Dr. Moore makes it clear that high blood pressure is only one symptom on an entire systemic imbalance. He outlines a safe, effective program that focuses on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise to bring the entire body chemistry into balance. He also includes a chapter on working with your physician to ensure that reduction of any hypertension drugs you might be taking can be effected safely.
There is absolutely no doubt that the majority of strokes, heart attacks, and cases of high blood pressure can easily be prevented by maintaining the proper balance of potassium to sodium in the diet. The latest demonstration of this is in Finland, where simple dietary changes,* outlined and explained in this book, have resultedt in a significant decrease in high blood pressure and a 60% decline in death from both strokes and heart attacks' in the whole country. You haven't heard of this?
I wonder why?
The knowledge that we can prevent most cases of high blood pressure and strokes isn't new. As far back as 1993, the Working Group of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP) stated:
This is an appropriate time for the National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP) in conjunction with other interested parties to initiate a national campaign whose specific goal is the primary prevention of high blood pressure.
Major newspapers heralded that this group, together with the American Heart Association, were preparing to launch a sustained national campaign to greatly reduce the incidence of high blood pressure and its major consequences, such as stroke and heart attacks.
You haven't heard of this either? I wonder why?
Well, it never happened. This in spite of the fact that every year in the United States, 600,000 people have strokes and 160,000 people die of this mostly preventable tragedy. In fact, strokes are the third leading killer in the United States. Extrapolating from the experience in Finland, 360,000 of those strokes in this country could have been prevented, and about 96,000 stroke deaths could have been prevented. Think of the implications of 360,000 families each year needlessly suffering the tragic and often devastating consequences of a family member having a stroke in most cases a stroke that shouldn't have happened. And think of the 96,000 each year who lost a loved one forever in most cases a loss that shouldn't have happened.
Moreover, the 1993 report on primary prevention of hypertension also pointed out that problems such as strokes can occur before blood pressure rises above the "normal" range:
. . . vascular complications can occur prior to the onset of established hypertension because the blood pressure—cardiovascular disease risk relationship is continuous and progressive, even within the normotensive [normal] blood pressure range. (emphasis mine)
Thus, the typical American who feels comfortable because his or her blood pressure is "normal" (say 120/80 mm Hg) may be living with a false sense of security.
You haven't even heard of this? Well, again I wonder why?
Actually, all of the above developments are not a surprise to several of us involved in basic biophysical research who, almost twenty years ago, discovered that the fundamental cause of high blood pressure is a greatly reduced ratio of potassium to sodium, the K/Na* ratio, or K Factor, in the modern diet. Moreover, from the biophysical analysis, it became clear that every cell in the body is out of balance in a person who has high blood pressure. This clearly indicated that in hypertension there is a lot more going on than just increased pounding of the blood pressure against our cardiovascular system. The elevated blood pressure is a symptom, or marker, of an underlying cellular imbalance involving potassium and sodium. Moreover, it has since become clear that this potassium-sodium imbalance can cause strokes and heart attacks even when it doesn't increase blood pressure.
It is generally acknowledged that about 80% of strokes are caused by hypertension. Accordingly, since elevated blood pressure is a marker of a general cellular imbalance that is associated with hypertension and strokes, much of our discussion will focus upon hypertension.
The new insights that were discovered by several biophysicists around 1980 came from analysis of the living cell, as described in simple terms in Chapter 4 of this book. But as it turns out, several perceptive physicians (see below and Chapter 6) had also discovered the same thing much earlier starting in 1904 and again in 1928! Moreover, these physicians all successfully treated their patients' high blood pressure by increasing the dietary K/Na ratio, or K Factor. They consistently had success.
And I'll bet you haven't heard of this either? Hmmm. I wonder why?
SIX LINES OF EVIDENCE POINT TO THE SAME CONCLUSION
Well if you want my take on "why," I'll give it to you later in the Introduction. But first, consider why we can be so confident that increasing the dietary ratio of potassium to sodium, the K Factor, can eliminate most strokes and a large number of heart attacks and can also prevent and cure the vast majority of cases of high blood pressure.
It is important to point out that no one in the medical community has challenged the conclusions in this book in the eighteen years that this message has been out. There has been effort to prevent you from hearing this message, but the message itself hasn't been challenged.
It can't be. The message goes unchallenged because six independent lines of evidence all lead to the same conclusion:
1. Anthropologists who study different cultures are unanimous in their conclusion that hypertension is a result of lifestyle not your inheritance (see Chapter 5).
2. Vegetarians, who have a diet with a high K Factor, almost never get hypertension (see Chapter 5).
3. Animal studies demonstrate that increasing the dietary K Factor de-creases elevated blood pressure and protects against strokes (see Chapters 6 and 15).
