Blood Pressure

     blood pressure, bp, pkd, polycystic kidney disease, hypertension, excercise, alkalinity, alkaline diet, potassium citrate


Optimal blood pressure for Polycystic Kidney Disease individuals PKD'rs is between 120/80 - 110/70 - 100/60.

Gone are the days when the doctor would take your blood pressure, it might register 140/90 and you would be sent home for three months for it to be checked again three months later.

Today it is known that a blood pressure of 140/90, is cause for concern that one's cystic kidneys can be harmed. Elevations or spikes in PKD'rs blood pressure to 140/90 or higher can create an immediate need to lower blood pressure aggressively.
To avoid dizziness that can sometimes accompany lowered blood pressure, many have been advised to take blood pressure medication at night. Unlike other diseases, PKD'rs blood pressure is higher during the night. Many of the newer blood pressure medications by reclining will also help to increase renal perfusion or blood flowing to cystic kidneys. According to the CRISP study, decreased renal blood supply is the first sign that PKD kidneys are experiencing diminished functioning.
Blood pressure that consistently measures 100/60 - 110/70 - 120/80 will maximize the chances for prolonging cystic kidney health. By self-monitoring blood pressure we can observe the direct daily result of exercise, a low sodium diet, and a healthy lifestyle on our own blood pressure readings. This can empower PKD'rs to see if different things help to keep blood pressure lower, eventually increasing kidney functioning. With Polycystic Kidney Disease the renin output increases to the point that almost everyone has to go on blood pressure medication. Renin is triggered by a decrease in the blood supply to the kidney. Some herbs diminish kidney perfusion i.e., Kava Kava, Gingko Biloba, and Ginseng. It would be prudent to avoid such herbs.

Many PKD'rs have had good luck in maintaining blood pressure levels 100/70 - 120/80:

  • exercise, daily walks
  • salt restriction, 1200 mg sodium diet
  • eliminate any allergic foods
  • drinking freshly prepared juice
  • eliminating sugars
  • weight loss
  • adequate Vitamin D
  • eliminating licorice, star anise, rosemary, hawthorne berries, and caffeine, even de-caf chocolate, tea, green tea, coffee, and cola.


    Salt restriction is an effective means of maintaining low blood pressure. A retrospective study was done between (2) dialysis centers. Those who used salt restriction had a lower incidence of left ventricular hypertrophy, fewer episodes of low blood pressure while on dialysis, and lower body weights. A recent article concludes in older individuals that perhaps colder weather contributes to high blood pressure. Cold weather also causes blood pressure to rise. A recent medical article talks about Vitamin D levels creating a disparity in Blood Pressure levels.

                   pow wow
  • Is there anything additional to do to lower blood pressure? Of all the things I have tried far and away, salt restriction, eating a plant based diet, and daily exercise coupled with a short 1 minute burst of speed has had the biggest impact in maintaining low blood pressure at 110/70. If blood pressure starts to rise, I increase the number of times in a day when I take walks from once a day, to twice a day and sometimes even three times a day. If I remain alkaline my blood pressure remains low: I do not spill protein in my urine; and I feel better. Exercise allows the body to perspire. Through sweat some of the body's toxins are lost provided we replenish and hydrated the body with adequate water. The latest water studies are suggesting that perhaps drinking 3 liters of water a day might be sufficient to shut off vasopressin a known hormone that stimulates kidney cysts growth. Click here for more information about water a possible cure for PKD?

