Claudia Machado Cooke, MD, FACP, MPH  |  Health Through Understanding

Hypertension

An estimated 60 million Americans are affected by hypertension.  Blood Pressure readings regularly above 140/90 mm Hg, is categorized as hypertension. The term essential hypertension means hypertension due to no apparent cause, not secondary to another disease process. Untreated hypertension is a major contributing factor to heart disease, stroke, and to disease of the microvascular circulation of the kidneys and retina which can lead to renal insufficiency and blindness.

Hypertension is the leading indication for prescription drug use in the US.  And medication continues to be the mainstay of treatment.

While Dr. Cooke endorses the use of medication in the treatment of hypertension, she also maximizes the use of other strategies to minimize drug therapy while striving for the conventional benchmarks of blood pressure control. Weight reduction, relaxation techniques, addressing sleep disorders, engaging diaphragmatic breathing exercises, investigation of red blood cell magnesium levels, may all play a part. A small number of nutraceuticals and botanicals may contribute to blood pressure lowering. Acupuncture is especially helpful in addressing tension states which may aggravate high blood pressure.