Discussions that mention potassium

High & Low Blood Pressure board


Hi folks - new here and struggling with high BP.
I had higher than 160/110 over a month ago.
People look at me and say "huh? YOU have high BP?" I am not overweight, I jog and hike, lift weights, don't smoke, don't eat junk food, but yes I do tend to be tense and bottle everything in. I'm 50 and menopausal.
I went to a nurse practitioner after finding out about the high BP (no doctors around here) and I have been trying lifestyle changes, cut back on wine, cut back on cheese, doing more cardio. Also I've been taking potassium and magnesium, also eating avocadoes and bananas. I have a BP monitor which we have verified against the BP measurements at the clinic. I thought I saw a slight decrease a couple of weeks ago down to about 140/90 but now it is back up again.
Blood test came up pretty much ok except that total cholesteral is >200, but LDL/HDL is < 1.
Thing is after dinner and a glass of wine it goes down to 120/80. It almost sounds like I should stay slightly marinated to keep my BP down but that can't be right!
Can anyone share their experience?
aether - thanks.
They did a fairly comprehensive blood test, checked cholesterol, salts, sugar, potassium, liver and kidney function. All was normal.

CBC was normal. Thyroid was normal. At my request they checked lead levels, as I used to work on restoring old houses a lot and even a small amount of lead in the blood can cause high blood pressure.

They didn't give me the actual numbers yet except for the cholesterol. What seems a little odd to me is that my numbers can be good and not so good at the same time.
HDL: 108, LDL: 97, Triglycerides: 56
So my LDL/HDL is 0.9 (which is pretty good) but my total is 235. But these numbers haven't changed much over the years so I wouldn't think it would be related.

Is this what you were refering to or do you think they might have missed something to check on? Again, thanks for your reply.
Thanks bethsheba!
I'll look into it! I had looked at it and decided I wasn't all THAT far off anyway, but I'll try anything!
I was told to cut back on alcohol (I usually drink two glasses of wine in the evening), cut back on cheese (because of the salt).
I've been taking potassium and magnesium supplements and for a while thought I was seeing a drop but the numbers went back up.
I think I'm sleeping ok, at any rate I don't feel tired whan I get up.
I am curious, how long does it take for the effects to show up? One month? Six months?
PS My name is Jean, I forgot MY manners! ;)
Hi Jean!

Cutting back on alcohol will definitely help as two glasses per night is alot (and yes, I love my wine, too:angel:). I can't remember but I think reduction or elimination of alcohol can drop the systolic by an average of about 10 points.

Sodium is in almost everything (including my favorite beverage, milk)...so I would encourage you to do some reading in that category. I've forgone my favorite breads because one slice is over 25 percent of the recommended daily amount of sodium...and no, my favorite breads didn't taste salty.

Potassium and magnesium are CRITICAL in the regulation of blood pressure. However, these nutrients must be taken in the correct proportions, along with calcium, in order for the body to use them...that's why I found the DASH meal plan so helpful as I didn't have to figure out how much of whatever I needed....if I ate the right number of servings, it was all "balanced" for me. The other point I would like to make (and forgive me because I've said this many, many times before) is that government scientists know that these nutrients regulate bp, BUT government research has shown that supplements don't always work...however, food with these nutrients does. They don't know why but they do know there is a difference.

Although fatigue is not always a symptom of a sleep problem, it sounds like that sleep is not an issue...but I always mention it because it may be for others who read these posts.

I'm not sure what you mean by "how long does it take for the effects to show up? One month? Six months?"

Do you mean how long does it take to reduce blood pressure once you change your lifestyle?? If so, that depends...you'll see a drop in your pressures within 4 days to 2 weeks of using the DASH meal plan...but I'm not sure about how long after other lifestyle changes pressures would drop.

And as far as your pressures go, if your pressures are over 140/90 regularly, I would encourage you to make those lifestyle changes immediately. Meds are not the answer...only tools and sometimes those tools don't work well at all. I was on meds for over 3 years?? only to gain 35+ pounds and have almost every side effect on the record...I'm only saying that because you can make changes now!

Take care, Jean.

Bethsheba
[QUOTE=FrugalYankee;3738553]... need to get hold of that book so I can do it systematically. I do not want to be dependent on medication if it can be avoided...

If you mean the DASH book, you can read/refer to it on the government website free. I did purchase a paperback so I could make notes and read bits and pieces throughout the day.

No, meds are not the answer....and they can make your blood pressure rise, something the docs and the drug companies don't want to tell you. My blood pressure was higher on medication than it is off… I recently found a site that listed the percentages of people who had this experience and on which blood pressure medication they were taking at the time.

[QUOTE]... As a matter of fact I thought I had seen a drop after cutting back on the cheese and wine (four weeks into it) only to see it jump right back up and be worse than ever before the week after that.

I suspect you're eating things with hidden sodium...that might explain the jump. You'd be amazed at the sodium content of everyday foods!

Having an accurate bp monitor and knowing how to take accurate readings is a must so you're ahead of the game there. As for stress, I have reason to believe it is a secondary cause...meaning, stress doesn't cause an elevation in bp...but whatever is causing the stress is also causing elevated pressures. Example: Some studies suggest that alcohol consumption can start the physiological stress response and can also increase adrenaline levels. So increased alcohol, may lead to increased stress which leads to increased bp. But thyroid problems, pituitary problems, and other condition can also elevate adrenaline levels as well. So stress, like high blood pressure is simply a symptom of something else gone wrong…imho. Oh, and I”ve read that a deficiency in either potassium or magnesium can elevate anxiety levels…but I can’t remember which nutrient it is, groan.

You don’t have to give up wine…but for hypertensive reasons and other reasons, it’s best to cut back considerably…and check the sodium content while you’re at it. I haven’t done so myself…perhaps I’m afraid to.

I appreciate the fact that you’re listening to the advice on these boards. By doing so, hopefully, you'll avoid some of the problems we've experienced.

Yes, I know what you mean about reading everything…I read something about hypertension everyday…..but it’s taken me months to find the answers to some of my questions and it’s taken other years to find their answers…so take advantage of our experience and knowledge…but check out everything you read and hear. No doctor, no scientist, no laboratory technician, no poster knows or understands it all…it they did, we wouldn’t need this board.

Take care!

Bethsheba