Renal denervation is a minimally invasive, catheter procedure to regulate nerve activity.
Medical centers across the United States are enrolling patients for a clinical trial to determine if the procedure controls high blood pressure by regulating nerves on arterial walls near the kidneys. These nerves are part of the sympathetic nervous system, which helps the body control blood pressure by narrowing blood vessels or directing the heart to pump harder.
This therapy is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
High Blood Pressure Treatment
Renal denervation is a minimally invasive, catheter procedure to regulate nerve activity.
Renal denervation, the intentional damaging of nerves in renal arteries, has been used since 2007 to treat more than 2,000 people with treatment-resistant hypertension. The therapy has been available in Europe and Australia since 2010 but is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Denervation does not require a permanent implant, and it is unclear if the nerve changes are permanent. Researchers believe the treatment may reduce the amount of medication people require but will not replace the drugs altogether.
The Symplicity HTN-3 study is a clinical trial for the Symplicity Renal Denervation System, which uses high frequency radio waves to damage nerves in renal arteries to treat hypertension. The study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of renal denervation for people with treatment-resistant hypertension and systolic blood pressure higher than 160 mmHg.
Researchers will study whether renal denervation, along with ongoing treatment with anti-hypertensive medications, helps people achieve their desired blood pressure.
The study will measure changes in blood pressure over six months, as well as any significant side effects or complications. If they choose, control group participants may receive renal denervation treatment six months after the study has ended.
According to one study, significant differences in blood pressure were lacking when the Atkins DietÂ® was compared with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat, low-calorie conventional diet in obese or overweight men and women. Additional studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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1 AnswerMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredSome startling research arrived recently. It seems that drugs that lower your blood pressure don't just put off heart trouble for a while. For every month you take them, they add a day (a healthy day) to your life.
Take 'em for 20 or 30 years (hardly unusual) and you're talking lots more days. You could have enough time to finish that book you intend to write, celebrate your 75th anniversary (it's diamonds, BTW), and really get to know your great-grandkids. We're not even factoring in the time you're adding by taking your vitamin D3, chucking the Oreos, and walking daily with a buddy (at a life-extending clip).
1 AnswerMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredIt is possible to control or prevent high blood pressure on a budget. Start with a free daily 30-minute walk, then add these proven, not pricey, steps:
- Always ask about generic meds. They're usually just as good as brand names and save a bundle. Case in point: generic diuretics. At $25 to $40 a year, they're flat-out cheap. These proven blood pressure (BP) drugs work at least as well as newer, far pricier ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers (a year's worth of the newer meds can hit $600). Diuretics are linked to lower rates of stroke and heart failure. That said, if the only blood-pressure med that works well for you is an expensive brand you can't afford, contact the pharmaceutical company. All have programs to help.
- Make a small investment in a home blood-pressure monitor, and use it daily. For around $20, you can get a perfectly fine home monitor at a big-box store. These devices are a must if you're taking BP meds, especially if you're just starting or switching. Your ultimate goal: 115/75. Take a reading every morning and e-mail your doctor the results daily or weekly. You'll both know how well it's working, and whether you need a drug or dose change.
- Push sodium off your plate. Everyone could benefit from consuming less salt (not just people with hypertension), but the people who benefit most are "salt-sensitive types." To find out if this is you, go low-salt for three weeks and compare your before-and-after readings on that home monitor. If your pressure's fallen 30/20 points, you are, and you could see a huge BP drop by trading pretzels for walnuts, salt-sodden processed and fast foods for home-cooked chili, grilled chicken, baked sweet potatoes, salads galore and berries swirled into no-fat Greek yogurt. (The numbers on your scale will plummet, too.)
- Try the DASH diet. Eating à la DASH can drop your BP 8 to 11 points and your heart attack or stroke risk 18% to 24%.
- Dark chocolate. An ounce a day could lower blood pressure enough to slash your heart attack risk by 20% over five years. Its secret ingredient is artery-widening flavonols.
- Tomato sauce (no added sugar or salt) is as good for BP as chocolate.
