doctor taking blood pressure reading, blood pressure high, misdiagnosed with hypertension

Q. Several years ago my blood pressure was 210/100. I took the prescribed medication but also started reading up on ways to control hypertension naturally.

I read that low carbohydrate diets lower blood pressure, blood sugar and triglycerides. I cut back on bread, rarely eat pasta or other grains and don’t eat much fruit but do get lots of non-starchy vegetables. I eliminated sugar, and in the next few months my blood pressure dropped to about 120/80 even without meds.

I never cut back on salt and blood tests show my sodium is right where it should be. I suggest cutting carbs instead of salt.

My blood pressure is around 110/68 at home, but it still pops up to 140/80 at the doctor’s office. I take my monitor with me so my doctor can check my recent readings and test it against her meter.

A. Bravo! Your low-carb dietary approach works for losing weight, lowering cholesterol and controlling blood sugar. There is some evidence to support your use of this approach for hypertension and weight control (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nov. 2009).

It is very sensible for you to monitor your blood pressure at home. Many people find that their blood pressure is higher during an office visit, particularly if there is some anxiety associated with the visit. This is called “white coat hypertension.”

We discuss white coat hypertension and many non-drug approaches to controlling hypertension in our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment. The DASH diet, although it is not low in carbohydrates, is one approach that is very well supported by evidence. If you need to learn more about the DASH diet, you can find lots of information online or in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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  1. Gehad M.

    I usually know that salt rises blood pressure but this the first time know that carbohydrate rises it. This is valuable information.

  2. Igor

    Wow, I never knew that changing our diet can have such a massive effect on your blood pressure. My pressure is usually 150/90, and since I am healthy I was looking for natural ways to reduce it. Will try to follow your advice and see what happens. Thank you!

  3. HJL

    Congratulations. It appears your eczema may have been an allergic reaction.
    You most likely were on a low carbohydrate diet. Losing that much weight will
    lower blood pressure. W/o sugar and grains your inflammation levels probably
    went down which also lowers BP. Were you on a low carb diet?

  4. Wayne S.

    August 2011, I bought a book called ‘Life Without Bread.’ It’s written by a feller called Wolfgang Lutz. At the time I weighed a little over 200lbs, had suffered with eczema most of my adult life, and my blood pressure average was 155/95. Today I weigh 155lbs, have no eczema, and my average blood pressure is 110/70. I don’t eat or drink any grain or sugar products, nor any of their substitutes.

  5. Joan

    interested in any follow up

  6. DS

    I started using MORE salt and my blood pressure went down. I use pink Himalayan salt. I suspect that lack of good salt may have to do with digestive problems I have had in the past. Doctors seem to interpret reflux as indicative of too much acid, but I think lack of acid and therefore good digestion is why food goes UP instead of down several hours after eating. It’s as though the small intestine is saying “go back and try some more [to digest to the point I am ready for it].”

  7. HJL

    Losing weight alone will reduce blood pressure. The low carb diet effectively
    reduces weight. It also works as a mild diuretic and as an anti inflammatory.
    All these help lower blood pressure. The doctors who encourage this dietary approach are well aware of the lowering blood pressure effect. In fact, many recommend a temporary extra intake of salt to moderate these effects a little
    because they are so effective they cause a temporary malaise w/o the temporary
    salt supplementation. In a very short time the supplementation stops and all the good effects continue to kick in. For some only this approach works.

  8. cpmt

    It may also be because you cut GMO’s from your diet. I recently heard on the news that all wheat is GMO and contains a ‘component’ that affects weight and hunger. Some believe that it’s making Americans fat and affects blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes etc.

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