Vegan with high blood pressure?? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-01-2007, 06:01 PM
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I am really stumped...



My boyfriend has been vegetarian for over three years, vegan for over a year, and has high blood pressure (yesterday at the doctor reading 170/100).



He is not overweight (6'1" and about 210 with muscle), does not smoke, does not drink. Granted, we have not been the most physically active, but we are trying to get more of a gym routine going. We try to eat low sodium, avoid most caffeine, etc.



What is going on? High blood pressure DOES run in his family, but both of his parents never had problems until recently (in their late 40s). His brother, who is three years younger, is overweight, quite sedentary, drinks, and smokes, yet he has "normal" blood pressure.



When my boyfriend saw a doctor yesterday, he told him about his dietary lifestyle, and the doctor stressed that diet only contributes 25% to blood pressure. I know that heredity does play a role, but is it THAT significant of a role that all the other healthy aspects of his life do not make up for it in any way?



He is getting blood work on Saturday and will see the doctor again in a less than a month. We are going to work on cooking even better foods and going to the gym daily, in the mean time.



Does anyone have any thoughts? I googled for "vegans with high blood pressure" and all similar combinations but could find absolutely nothing. This just seems unreal to me. Can anyone help?
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#2 Old 11-01-2007, 06:10 PM
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Is he on any medications? My normal blood pressure is 100/60, but some meds I've taken have made it go way up. Things like salt, alcohol, and stress can also add to blood pressure.
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#3 Old 11-01-2007, 06:20 PM
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Nope, no medication. And I think stress could be a factor, but he says he feels a lot less stressed out since May. Before then, he was working and going to school full-time, and he was really burnt out. That has improved, though, so... still not sure.
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#4 Old 11-01-2007, 11:10 PM
 
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Unfortunately, for certain segments of the population, diet will not factor in at all. Someone who is predisposed to HBP can eat all of the fiber, low sat fat, etc. that they'd like, but unfortunately medication may be required. Same with high cholesterol.



As far as vegans with HBP goes why not. HBP/atherosclerosis/narrowing of arteries is caused by many things including a high sat fat diet and inactivity. Palm kernel oil and coconut oil happen to contain the highest amount of saturated fatty acids of any food. Vegans can eat those. I love coconut oil!! Vegans also can be inactive and smoke cigarettes. Vegetarians can be even worse especially if they eat dairy products (saturated fat, cholesterol).



Cholesterol is only found in animal products, but some individuals can have high cholesterol regardless of their dietary intake due to apolipoprotein E polymorphism. Luckily, most of us respond well to a healthy diet, but, unfortunately, there are many vegans (ZERO dietary cholesterol intake) that have either high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or both.



Hopefully, he will find that starting an exercise regime and cutting out saturated fats <7% since he has HBP will help! If not he should definitely keep seeing a doctor. I have a very healthy, lean, young, and highly active friend who has very high blood pressure. He was always stressed and wired which was a result of the HBP in his case, not the cause. He was prescribed medications for his BP. Not his number one choice, but nothing else helped.
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#5 Old 11-02-2007, 05:38 AM
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Thanks for the response and story about your friend, holly! That was really helpful. I am aware of the hereditary factors involved with high blood pressure, but I just couldn't find anything anywhere about vegans with it, so it seemed odd. I think the vegan diet is sometimes sold as the answer to high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. so the stories of vegans WITH high blood pressure will probably be few and far between. Like you said, diet does affect most people, but I guess for some, heredity can be far more overwhelming, unfortunately. Again, thanks for the response! We are going to the gym and being even more vigilant about fats, salts, etc. We'll see what happens...
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#6 Old 11-02-2007, 08:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holly golightly View Post

Unfortunately, for certain segments of the population, diet will not factor in at all. Someone who is predisposed to HBP can eat all of the fiber, low sat fat, etc. that they'd like, but unfortunately medication may be required.



Yeah my mums like that!

