High Blood Pressure can cause permanent to the kidneys, heart, brain and blood vessels. This damage is generally done over many years. Once the damage is done often the patient is very ill and may die suddenly from the damage done to the organ. For example, a person could have a sudden stroke after having years of high blood pressure. The important question is can blood pressure be prevented and can blood pressure be treated after it develops. One final question is can serious problems of blood be treated after the problems start, like a stroke or serious kidney disease?
High Blood Pressure is very common in China. It is becoming more common with the rapid urbanization of life and the increased stress and pressure of life and living. Mao Xu Gang is an elderly gentleman who had suffered from a stroke after having years of high blood pressure. The problem was that he did not know that he had high blood pressure. He asked his doctors if his high blood pressure could have been prevented. His doctor told him that yes with better exercise and diet.
Here is what Mao Xu Gang’s doctor told him about preventing high blood pressure from developing. First was a good exercise program. Though many Chinese exercise many do not do so very well. Dr. Luke believes that we should exercise at three times a week for 20 minutes. More exercise also has more benefit. When we exercise we should run or walk enough to get our pulse (which is the heart rate we feel in our wrist) at one and half to two times our resting pulse. When our heart rate gets to be this fast then we know that we are exercising our heart hard enough. We should try to exercise like this three times a week.
We should also try to exercise doing resistance exercises. These are exercises, which are like lifting lightweights. We should try to do this as well for 20 minutes a day 2-3 times a week. This strengthening of our arms will help us with general conditioning of our muscles.
The Bible tells us that the human body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. What does this mean? The human body is not our own. God created us. The very first book of the Bible is called Genesis. This book also means ‘beginnings.’ The first sentence in the Bible and Genesis says, ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1.1). Later the Bible and the book of Genesis says, ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground (Genesis 1.26).” Later God says, ‘God saw all that he made and it was very good (Genesis 1.31).’ God created our bodies for God purposes. Thus if God created us he certainly has an obligation to tell us how to use and live our lives. Thus how we eat and exercise are very important. This is because God created us for a purpose. That purpose is to bring praise to God. The book of Psalms written around 1000BC says ‘May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the people justly and guide the nations of the earth (Psalms 67.3,4). This says that our wanting to praise God is because of what he has done for us. We should want to praise him. Part of this praising is how we honor our bodies before him. If we ignore and neglect then like Mao Xu Gang one of the bad side effects is to get high blood pressure.
The second way we can prevent high blood pressure, besides exercise, is by having a good diet. How can this help? First, being overweight causes us to have high blood pressure or at least can contribute to high blood pressure. Second, having a lot of salt in the diet can make the blood pressure higher. The salt causes our body to retain water and that water makes for a higher pressure in the blood vessels. Thus to prevent high blood pressure we should know which foods are higher in salt or just not add so much salt to our cooking and when we eat. Third, we should eat a lot more fruits and vegetables. This is because fruits and vegetables have fewer calories than other foods and thus we will not gain as much weight. Second, fruits and vegetables do not have much salt. Finally, the fruits and vegetables provide basic vitamins and minerals, which help us, live better and feel better. We should have everyday 2-3 helpings of both fruits and vegetables. We should have less of meats and breads. Finally we should have only a few times a week have sweet foods like ice cream and desert.
The Bible has a book called I Corinthians (called because the city it was written to was called Corinth), which is a book written by a man named Paul about 70 AD. It says in this book ‘so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (I Corinthians 10.31). ‘ What does this mean? All that we do should be for God’s glory. Thus when we eat we should do this for God’s glory. What is God’s glory? God’s glory is who God is. God is love and greatness and all knowing and all seeing. Thus when we eat and drink we should do so in such a way as what we do honors God. How can we do this? First, we can avoid food, which harms our own bodies. God loves us and created us. If we harm our own bodies then we are harming God. Think of it like this. In some small way we are responsible for creating our own children. If all day we just fed them candy how would they do? Not very good. In the same way God wants us to do those things which help our own bodies.
What are things, which can harm our bodies, i.e. in what we eat and drink? We have already talked about too much food, sweats and salt. What about smoking and drinking alcohol? Certainly smoking can make our blood pressure go up. Also drinking alcohol can do the same. Thus we should avoid smoking. Drinking one ounce of alcohol or red wine a day is actually helpful to our health. However, more than this is not helpful and can be harmful. If we are addicted to either smoking or alcohol we should get help. These things can cause a lot of severe problems for us.
