inflammation/stress manifests itself differently in patients, but high blood pressure and accelerated ageing, hardening of the arteries/heart attacks and dementia are known possible consequences.
The main issue with high blood pressure is that it typically does not cause any symptoms. You will only know that you have it if you have your blood pressure tested. It will need to be tested a few times to diagnose the condition. This is because your blood pressure can alter throughout the day due to a wide range of factors. Consistent high readings are the main way to identify hypertension.
The main treatment offered to patients currently is medication. However, functional medicine presents a different approach. Solving the root cause of the problem, could return your blood pressure to normal levels. Making simple changes such as eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can all help to combat hypertension.