    On one doctor's visit several years ago, my blood pressure registered was 142/88. I was started on Cozaar 25 mg to take each evening. When my diet was computer analyzed, it was found to consistently contain 6 parts potassium foods to 1 part of sodium.
    About 5 years ago I wanted to see if I could bring my blood pressure under tighter control. Experimentally I tried al of the following for a one week duration: daily exercise, restricted salt, drank juices, eliminated all of the top ten allergic foods, eliminated all concentrated sugars, and as an aside, I lost weight. Below is my simple clinical trial of one, me. After one weeks time my blood pressure came down to 91/68 without any spikes
    .plumeria polycystic kidney disease blood pressure pkd pld polycystic liver disease
    EXERCISE   There was this wonderful sit down bicycle that resembled a low riding Harley Davidson motorcycle with the extended front fork . I could only do about 3 minutes the first day. It was very difficult. I continued to increase my exercise in one minute increments. I followed this exercise by drinking 3 glasses of mineral water with a squeeze of lemon juice.
    SALT   I used no salt. I eat no prepared foods. If I need salt for baking bread, then I use Himalayan sea salt crystals (pink). What makes table salt, the salt that pours are minute particles of aluminum. If you have a chance, taste the different salts. I have done a taste test and found Himalayan to taste best. This salt has all the minerals in the same proportions as the body. I don't know why, but it does not cause a rise in my blood pressure when limited to 1200 mg / day.
    ALLERGY   I eliminated all allergy type foods. These foods cause the release of adrenaline which elevates blood pressure. I stopped all wheat, nuts, soy, dairy, animal proteins, and grains except for brown rice. Eliminating dairy, cream, butter, yogurt helped. Cheeses are high in sodium and milk is high in solutes.
    JUICES   I drank freshly prepared juice daily— carrots, parsley, cabbage, spinach, apple, oranges, pineapple, beets.
    SUGAR   Eliminating all concentrated sugars, maple syrup, fructose, date sugar and honey. Caffeine was long gone, so was chocolate—two culprits which will keep my blood pressure elevated for three days standing.

    WEIGHT LOSS   I also managed to lose a few pounds in the process. By the end of three days on this added regime my blood pressure was consistently 98/68. As instructed by my doctor, I stopped my blood pressure medication. Taking blood pressure medicine at night while the body is reclining has the added benefit of increasing the blood supply to the kidneys, thus possibly decreasing the output of renin from polycystic kidneys. This decrease in renin may contribute to a slight decline in blood pressure. By activating all of these measures and by monitoring my morning pressure consistently measures 100/70.

    HERBS     Helpful for lowering blood pressure are parsley, saffron, hibiscus, asparagus (however asparagus will change your urine to acidic due to its strong alkaline affects and release of stored toxins), chamomile, grapeseed extract. and borage. Email if you experienced blood pressure lowering from any other herbs. For saffron tea: take a half teaspoon of saffron simmer in a cup of water; reducing the liquid by half. Strain and sip slowly.  Saffron tea also reduces liver pain. Here is a paper that talks about in the animal model, how saffron helps maintain kidney functioning. Some have tried grapeseed extract to reduce blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and to diminish matted leg spider telangiectasias. Parsley was a plant I grew in my garden and on my morning walks I would pluck a few leaves, chewing them as I walked. This helped to lower blood pressure.

    AVOID The following herbs have been known to raise blood pressure: licorice, rosemary, ephedra, ginseng, hawthorne, and any caffeine containing herbs such as gota kola. CAUTION Mistle toe and digitalis leaf or foxglove need to be prescribed by a physician due to their effects on the heart. I would not recommend taking these herbs at all. They have a very strong effect upon the body.

    What did you do to lower occasional blood pressure spikes that coincided with doctor visits?
    I take my own blood pressure with an omron wrist blood pressure monitor. I have it calibrated on each visit with my doctor. It records each blood pressure so my doctor can look through it and see how high or low my blood pressure consistently runs. When I am home, my blood pressure was stable at 110/70 - 108/68 - 121/79. When I see my doctor, though they use a machine that takes 6 blood pressures over about 15 minutes and displays an average, my blood pressure always spikes when I see my doc. Since 2007 I have been taking one drop of solé in a full glass of mineral - spring water daily. Four months later I had a very slight improvement in my kidney functioning and improvement in my liver functioning. My creatinine had always been 1.1 for the past ten years. Now suddenly it was 0.8. These both are normal and some would argue that this is the same reading. However it was repeated the following day with a similar result. My iothalmate clearance was 69. This is a measure of kidney strength, this measures GFR or the glomerular filtration rate of my kidneys. This is the best my kidney functioning has been in ten years. I was spilling a little protein in my twenty four urine, only mild about 20. My blood pressure was normal in the doctor's office. This was truly a first. Each time I would show the doctor my blood pressure readings at home and each time I went to his office these would register high. We thought that I might have white coat syndrome; that I became nervous at the thought of seeing a doctor. And I also had my eyes examined by my surgeon who performed Lasik corrective eye surgery on me. He noticed that I no longer had an early haze or what he called pre-cataracts. My vision had improved as it was immediately following my Lasik surgery. He said something was hydrating my eyes. It is a mystery as to why I have these slight improvements.