4. Experience with humans demonstrates that increasing the dietary K Factor in people with hypertension decreases blood pressure and can prevent most strokes (see Chapter 6).
5. Clinical studies using drugs to treat high blood pressure show that just lowering the blood pressure does not prevent many of the heart attacks and strokes caused by hypertension (see Chapter 2).
6. Biophysical research has revealed that every living cell has an electrical system, involving potassium and sodium, that plays a major role in maintaining a normal homeostasis, or balance, of the cell. This research, in which I was involved, clearly demonstrates that if the K/Na ratio, or K Factor, inside the cell decreases, a whole constellation of abnormalities develops in the functioning of cells throughout the body (see Chapter 4).
You will find here, and in my previous book, The K Factor: Reversing and Preventing High Blood Pressure without Drugs, very strong evidence that if 75% of dietary sodium were replaced with potassium, high blood pressure would be virtually eliminated, and well over 80% of strokes could be eliminated!*
These and other developments require an entirely new way of thinking about strokes and hypertension.
THE NEW PERSPECTIVE: SIX RELATED INSIGHTS
The new revolutionary view of hypertension and strokes is based on six related insights into the true nature of high blood pressure:
IT'S MORE THAN JUST ELEVATED BLOOD PRESSURE
There is a lot more to hypertension than just elevated blood pressure. The increased blood pressure is a marker, or a sign that something is out of balance. Just as a high temperature is a sign that something is wrong in the body, high blood pressure is a sure sign that there is a serious imbalance in cells through-out the whole body. This imbalance often involves increased blood cholesterol, increased levels of insulin caused by "insulin resistance," and a tendency to have high blood sugar levels. In the last analysis, these blood abnormalities are the result of imbalances within each living cell.
In addition, there definitely is a medical-industrial complex that influences the discussion of "health" issues so as to maximize financial profit. Moreover, the Salt Institute continues to push the ideas that would result in more salt consumption for example, the notion that we don't need to cut down on dietary salt. To get an idea of this group's activities, visit its website: www.saltinstitute.org.
A lot of the problem is about money, power, and control. A medical-industrial complex has succeeded in inculcating a pro-drug ideology in medical education and thus practice. And the government has gone along.
There is an unholy alliance between the medical schools, the drug companies, and the politicians a "golden triangle" that keeps this dysfunctional system going and prevents the American people from having the health they deserve. What is the reason this "golden triangle" exists? It's all about gold. Indeed, universal adoption of the principles presented in this book would result not only in a huge decrease in the drug expenses of the elderly, and a correspondingly high decrease in the financial strain on Medicare and Medicaid, but a corresponding huge decrease several billion dollars annually in income of the drug companies! There is a lot of gold at stake ! And there are vested interests that want us to think that drugs are the correct answer for hypertension, regardless of the scientific evidence.
The drug companies are subtly manipulating the medical schools so that most future doctors are indoctrinated with the idea that synthetic chemicals prescription drugs are the treatment of first choice for almost every ailment that afflicts humankind. And guess what: part of the salary of many of the medical school instructors comes from where? You guessed it: the drug companies. And guess what: some medical journals such as the American Journal of Hypertension are almost entirely funded by drug companies. Just look at a copy, and you will see.*
It all started innocently enough. In the 1950s, many drug companies were truly dedicated to the health of the public as much as to profits. In that spirit, it was natural for them to sometimes give research grants to support fundamental biological research in medical schools and in universities. Indeed, one of the first research grants I received for studies into the action of insulin on sodium and potassium exchange in the body was from Eli Lilly. No strings were attached, and none of my salary came from the grant. However, as time went by, more and more the grant money from drug companies began to shift toward an emphasis on drugs per se rather than just on basic research, such as mine had been. Moreover, more and more, drug companies began to pay at least part of the salaries of medical school faculty. Who is going to bite the hand that feeds them? So now, much of the thinking in medical schools is dominated by drug companies. As just one example, recently I went through the bookstore of a large medical school to see how many books it stocked on prevention of heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension. None not one ! Not mine, not those of Dean Ornish, M.D., not those of Julian Whitaker, M.D. But there were books on the use of drugs to treat those conditions. What does this say to the medical students, our fledgling physicians? Obviously, prevention isn't even on the radar screen. It's all about treatment locking the barn door after the horse is gone.
Diet? Well, yes, the medical schools have now finally given lip service to diet, but drugs are still the topic of focus. And yes, within medicine there is a glacier-like movement toward correcting the nutritional imbalance responsible for hypertension. For example, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hyper-tension) Diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, does have an improved K Factor and has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure.
