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What is Hypertension?

By Felicia Assenza, ND

You may have heard this word at your last check-up. Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension is more of a symptom than a condition but it is a symptom that merits our attention because of its high association with heart disease and stroke.


There are two types of hypertension, primary and secondary. Primary hypertension is the most common type and while it doesn’t have a specific known cause, some risk factors include genetics, a family history of heart disease/high blood pressure, a waist circumference of more than 94cm for men and 80cm for women, a diet high in processed foods, and unmanaged stress. Secondary hypertension is caused by something else happening in the body, such as a thyroid disorder, sleep apnea, or chronic kidney disease, and is best treated by treating whatever is causing it.

What can you do to lower your blood pressure?

Primary hypertension responds very well to diet and lifestyle changes. A diet high in processed foods and sugars or a fast-paced, stressful lifestyle are risk factors for high blood pressure and heart disease. While making changes can seem a bit intimidating or daunting, even small changes without overturning your entire life can be helpful. For example, something as simple as adding a daily walk to your routine can help to lower blood pressure. There are even certain foods that have been shown to lower blood pressure, such as garlic and onions. Contrary to popular belief, a diet high in fats (unsaturated fats like olive oil) can also help lower risk for heart disease.

What can Awakening Health do to help you?

You probably have some sort of idea of how to lead a healthy lifestyle but sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start or you may have other factors such as pain or lack of energy that prevent you from making healthy lifestyle changes. That’s where we come in.

Our naturopathic doctor will spend time listening carefully to your health story and perform any relevant physical exams or lab work in order to piece together what may be contributing to your high blood pressure. She will then work with you to make any dietary and lifestyle changes that will help lower blood pressure/heart disease risk and are reasonable and attainable. In the meantime, therapies such as herbal medicine, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture will help support you, lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health as you make these changes.

Our physiotherapist will work with you to determine any restrictions or mobility limitations that may be preventing you from leading an active lifestyle. He will also work with you to come up with an exercise program that restores proper biomechanics and decreases your risk for heart disease.

Our osteopathic practitioner will use hands-on manual techniques to address other factors that may be restricting blood flow to help restore optimal circulation throughout the body and improve heart health.

Our massage therapist will help promote relaxation and improve circulation throughout the body.

This article contains health information. It is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide health care advice. For advice specific to your concern, please consult a regulated healthcare provider.

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