    How to keep blood pressure low?
    Work closely with your nephrologist and continually self-monitor your own blood pressure so you come to know when it is too high. I read a study where individuals were given Potassium Citrate as an alkalizer, to effectively lower blood pressure. It is thanks to many of you that I do not need blood pressure medication. As long as I remain relatively alkaline (urinary pH between 7.1 and 8.0), continue to exercise, eat a very low salt plant based diet, stay in a warm climate, my blood pressure registers 100/60 - 110/70 - 120/80 without any medication. If I maintain these things I also do not spill protein in my urine; and I generally feel better. In addition to blood pressure medications, the following are a list of some things helpful to maintain normal blood pressure. The next list are a few things that might raise blood pressure.
    ResperAte Is there a biofeedback device for home use that might lower blood pressure?
    A friend uses this regularly finds it lowers blood pressure by 20 points. She also finds hibiscus tea blood pressure lowering. I have found both chamomile and saffron teas to lower blood pressure. According to the website: RESPeRATE is a portable, computerized electronic device that guides you through sessions of interactive, therapeutic breathing powerful enough to lower blood pressure. Using a breathing sensor, RESPeRATE automatically analyzes your individual breathing pattern and creates a personalized melody composed of two distinct inhale and exhale guiding tones. Simply listen to the melody through the headphones and synchronize your breathing to the tones. By prolonging the exhalation tone, RESPeRATE guides you to slow your breathing and reach the "therapeutic zone" of less than 10 breaths per minute. The physiological result? The muscles surrounding the small blood vessels in your body dilate and relax. Blood is allowed to flow more freely, and pressure is significantly lowered. According to the website there have been 10 clinical trials showing RESPeRATE to be effective in lowering blood pressure.

    are there any clinical trials for pkd blood pressure?
    Yes there is the 5 year HALT PKD trial.

    For blood pressure not specifically PKD. If you live in London there are potassium salts blood pressure trials. Here is one in Scotland trying grapeseed extract to reduce blood pressure but not specifically for PKD. I just read that caution must be taken with resveratrol (from grapes) as in clinical trial researchers found this contributed to diminished kidney functioning.

    What teas do you currently drink? Are there some that raise blood pressure?
    Honey Vanilla Chamomile and Caffeine free herb teas by Celestial Seasonings caused spikes in my own blood pressure. I previously took these teas with me when I traveled. My blood pressure would shoot up every time I drank them. This coincided with when I traveled to see my doctor. I thought I had white coat syndrome - every time I saw someone in a white coat the anxiety might cause my blood pressure to rise. It turned out to be the hawthorne berries in the two herb teas. Hibiscus tea should lower blood pressure. But I have experienced a direct lowering of blood pressure by chewing fresh sprigs of parsley. Chamomile is said to decrease inflammation surrounding the kidneys. I find this tea very calming and usually have a cup just before bed. Chamomile also can cause prolonged bleeding time as can chrysanthemum tea, a coumadin derivative. I enjoy fresh thyme leaf tea, made from garden thyme. I find lemon especially pleasant. Linden flower tea is another nice tea and called Tilleul throughout Europe. I like Veronica tea and have noticed beneficial effects from these teas. Currently I am participating in octreotide clinical trial and my bleeding is a bit prolonged. I am staying away from chamomile at the moment. Instead I am drinking fresh hot lemon water with a bit of tupelo honey, or roasted grain beverages. Another favorite is Celestial seasonings Sugar Cookie Spice made with milk thistle, of benefit for a cystic liver.
    Ingredients: Milk thistle, roasted barley, orange peel, natural sugar cookie flavor with other natural flavors and vanilla bean. Contains Gluten. This product is naturally caffeine free.
    HELPFUL to lower blood pressure:

    • Monitor blood pressure - self biofeedback.
    • Monitor your urinary pH nightly – as long as I remain alkaline, my blood pressure remains low.
    • Low sodium diet, less than 1200 mg per day.
      Limit salt to 1/8 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt crystals (pink). Place salt in a salt shaker and this can be used throughout the day. At the end of the day, toss the unused salt. It cannot be saved for consecutive days. Avoid processed, canned, frozen foods, prepared to go foods, salty snacks such as cheese, olives, pickles, soups, chips.
    • Drink water
      There is a water clinical PKD trial underway in New York City USA to see if drinking 3 liters of water per day might shut off vasopressin, a hormone that stimulates kidney cyst growth. Read more
    • High potassium diet
      (unless potassium restricted). The optimal ratio is 8 parts potassium foods to 1 part sodium foods.
    • Exercise daily
      Daily walks followed by a rapid sprint helps blood flow to overcome any kinks and obstruction from cystic organs. According to this article those who walked most rapidly, rather than at a moderate pace, or not at all, developed better flexibility and aerobic capacity, and had greater reductions in systolic blood pressure.
    • Adequate sleep and rest
      A recent study showed that individuals without sufficient sleep start secreting a hormone called hyperphage which causes them to eat more and gain weight. Added pounds increases blood pressure. If the kidneys are bathed in an adequate blood supply, they cystic kidneys do not produce renin. It is the renin output from kidney cysts which causes the elevation in blood pressure. Sometimes native kidneys continue to produce renin and have to be removed because of the highs in blood pressure that are created. When the body is lying down this increases the blood supply to the kidneys.
        • Useful herbs and teas: parsley,saffron, hibiscus, onions, garlic
    • Avoid certain herbs that raise blood pressure: licorice, hawthorne berries, ephedra, rosemary, ginger, ginseng, kola, cacao.
    • Avoid common allergic foods until you can assure that you have no allergies to: egg, peanut, milk, nuts, sesame, fish, rye, wheat, oats, soy, molluscs (oysters, mussels, clam squid, octopus) crustaceans (lobster, prawn, crab,shrimp, strawberries, nightshade vegetables.
      Food intolerance: MSG, food additives, wine, red wine, diary, chocolate, egg white, gluten, sulfites, royal jelly bee pollen & propolis, theobromine. Isabel a member of a PKD support group, taught me to read labels carefully. Some celestial seasonings teas contain licorice, hawthorne, ginger, and rosemary, a few herbs that have caused my own normal blood pressure to rise. In Honey Vanilla Chamomile and Caffeine free herb teas by Celestial Seasonings, these are two teas that contain these blood pressure raising herbs. A list of Celestial Seasonings tea ingredients is here.
      By doing all of the above, some have avoided spikes in blood pressure. Spikes will re- occur if one eats wheat, or indulges in a cookie or has a drink of an herb tea that contains licorice or partakes of dairy or any of the other allergic foods. Walk daily, eat vegan, restrict salt, then blood pressure might consistently remain low without medication. To test these theories, I tried a very short one week trial, eating brown rice, steamed vegetables, drinking water flavored with a freshly cut lemon, and exercising daily. My pressure came down to normal without any spikes.
    In addition to a Low Salt Diet, some things that can Lower Blood Pressure
    adequate rest and sleep alkalinity consistently maintained and as Michael reminds us - intimacy with a loved one asparagus borage calcium citrate
    daily walks (2 -3 times a week eliminate table salt in all foods exercise garlic grapeseed extract Himalayan pink salt keeping its use to less than an 1/8 teaspoon per day
    hibiscus saffron chamomile parsley pilates RESPeRate
    grape juice intimacy lemons and lemon juice low salt diet eliminate canned goods eliminate prepared foods, frozen
    cook your own food rest magnesium as prescribed onions parsley, just a few sprigs - high in potassium potassium citrate as prescribed
    rose hips exercise gentle sleep stress relief yoga weight loss


