Blood Pressure FAQs
Are there additional measures to lower blood pressure?
By 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 on maintaining my own low blood pressure at 110/70. If blood pressure starts to rise, try increasing daily the number of walks taken in a day. Usually 3 walks per day brings BP down; perhaps increasing walks to twice a day and sometimes even three times a day will help further? Remaining alkaline keeps blood pressure low: hinders spilling protein in the urine; and many report feeling better. Exercise allows the body to perspire. Through sweat some of the body's toxins are lost provided we replenish and hydrate the body with adequate amounts of 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 cyst growth. This maybe sufficient to slow down PKD symptoms.
If you experience blood pressure spikes try to correlate it with something. Mine correlated directly with eating foods from restaurants, cafeterias, traveling foods, and at rest stops. Once I eliminated these foods my own blood pressure returned to its normal range. I avoided travel food, prepared foods from restaurants, fast food, and frozen dinners. The extra salt in such foods was giving me spikes in BP. I brought a rice cooker for brown rice and a slow cooker for beans. This has me to eat better. And eating better has allowed my own blood pressure to stay low.
Many years ago, my blood pressure registered 142/88. I was started on Cozaar 25 mg one tablet each evening. When my diet was computer analyzed, my diet was found to consistently contain 6 parts potassium foods to 1 part of sodium foods. This is an excellent ratio in terms of lowering blood pressure and for maintaining PKD health. I wanted to see if I could bring my blood pressure under tighter control. Experimenting I tried the following for one week: daily exercise, restricted salt, fresh juices, eliminating the top ten allergic foods, eliminating concentrated sugars, and as an aside, I lost weight. After one week my blood pressure came down to 91/68 without any spikes and I was weaned off medications to lower blood pressure.
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. Following this exercise I drank 3 glasses of mineral water with a fresh squeeze of lemon.
I used no salt. I ate no prepared foods. If salt is needed for baking, try Himalayan sea salt crystals (pink). What makes table salt, not clump together are minute particles of aluminum. Higher aluminum levels have been implicated in dementia. If you have a chance, taste the different salts. Himalayan salt has all minerals in the same proportions as the body. If you use salt keep it down to an 1/8 teaspoon per day or about 1200 mg of sodium.
To help lower blood pressure, I drank freshly prepared juices daily: grape juice, carrots juice, parsley juice, cabbage juice, beetroot, spinach-apple juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, melon juice.
Eliminate allergic foods
I tried eating steamed brown rice with steamed vegetables for a week eliminating the top ten
allergic foods. This all helped to lower blood pressure.
One reason to avoid allergic foods is these foods are capable of raising blood pressure as they release histamine.
Eliminate concentrated sugars
For one week I eliminated all concentrated sugars: maple syrup, fructose, date sugar and honey. Caffeine was long gone, and chocolate two culprits which keep my blood pressure elevated for three days standing.
Lower blood pressures prevent proteinuria, proteins from spilling in the urine. Lower blood pressures help keep cysts from expanding. Lower blood pressures prevent heart symptoms. The majority of individuals with PKD succumb to cardiac disease. Yes our kidneys sometimes fail; yes our kidneys decrease their functioning; but it is our hearts that give out in the end.
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 how saffron helps maintain kidney functioning. Some have tried grapeseed extract to reduce blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and 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 my blood pressure.
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 upon the heart. These particular herbs have a very strong effect upon the body.
What to do for occasional BP spikes coinciding with doctor visits?
To ↓ BP spikes at my doctor's visits I would show him my blood pressure readings at home; these were normal 90/60 - 110/72. Each time I went to his office my BP would register high. We thought that I might have white coat syndrome; that I became nervous at the thought of seeing a doctor. After I did all the above, low salt, dietary changes, walks, short sprints, and I added daily solé, for the first time ever I had a normal blood pressure reading with my doctor: 100/68. I 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.
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) six different blood pressures over about 15 minutes and displays an average, my blood pressure always spikes when I see my doctor. Since 2007 I have been taking one drop of solé in a full glass of mineral - spring water. 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 ever. 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. My kidney functioning improved. My eye haze had disappeared. The doctors feel 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.
Is there a biofeedback machine to lower Blood Pressure?
A friend uses RESPeRATE regularly and finds it lowers blood pressure by 20 points. She also finds hibiscus tea to lower blood pressure. I have found both chamomile and saffron teas to lower blood pressure. According to the RESPeRATE website: It 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. If you live in London there are potassium salts blood pressure trials. There is one in Scotland trying grapeseed extract to reduce blood pressure. I just read that caution must be taken with resveratrol (from grapes) as in clinical trial researchers found this contributed to diminished kidney functioning.
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. Hibiscus tea also lowers 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 well as chrysanthemum tea, a coumadin derivative. I enjoy fresh thyme leaf tea, made from garden thyme. I find lemon thyme 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. I am drinking fresh hot lemon water with a bit of tupelo honey, or several different roasted grain beverages. Another favorite is Celestial seasonings Sugar Cookie Spice made with milk thistle, of benefit for a cystic liver.
A PKD individual 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.