Do I Need Blood Pressure Medication?

If your blood pres­sure is high, it is usu­al­ly a sign that your arter­ies are tight or clogged. The solu­tion to that prob­lem is to eat a diet of low-fat, plant-based foods. This can bring a big drop in pres­sure with­in a few days, as tight arter­ies relax. In the long run, it can help to unclog clogged arter­ies. Preg­nant women are prone to a dan­ger­ous form of high blood pres­sure called pre-eclamp­sia. Pre-eclamp­sia results when the woman’s blood vol­ume does not expand enough to sup­port the preg­nan­cy. Her blood ves­sels then tight­en down, to main­tain cir­cu­la­tion to her brain. But this means less cir­cu­la­tion to the pla­cen­ta and to oth­er tis­sue, such as the liv­er.  To pre­vent pre-eclamp­sia, women need to eat enough calo­ries, and the calo­ries should come from starch, not fat.  

High Blood Pressure Is Common

Rough­ly one out of three adults in the Unit­ed States have high blood pres­sure. Only half of them have their high blood pres­sure under con­trol. High blood pres­sure can be a seri­ous prob­lem. It can dam­age your blood ves­sels, par­tic­u­lar­ly in your kid­neys and your brain. It can also dam­age the valves in your heart. Preg­nant women are prone to a dan­ger­ous form of high blood pres­sure called preeclamp­sia. For these rea­sons, mil­lions of peo­ple are tak­ing med­ica­tions to con­trol their blood pres­sure. Yet med­ica­tion is not nec­es­sar­i­ly the best way to con­trol blood pres­sure. Yes, it can reduce the blood pres­sure. How­ev­er, the med­ica­tions do not cure the under­ly­ing prob­lem that caused the high blood pres­sure. The best way to solve the blood pres­sure prob­lem is to solve the cir­cu­la­to­ry prob­lem by eat­ing a low-fat veg­an diet.

Blood Pressure Measurements

Blood pres­sure results from the force exert­ed by the heart as it beats. Blood pres­sure is mea­sured in mil­lime­ters of mer­cury (mm Hg) because blood pres­sure was orig­i­nal­ly mea­sured with a tube that con­tained mer­cury, which is a liq­uid met­al. The high­er the pres­sure, the high­er the col­umn of mer­cury in the tube would be. A blood pres­sure mea­sure­ment con­sists of two num­bers: the sys­tolic and dias­tolic pres­sure. The sys­tolic pres­sure rep­re­sents the pres­sure that is exert­ed when the heart con­tracts and push­es the blood into the arter­ies. The dias­tolic pres­sure rep­re­sents the pres­sure when the heart is relax­ing and refill­ing between beats.

High Pressure Means High Resistance

To under­stand blood pres­sure, you need to under­stand that the heart is try­ing to keep enough blood flow­ing through the blood ves­sels to serve the body’s needs. High blood pres­sure is a sign that the heart is strug­gling to over­come high resis­tance in the cir­cu­la­to­ry sys­tem. You can use med­ica­tion to bring down the pres­sure; how­ev­er, the blood pres­sure med­ica­tion does not cor­rect the prob­lem of resis­tance in the cir­cu­la­to­ry sys­tem. For­tu­nate­ly, you can often solve the cir­cu­la­to­ry prob­lem through a change in diet.

Poiseuille’s Law

Blood is a flu­id. Like oth­er flu­ids, it fol­lows the basic rules of flu­id dynam­ics, includ­ing a rela­tion­ship called Poiseuille’s [pwah-zweez]) Law . Poiseuille’s Law is a math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tion that describes the rela­tion­ship between the rate of flow of a flu­id through a tube and the radius of the tube, the length of the tube, the vis­cos­i­ty (resis­tance to flow) of the liq­uid, and the drop in pres­sure from the begin­ning to the end of the tube. This rela­tion­ship is usu­al­ly shown as fol­lows:

Pres­sure drop = (8 × vis­cos­i­ty × length × flow rate) / (π × radius4)

You can also express Poiseuille’s Law as fol­lows:

Flow rate = (π × radius4 × pres­sure drop)/(8 × vis­cos­i­ty × length)

From this equa­tion, you can make some impor­tant pre­dic­tions:

  • If you dou­ble the pres­sure, but kept every­thing else the same, you would dou­ble the flow. That’s why the heart has to beat hard­er to increase blood flow.
  • Vis­cos­i­ty means thick­ness, or resis­tance to flow. Dou­bling the vis­cos­i­ty of the blood but keep­ing every­thing else the same would cut blood flow in half.
  • If you dou­bled the length of the blood ves­sels (which hap­pens if the per­son gains a lot of weight) but kept every­thing else the same, you would cut the blood flow in half. This is why over­weight peo­ple are prone to high­er blood pres­sure.
  • If you dou­bled the radius of the blood ves­sel, but kept every­thing else the same, you would increase the flow by 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 = 16-fold! Like­wise, if you decreased the radius of the blood ves­sel by half, you would decrease the flow by 93.75%!

Once you under­stand these rela­tion­ships, you can see why peo­ple get high blood pres­sure. If you eat a fat­ty diet, you will like­ly gain some weight and make your blood a bit thick­er. As a result, your heart will have to beat a lit­tle bit hard­er to keep your blood flow­ing. How­ev­er, a fat­ty diet also clogs your arter­ies. Also, even a sin­gle fat­ty meal can make your blood ves­sels con­strict. As a result, your heart will have to beat a lot hard­er to keep blood flow­ing. The weight gain and the thick­en­ing of the blood will make your blood pres­sure go up a lit­tle, while clogged arter­ies and vaso­con­stric­tion will make it go up a lot!

Blood Pressure Medication

You can take med­ica­tion to make your blood pres­sure go down. How­ev­er, this med­ica­tion will not improve your cir­cu­la­tion. To improve your cir­cu­la­tion, you need to keep your blood flu­id and keep your arter­ies clean and flex­i­ble. The best way to do that is to eat a low-fat veg­an diet. This kind of diet works so fast to reduce blood pres­sure that many peo­ple can imme­di­ate­ly stop tak­ing their blood pres­sure med­ica­tion.


The high blood pres­sure that occurs in late preg­nan­cy (pre-eclamp­sia) is a dif­fer­ent prob­lem. It results from a short­age of pro­tein in the blood plas­ma. This prob­lem occurs if the woman is not get­ting enough to eat or if she is eat­ing way too much fat. Either way, she will end up con­vert­ing too much of her plas­ma pro­teins to sug­ar. As a result, she will not have enough pro­tein in her blood plas­ma. Thus, she will not have enough flu­id inside her blood ves­sels to sup­port a healthy preg­nan­cy.

To try to cor­rect this prob­lem, the kid­neys will release renin. Renin acti­vates the renin-angiotensin-aldos­terone sys­tem. Angiotensin makes the arter­ies tight­en. This makes the blood pres­sure go up. Aldos­terone makes the kid­neys retain salt and water. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the woman does not have enough pro­tein in her blood to keep that extra flu­id inside her blood ves­sels. Thus, the extra flu­id will leak out into her tis­sue, caus­ing swelling.  The sur­pris­ing solu­tion to this prob­lem is to eat a lot of starch and very lit­tle fat. Women who eat a lot of car­bo­hy­drate will con­vert very lit­tle pro­tein to sug­ar. As a result, they will have nor­mal blood pres­sure as well as sta­ble blood sug­ar lev­els.

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