My blood pressures naturally high too, although not enough for medication yet. they wouldnt let me on the pill though
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#7 Old 11-02-2007, 09:56 AM
 
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I wouldn't take the issue lightly. Younger people with a healthy life style shouldn't have high blood pressure. First you GP has to find out if it isn't a secondary form of HBP. You work on the reason behind and might be healed from your HBP. Whereas in primary (also called essential) HBP you might have to go on drugs. The get a precise diagnosis is well worth the effort.

If I'm not answering quickly enough - leave a note on Twitter for @Rheumatologe
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#8 Old 11-02-2007, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 833 View Post

He is not overweight (6'1" and about 210 with muscle)...



A few years ago, I was 180 with borderline HBP (140/90). I'm 6' 2". BMI was 23, solidly within the range of what the CDC considers "normal" weight. My insurance company wanted me to go on BP lowering drugs or lose my coverage. As an experiment, I dropped 30 lbs. instead (new BMI is 19). My BP dropped rapidly to 115/80. As far as I know, all other variables remained constant (diet, exercise, etc.)



My experience may or may not have any relevance to your BF's situation. I'm just throwing this out as a data point to consider. Your BF could run a little mini-experiment, such as dropping 10 or 15 lbs. and see if BP drops or remains stubbornly elevated.



Good luck!



P.S. Unlike your BF, my body is on the scrawny side. Your BF's target weight numbers should of course be adjusted upward to account for muscle and/or a 'large frame'. You might be horrified at what your BF would look like at 150 lbs.
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#9 Old 11-02-2007, 10:34 AM
 
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Magnesium is known for lowering blood pressure. Since you are doing everything you can medically, try to incorportate more magnesium righ foods and follow through with all doctor's advice/appointments.

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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#10 Old 11-02-2007, 12:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 833 View Post

Thanks for the response and story about your friend, holly! That was really helpful. I am aware of the hereditary factors involved with high blood pressure, but I just couldn't find anything anywhere about vegans with it, so it seemed odd. I think the vegan diet is sometimes sold as the answer to high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. so the stories of vegans WITH high blood pressure will probably be few and far between. Like you said, diet does affect most people, but I guess for some, heredity can be far more overwhelming, unfortunately. Again, thanks for the response! We are going to the gym and being even more vigilant about fats, salts, etc. We'll see what happens...



Your welcome

and good luck.

‎"I just think there's something in being lost. I never feel lost. I just think, 'Oh. I've taken a diversion'." ~ Karl Pilkington
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#11 Old 11-02-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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how about starting some more meditative exersices and activities for stress relief. it doesnt have to be sitting in one position, humming, w/ eyes closed...but yoga and pilates type stretching, a walk, massages! (heehee)...a pet???!!! (you could spend some time volunteering at an animal shelter)



i agree w/ the weight thing too...even though he may be in range, losing even a few pounds, im sure will help.

often, we dont know how much fat we are really carrying around... small people can still be "fat" and be "in range" for BMI, likewise, there can be a heavier person who is more fit.



has he had his liver and kidney functions checked??
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#12 Old 11-02-2007, 04:16 PM
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Thanks for all the great responses!



To answer about having his kidneys and liver functions checked, no, he hasn't. This last time to the doctor was the first in a long time, because he hasn't been having any other problems. I am hoping this blood work-up will be able to help in some way.



I also read that losing body fat, even when one is not "fat," can help lower blood pressure, so that is something to consider in light of all this. I hadn't heard about magnesium's lowering effect, so I'll check that out. Thanks!
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#13 Old 11-03-2007, 11:38 AM
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Last time I was in to see my GP, because of stress related high blood pressure, I overheard an older couple talking about Apple Cider Vinegar. They had both been diagnosed with high blood pressure and prescribed medication, one took the meds. the other chose to go on 1 tablespoon of ACV a day {an organic, unpasterized brand}. I had to ask them what the results were, the one on meds still was having trouble stabalizing their blood pressure, the one on ACV now had a normal reading. Check with your Doctor first with any medical problems, and discuss alternative treatments as well.
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#14 Old 11-03-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DLS View Post

Last time I was in to see my GP, because of stress related high blood pressure, I overheard an older couple talking about Apple Cider Vinegar. They had both been diagnosed with high blood pressure and prescribed medication, one took the meds. the other chose to go on 1 tablespoon of ACV a day {an organic, unpasterized brand}. I had to ask them what the results were, the one on meds still was having trouble stabalizing their blood pressure, the one on ACV now had a normal reading. Check with your Doctor first with any medical problems, and discuss alternative treatments as well.