    Some Things that Raise Blood Pressure
    alcohol allergic foods: try eliminating egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, crustaceans, macadamian nuts, beef animal proteins bleach Brazil nuts caffeine
    canned goods candy, concentrated sugars, fructose, maple syrup cheese celestial seasonings herb teas that contain hawthorne, licorice, ginseng, black tea, green tea, white tea, rosemary, ginger cheese chocolate
    coffee, even decaf coffee coffee espresso cola, including de-caf colas crustaceans dairy dark chocolate
    decaffeinated beverages dextrose egg ephedra espresso frozen foods with salt
    fructose corn syrup ginger frozen foods with salt ginseng green tea hawthorne
    hazelnut ice cream kola nut lack of exercise licorice macadamian nuts
    maple syrup milk no caffeine chocolate olives pastries peanuts
    pizza position blood pressure while taking blood pressure: standing, sitting, or lying down prepared foods pseudofed raw chocolate rosemary
    salt, especially table salt salty snacks salty chips sedentary lifestyle soup, canned soy
    star anise sugar sweets tea, including decaffeinated, green tea, white tea time of day take blood pressure weight gain
    wheat white rice (sodium gluconate) white tea windex, window cleaners yeast yoohoo chocolate drink














    One person noted that as she approached kidney failure her blood pressure would swing widely within moments, from 210/90 to 120/60. She discovered this because she regularly took her own blood pressure. One day she called her nephrologist because her blood pressure was very high. When she arrived in his office it was low again. The second time it happened she called his office and asked if she could come over and calibrate her blood pressure machine. She arrived at the office. The doctor took her blood pressure and it was 120/64. She took it and it was 210/90. He took it and it was 210/94. He scratched his head and did not know what to make of this. This continued for approximately 3 months. 6 months later, she had lost kidney functioning and had received a transplant. The speaker at the Conference on Polycystic Kidney Disease said that the outpouring of renin is triggered by a decrease in blood supply to the kidney. Perhaps a cyst was capturing one of her kidney vessels? It was squeezing that vessel which caused renin to be released which would raise the blood pressure. As the heart would beat and there was a momentary lowering of the pressure against the vessel, the blood pressure would fall and the renin would no longer be released.
    Dr. Schreir from the University of Colorado wrote about ace inhibitors and angiotensin receptor antagonists delaying the onset of the need for dialysis perhaps by as long as 15 years with tight blood pressure control between 125/70 - 110/70. The HALT PKD 5 year clinical trial is testing this. A physician HALT brochure is also available.
    The Mayo Clinic blood pressure book described a diet for decreasing blood pressure. Individuals were placed on a diet with greater than ten fruits or vegetables per day, 2-3 ounces lean white fish/ poultry or lamb (no beef) taken 1-2 times a week. Whole grains 3-5 servings daily, dairy equal to 1 cup of skim milk (could be low fat cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt). All food was prepared non-deep fried or fried. The individuals managed to lower their blood pressure by 11.9%; the same equivalent of blood pressure medications. All groups noticed a blood pressure lowering effect but only after the person added exercise; 10-20 different exercises are listed. Stair climbing took 15 minutes, others were sustained for a half-hour or more. In addition to diet & exercise people stopped smoking, avoided processed sugar, caffeine, processed flour, lowered their sodium intake ([by not eating prepared foods, canned foods, frozen foods) and alcohol was not consumed. I have also experienced to keep my blood pressure consistently low I needed to add daily exercise and avoid concentrated sugars, pastries, and sweets. polycystic kidney disease polycystic liver diseasecontact us
    last updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 7:27 PM

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