- Blueberries. Eat them regularly to lower your risk of high blood pressure by 10%. Credit potent plant substances called anthocyanins. Frozen are fine (and affordable). Keep a bag in the freezer and thaw later to toss on hot cereal or into yogurt.
1 AnswerControlling high blood pressure in America may benefit from a team-based approach between health care systems, health care providers (those who see and treat patients) and patients to ensure no opportunities are missed.
High blood pressure control improves when the following occur:
- Health care systems work with health care providers to help find the best treatment, including medication and lifestyle changes, for patients.
- Health care providers, i.e. doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc., put procedures in place to manage medication, recommend more frequent visits to follow up and provide counseling about lifestyle changes.
- Patients take the initiative to monitor their blood pressure levels between medical visits, take medications as prescribed by their doctor and notify their doctor of any side effects and make lifestyle changes, such as eating a low-sodium diet, exercising and stopping smoking.
Reduce your blood pressure without getting out of your chair? It may be possible -- if you do a little squeezing while you sit.
Isometric exercises, the kind where you contract large muscles without actually moving the body part, may help reduce blood pressure in healthy people, a new study shows. And something as simple as squeezing your inner thigh muscles together while you sit would qualify.
That's right. Isometric exercises can be done anytime, anywhere, and they don't require you to bend or lift. In a handful of studies, folks with normal blood pressure who did three 15- to 20-minute sessions of isometric exercises every week for 10 weeks experienced more than a 10-point plunge in their systolic blood pressure. And their diastolic pressure fell almost seven points. Not bad for not lifting a finger! Simple things like doing a static hand grip, flexing the butt muscles or doing leg squeezes all count. In the research, the three weekly sessions included doing multiple two-minute rounds of isometric clenches like those, with one to three minute rests in between.
It's super important to note that people with high blood pressure need to speak with a doctor before beginning any exercise program -- but especially one involving isometric exercises. In people who have hypertension, isometric exercises could cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure.
You could lower your blood pressure significantly in 30 seconds if you just do this: breathe deeply.
In a study, that simple act helped lower the study participants' systolic blood pressure. In fact, the study participants only had to do it six times to see their systolic pressure dip as much as 10 mm Hg! Not too shabby for a few slow in-and-out breaths.
The study involved nearly 20,000 Japanese adults with either normal blood pressure or high blood pressure. Some of the study participants sat alone quietly doing a breathing exercise that involved taking six deep breaths over the course of 30 seconds. The rest just sat quietly doing nothing for the same amount of time. Both activities were good for the study participants' vitals. But afterward, the systolic blood pressure readings in the deep breathers had dropped much more dramatically than the people who merely sat quietly.
The overall blood pressure and pulse rates of both groups were healthier after the quiet time. So the real point here may be that calming activities of any kind are important for relaxing blood vessels and the heart. The researchers suspect that the blood pressure benefits of the two activities in the study were at least partially due to their calming effects on the sympathetic nervous system.
Here's one of the best ways to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping your blood pressure in check: Take a nibble of dark chocolate.
In a German study of middle-aged and older people with mildly elevated blood pressure, those who ate a little of the dark stuff daily saw their readings drop several points after just 18 weeks of nibbling.
The best news of all is that the folks in the study didn't have to eat much dark chocolate -- just one small, 30-calorie square each day. After 18 weeks, the dark chocolate eaters experienced a nearly three-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and about a two-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number). Although the drop sounds small, when it comes to blood pressure, any little improvement can mean big things for your health. And in the study, the researchers estimated that the small drop in blood pressure in the prehypertensive study participants translated into about a 21% lower risk for really problematic blood pressure -- the kind that's so high it requires prescription medication.
Healthy compounds in dark chocolate -- called flavonols -- are undoubtedly the root cause of the blood pressure benefits in the recent study. Flavonols increase blood levels of nitric oxide, a chemical responsible for relaxing and opening blood vessels. And because chocolate tends to be high calorie, it's great news that such a small serving of dark chocolate has enough flavonols to help keep blood pressure healthy. Of course, chocolate alone won't keep blood pressure healthy.