: : hahaha...

i cant even tell you the jokes we have in our house about "the mutha" (ACV)... my mom swears by the stuff for EVERYTHING!! colds, skin, ebola!! hahaha.



there is a cure-all drink....ACV (tbs or so), dash of honey (agave) in cup of warm water. all i can say is : ick!!





i just read also that potassium is good for lowering BP... so maybe a banana smoothie w/ some other healthy goodies in it, would help too.
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#15 Old 11-04-2007, 03:21 PM
 
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Diet isn't everything, unfortunately. I eat a mostly vegan diet (100% vegetarian) and have for over 10 years and I still have high cholesterol. It's genetic. I know it isn't the same thing, but your bf isn't the only anomaly whose diet and lifestyle is not reflective in his medical issues.

http://megatarian.blogspot.com
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#16 Old 11-06-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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Hi everybody, I went to my doctor for having headaches at least 2 times a week. The doctor gave me a prescription for pills that help headaches and high blood pressure. I dont have high blood pressure, but have headaches. Should I take this medicine and what can happen if you take high blood pressure medicine and you dont even have it? I am little confused. Can anyone help me?
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#17 Old 11-06-2007, 09:45 PM
 
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Hi Rumki8! You really need to ask your doctor those questions and do some research on the medication (was it propanolol?). No one can safely and accurately help you as well with your personal health unless they are your health care provider.

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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#18 Old 11-06-2007, 11:01 PM
 
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Sometimes diet along is not enough. Some of it is hereditary. It also has a lot to do with stress levels and physical activity. I've heard that a strong cardio workout really helps lower hbp.



HBP runs in my family so I can relate. I have been raw vegan (about 85 to 90% raw) for the last few months and my bp has gone down from last year. I was a vegetarian most of my life up until a few months ago. Last year my bp was around 140/80. This year is is 124/80. It is still high but it is much lower. I'm hoping that once I begin a regular exercise routine my bp will come down even further.
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#19 Old 11-07-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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Haven't read the entire thread. I just wanted to mention that I have high blood pressure as well. Mine is at least hereditary. I also am high-strung and get the occasional bout of foul moods so stress and personality could be contributing factors too. I've started medication and it seems to be steadily falling now. I am mostly just writing to let you know you aren't alone.
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#20 Old 11-07-2007, 08:20 AM
 
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As a child of 10 years old my BP was 180/120. My doctors took my BP three times with the same result.



At 23 my BP was 155/90 and my weight was about 155lbs. I was excercising intensly about 10 hours a week and eating a low fat/low refined foods/low sugar omnivore diet at the time.



Now, at 29yrs of age, after being a vegan for a year, my BP is 105/65. I weigh 117.5lbs. I rarely excercise (do NO cardio) and I eat a whole foods plant based vegan diet. No sugar, low fat, little or no refined foods. I eat as much food as I'd like.



At 23 I was really concerned about my BP. The doctor told me that it was heredetary. Doctors sometimes give up so easily on their patients. I understand, they can't save everyone!



For the first time in my life I am vascular and I don't feed 'cold' most of the time. It's amazing what good BP can do.
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#21 Old 11-09-2007, 10:55 AM
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For the first time in my life I am vascular and I don't feed 'cold' most of the time. It's amazing what good BP can do.



I wish I could share that feeling! My bp is typically 100/60 and I'm always freezing.
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#22 Old 11-14-2007, 10:01 PM
 
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I wish I could share that feeling! My bp is typically 100/60 and I'm always freezing.



mee too jinga!

my bp is regularly 80ish/60. and thats w/ the help of bp raising meds! i get raging headaches when my bp is up over 100 for more than a few hours in a day! and forget about the cold! i wear fleece jackets in the summer!! haha.
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#23 Old 01-22-2014, 03:03 PM
 
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Thank you; I have the same issue and your answer was both useful and thoughtprovoking!

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