We have talked about eating right and also about exercising right. Also about avoiding excess alcohol intake as well as not smoking. All of these things done right can prevent high blood pressure from developing.
However, what do we do if our blood pressure is already high? That first depends on how high it is. If the top number, or the systolic is less than 140 but the bottom number or diastolic is between 90-100 then the blood pressure should be checked for 6 months to document if the borderline elevation is real. If it is then the blood pressure should first be treated with better diet and exercise as mentioned above. Often just better diet and exercise will bring down the blood pressure just enough. If after 6 months the blood pressure is still elevated or the patient is not able to exercise enough the doctor may elect to place the patient on blood pressure medicine to bring the blood pressure down. There are many different types of blood medications to take to bring down the high blood pressure. Your doctor can choose for you the very best type for you. Many of these medicines have been used for many years and thus have been proved to be very safe to be used for high blood pressure.
You should never start a blood pressure medicine alone as the medicine may have some side effects you are not aware of. Your doctor should start the blood pressure medicines after discussing the side effects and benefits of the medicines. After that your doctor can give you a prescription to get filled. Once starting a blood pressure medicine you should return in 1-4 weeks to have your blood pressure, heart and other things about you rechecked.
What if your blood pressure is very high when it is first checked? For example, if the blood pressure shows over 160 and over 110 then the doctor may start you on a blood pressure medicine that very day to bring it down. Why? Because a blood pressure that high can cause quickly serious heart, kidney and brain damage. Thus that very day your doctor may start a medicine and have you come back to the office in several days.
Mao Xu Gang had a brother who was 8 years older than him. His brother, Mao Pang Feng had not felt well for a year and then one-week he felt very bad. He was having trouble breathing. He went to the doctor to only find that his kidneys had virtually stopped working and that his heart was hardly pumping blood. He learned from the doctors that he had very high blood pressure, which had virtually destroyed his kidney and heart. Mao Pang Feng’s blood pressure was 190/130. He was so sick the doctors placed him in the hospital. During the next week he made a brief improvement. However, the doctors told his family that he was very sick and did not expect him to live. He died the next week even with aggressive treatment of his blood pressure.
Mao Xu Gang had earlier that year learned that his blood pressure was elevated and had started to work on a better diet and exercise plan. He was feeling much better. However, he really missed his brother. He began to realize though that having good health was not good enough to having a life, which was full and rich. Just having good health did not make one feel good. It could help but alone it was not enough. He would have been glad to hear what the man John had to say about Jesus about 90AD. John was a friend of Jesus Christ. He said about Jesus, that is quoting Jesus, ‘I have come that they might have life and might have it more abundantly (John 10.10). What does this mean? Jesus Christ says that part of his coming to earth was to give people a full and meaningful life both now and forever in eternity. How would he do this?
First, he would do this by saving people from their sins. The man Paul wrote a book to Rome (contained in the Bible) around 70AD and said, ‘But God showed his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5.8).’ Even while we did wrong Christ died for us. This shows God’s great love for us. The Bible also says, ‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5.1).’ One of the great themes of mankind is how to have peace with God. The Bible says that we have peace with God through Jesus Christ. Just how does this work?
Jesus Christ came to earth to live as an example for us. Then he died on the Cross-for our sins. Jesus literally took on himself our sins or wrong doings. The Bible also says in this same book to Rome, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3.23,24).’ Jesus Christ redeemed us. We should have been punished but he was punished in our place. This should give us great peace and joy in our lives now. Then we will also have eternal life with Jesus Christ. This will give us eternal life and joy. The Bible also says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3.16).’ What great news.
This great news is for all of the peoples of the world, whether you are Chinese, American or whoever. You can have this peace with God now and this eternal life now. You may pray the following prayer:
Dear Jesus, I know that I have done wrong and believe that you are the Son of God who came to earth. I believe that you died for my sins on the Cross and that you then were buried and later rose from the grave so show you victory over death. I place my trust in you.
If you believe this prayer and have prayed it then you are a child of God both now and forever.