High blood pressure is a silent epidemic that threatens the lives of one in every three American adults. Of those taking blood pressure medications, control rates vary between less than half to only two-thirds (Lloyd-Jones 2009; Lloyd-Jones 2005). This means that the majority of those diagnosed with hypertension spend most of their day with blood pressure levels that are dangerously elevated. Since increased blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease, it acts as an accomplice in millions of additional deaths each year (Roger 2011).
Mainstream medicine has fallen fatally short of relieving high blood pressure. A major problem is that mainstream medicine’s definition of what constitutes acceptable blood pressure levels is far too high. The medical establishment defines high blood pressure (hypertension) as over 139/89 mmHg. However, in 2006, researchers found that blood pressure levels ranging from 120-129 mmHg systolic/ 80-84 mmHg diastolic were associated with an 81% higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to levels of less than 120/80 mmHg. Moreover, blood pressure levels of 130-139/85-89 mmHg were associated with a frightening 133% greater risk of cardiovascular disease compared to levels below 120/80 (Kshirsagar 2006). Worse yet, studies suggest that conventional physicians are unlikely to treat hypertension until levels exceed 160/90 mmHg, a level that dramatically increases the risk of disease and death (Hyman 2002).
Controlling blood pressure means radically reducing disease risk. Studies have estimated that reducing blood pressure by 10/5 mmHg, to no lower than 115/75, can reduce the risk of death due to stroke by 40% and the risk of death due to heart disease or other vascular causes by 30% (Lewington 2002). In individuals 40 to 70 years old, each 20/10 mmHg increment over 115/75 doubles the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, or kidney disease (Lewington 2002; Chobanian 2003). Based on this and other data, Life Extension recognizes that for many individuals, a target blood pressure of 115/75 mmHg yields the best benefits (Chobanian 2003).
The development and progression of high blood pressure is complex and multifactorial. Thus, effective management is rarely achieved through a single intervention. Instead, optimal management often requires a broad-based approach including lifestyle modification, nutritional components, pharmaceutical medication(s), and regular self-monitoring. These approaches will be discussed in detail throughout this protocol.