High blood pressure, aka hypertension, can be just our body’s coping mechanism for water shortage.
You see, the body has a priority system for where it sends blood and therefore, water. It does this by opening and closing capillaries. In order of priority, the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and glands take priority over the muscles, bones, and skin. When we don’t drink enough water to serve all the needs of the body, some cells become dehydrated and lose some of their water to circulation. Capillary beds in less active areas have to close to adjust for the lack of water. (That’s why exercise is so important for hypertension, hint, hint.)
When there is a water shortage, some cells will go without a portion of their normal needs, while others will get a predetermined ration just to maintain function. All blood tests can appear normal and yet the small capillaries of the heart and the brain may be closed causing some of the cells of these organs gradual damage from dehydration over a long period of time.
When we do not recognize or ignore thirst sensation and drink less water than the body requires, shutting down of some vascular beds is the only natural alternative to keeping the rest of the blood vessels full.
The present way of treating hypertension is with diuretics. The body is trying to retain its water volume, yet we say, “No, you must take diuretics and get RID of the water.” Say what?
If we don’t drink enough water, the only other way the body has to secure water is through a secondary mechanism of keeping sodium in the body in the fluid outside of cells. When water is not available to get into the cells freely, it is filtered from outside of the cells and injected into the cells that are being overworked. This secondary, emergency means of supplying cells with “injected water” is the reason, in severe dehydration, we develop edema and retain water.
When water shortage reaches a critical level and delivery of water into cells by this injection method becomes the main route of supply, a rise in ‘injection pressure’ becomes necessary. The significant rise in pressure is called hypertension. Hello, high blood pressure.
When diuretics are given to get rid of sodium, the body becomes MORE dehydrated. The use of diuretics causes an ever-expanding level of deficit water management.
Edema or Swelling
The collected water from the injected water process settles mostly in the legs during the day. At night, it does not have to fight the force of gravity to get into the blood circulation when the body is horizontal. If this emergency process continues for a long time, the lungs can get waterlogged at night and breathing becomes difficult. You may find that you need more and more pillows to sleep at night.
Diuretics do not cure hypertension; they make the body more determined for salt and water absorption, but never enough to correct the problem. After a while, diuretics are not enough and additional medications have to be given to the patient.
Water, by itself, is the best natural diuretic.
High Blood Pressure Treatment with Water
Hypertension should be treated with an increase in daily water.
If there have been heart failure complications, water intake should be increased gradually so that fluid collection in the body is not excessive. These folks are already in sodium-retention overdrive. A gradual increase in water should produce more urine (yes, even more trips to the bathroom), the swelling from edema fluid will be flushed out and the heart will regain its strength.
The Secret is in the Timing
Remember that a good guideline is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. The timing is critical. The quality of the water is too.
The best times to drink water are:
- 1 glass half an hour BEFORE eating meals (not right before eating, but a half hour before eating)
- 1 glass 2.5 hours AFTER each meal
If the meal is heavy, drink more water before and after it. These are minimums, add more water as your body requires it.
It is important to keep track of how much water you are drinking daily. One of the easiest methods is to use the same glass or water bottle (glass or stainless steel only, please). We tend to ignore our thirst particularly when we are busy and eventually we don’t recognize it at all.
Remember that coffee, tea, colas, juices, although made with water, do NOT substitute for water consumption. In fact, coffee, tea, and colas are dehydrating!
The Color of Your Pee
- A well-hydrated person has colorless urine. But don’t forget that vitamins and food coloring can alter that color.
- A dehydrated person produces yellow urine.
- A truly dehydrated person produces urine that is orange.
Add More Salt
Water, salt and potassium together regulate the water content of the body. Water regulates the volume of a cell from inside the cell. Salt regulates the amount of water held outside the cells. Water has to get inside the cell to clean the toxic waste of cell metabolism. Once the water gets in the cell, the potassium holds onto it and keeps it there.
Typically we can get enough potassium from our food sources. However, this is not the case for salt. We have to add salt to our diet.
About 27% of the salt content of the body is stored in our bones in the form of crystals. When salt is deficient, it is taken from the bones to maintain the proper level in the blood. This could be a contributing factor to osteoporosis.
Contrary to popular belief (and even against the advice of many conventional doctors), salt is actually essential for the regulation of blood pressure, in conjunction with water. If you drink water and do not take salt, the water will not stay in the blood circulation to adequately fill all the blood vessels. In some cases, this will cause fainting.
As a rule of thumb, you need about 3 grams of salt (half a teaspoon) for every 10 glasses of water. This is equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon per quart of water. Spread it out through the day.
- If you exercise and sweat a lot, you will need more salt.
- But don’t over do it. If your weight suddenly goes up one day or your ankles are beginning to swell, you have taken too much salt. Hold back on the salt for one day and increase your water.
- If you are experiencing muscle cramps at night, you are becoming salt-deficient. You should also increase your vitamin and mineral intake as well.
- Avoid refined table salt and use unrefined salt such as Himalayan Salt or Celtic Salt.
- Kidney and cardiac patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their salt intake.
To learn more about the many benefits of using salt, check out my article “22 Miracle Benefits of Salt“.
Here’s your simple change for the day: Drink more water and don’t forget the salt to regulate blood pressure.
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