Only a small percentage of physicians are involved in these pro-drug decisions, and virtually none of them look at themselves as part of some "vast conspiracy." But they are surrounded by people who all have the same point of view, and major dissenting views are usually not admitted to the committees that determine policy. The vast majority of physicians are well-meaning people interested in their patients' welfare. As an example, on June 9, 2000, I gave a talk to the stroke group of the Neurology Department of Indiana University School of Medicine. In almost 20 years, this was the first time either I, or the half dozen other biomedical scientists who had reached the views presented in this book, had succeeded in gaining an audience within the medical establishment. These neurologists paid rapt attention and asked hard, penetrating questions. None of them had heard of the key evidence in this book before, nor had any of them heard of the results in Finland. Why?
Several wanted to buy my book and obviously were open-minded about exploring the evidence. Afterwards, it occurred to me to ask myself why, as opposed to some earlier experiences with some in the medical establishment, these particular physicians were all so interested and both critical and open-minded. I raised this question to an old friend from my days as a resident while we had lunch. Mark, who has been practicing neurology all these years, said it was obvious. These doctors are the ones who daily take care of stroke patients and strokes are the most discouraging things to treat in medicine. These physicians know first-hand how devastating strokes are to both the patient and the family. They were thinking only of their patients not what they had been told in medical school, or what the "authorities" were saying, but what is best for their patients and how the terrible damage caused by strokes could be prevented.
To demonstrate the slow development of the bias toward the automatic use of drugs, when I was in medical school in the 1950s, our pharmacology instructors often pointed out that "Remember, every drug can also be a poi-son." That statement is true. Every drug can, especially if given in too high a dose, act as a poison. This is true of aspirin, digitalis, sleeping pills, high blood pressure pills, insulin you name it. It is true of all drugs. Indeed, according to Dr. Julian Whitaker,2 each year over 100,000 deaths in the United States are due to the adverse effects of prescription drugs taken as directed. This is more than twice the deaths caused by automobile accidents! Yet, there is no outcry, no call to reconsider a system that causes so much death even when it is functioning as designed. The idea that drugs are the answer for most or all of our health problems has become a religion based on faith, not evidence.
Contrast the 1950s approach with a pharmacology lecture I attended in one of our medical schools in the mid-1980s. The instructor was discussing drugs used for treating high blood pressure. After naming each drug, he would list its side effects. Then, he would list the drugs for treating each of these side effects! Nobody asks where this infinite regress ends. And after acknowledging that all of these drug have side effects, was there any reminder of the fact that "every drug can also be a poison"? No. And as is usually the case in medical school, there was so much material to cover that it was all the students could do to jot down their notes. They had no time to reflect on what was being said. This isn't education this is conditioning.
I wasn't by any means the first to come to this new perspective, nor the first to meet resistance and hostility. As mentioned above, the origins of this new perspective can be traced at least as far back as 1928, when a Canadian physician, Dr. W. L. T. Addison, reported that increasing dietary potassium lowered blood pressure in his patients. Through the years, several American physicians, including Dr. Walter Kempner and Dr. Lewis Dahl, repeated the Canadian success in treating high blood pressure but were frustrated in their attempts to gain their colleagues' attention. In 1972, Dr. Dahl commented on this resistance:
For reasons that are difficult to fathom, there appeared a great deal of antipathy to Kempner's reports as well as irrational disbelief in the effectiveness of the diet. . . . For those of you who are unfamiliar with the diet, let me define it as a low sodium, or a high potassium [emphasis mine], diet.
So the resistance and "antipathy" to the one best way to treat hypertension and prevent the resulting strokes and heart attacks isn't new.
My involvement in this story began when my own research and that of colleagues finally convinced me that a proper balance of potassium to sodium is required for healthy blood pressure. Having gone to medical school before getting my Ph.D. in biophysics, I naturally thought the people involved in research concerning high blood pressure would like to know more about this. So I attempted to talk with people in the organizations dedicated to research and treatment of high blood pressure. Other than a couple of physicians at the University of Vermont School of Medicine, where I had a research position, they wouldn't even listen.
It turned out that I wasn't the first to receive a cold shoulder from the "authorities" in hypertension. Dr. Lorin Mullins, then chairperson of the Department of Biophysics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, had had similar experiences. Dr. Mullins, together with a couple of others, began urging me to write a book that would bring this knowledge to the public. After all, many foods such as potatoes and bananas are abundant in potassium, and increasing such food in the diet couldn't possibly hurt anyone especially when it was quite clear that this could lower blood pressure.
I found help in a colleague, Dr. George Webb, of the University of Vermont, who had come to similar conclusions and had successfully treated his own hypertension by increasing the ratio of potassium to sodium in his diet. So George and I wrote The K Factor Reversing and Preventing High Blood Pressure without Drugs.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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