Many people believe the myth that their high blood pressure is the product of genetics. This is not true. While family history may increase your risk of high blood pressure, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have it. You aren’t doomed to a lifetime of pharmaceuticals just because your parents were.
Disease development, including high blood pressure, is largely influenced by environmental and lifestyle factors. These factors can turn certain genes on or off. At Natural Heart Doctor, we’re here to empower you with the knowledge and resources to prevent high blood pressure, regardless of your genetic predisposition.
Can family history affect high blood pressure?
The short answer: family history can affect high blood pressure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will.
Research shows some genetic components to heart disease. Studies have shown that parental and grandparental hypertension can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Genes may influence the functioning of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system — a system of hormones that balance fluids and regulate blood pressure.
There’s overwhelming evidence that lifestyle and environment play an enormous role in developing high blood pressure. If you think about it, members of the same family can sometimes adopt similar lifestyles. This could explain the strong link between family history and high blood pressure.
How much do genes affect high blood pressure?
To better understand this question, it’s crucial to understand epigenetics. You were handed a base sequence of DNA from your parents at birth. This DNA can indeed carry particular vulnerabilities for disease. However, there are many ways that this DNA can express throughout your lifetime. DNA expression is a term to describe how specific genes are activated to create proteins.
Epigenetics is the interaction between external factors (such as environment and lifestyle) and the expression of your DNA. This means that the choices you make, the diet you eat, the environment you live in, and the toxins you encounter can turn genes on and off.
Epigenetics is most clearly demonstrated in twins. Although twins have the same genetic material, their genes won’t always express the same throughout their lives. They won’t necessarily end up with matching health conditions.
A study done on monozygotic (identical) twins showed more differences in epigenetic expression in twins who were older, had different lifestyles, and spent less of their life together. This shows the power that lifestyle and environment can have on gene expression.
Epigenetic changes happen throughout your entire lifespan, not just in utero or early childhood. In the same study, 50-year-old twins had four times as many differently expressed genes as 3-year-old twins.
This information should feel empowering, even if you already have high blood pressure. You’re never too old to make lifestyle changes that alter the expression of your genes. The choices you make today have the power to change your life, change your genetic expression, and bring down your blood pressure naturally.
How do lifestyle changes bring down high blood pressure?
The longer your blood pressure remains uncontrolled, the higher your risk for developing other severe conditions. Most doctors will jump to pharmaceuticals to bring your blood pressure down, but this doesn’t target the root of the problem.
As discussed, your lifestyle and environment can cause physiological changes that turn certain genes on and off. You have much more control over your blood pressure than you may think. Control your blood pressure naturally with these lifestyle changes.
What you put into your body can make or break your health and even impact your genes. The interaction between diet and the human genome is “nutritional genomics.” A good diet can be the best medicine for managing your high blood pressure. At Natural Heart Doctor, we recommend the organic 100 Year Heart Diet.
Sleep deprivation is known to cause epigenetic changes. Rest helps regulate many of the processes in your body, including your autonomic nervous system, which plays a vital role in keeping your blood pressure down. Insomnia and poor sleep quality are known to contribute to high blood pressure. For your best heart health, manage and treat sleep disorders.
Stress can directly impact gene expression, leading to disease. Patients with panic disorder showed stress-related changes in nerve biology. This led to changes in DNA expression, which contributed to the development of hypertension. Addressing your mental health is so crucial for promoting your best physical health.
Sunlight and vitamin D
Vitamin D directly affects gene regulation and contributes to immune function, inflammation, and cardiovascular health. While there are vitamin D supplements, the best way to get your vitamin D is by going out in the sun. Research supports that sun exposure has even more benefits independent of vitamin D.
The research is clear. Smoking is dire for your health. Tobacco smoking could alter the expression of specific genes related to cardiovascular disease. Smoking is linked to changes within the body that elevate blood pressure, including inflammation and oxidative stress.
Regular exercise can directly modify genes to promote cardiac health and lower blood pressure. Exercise is also important in the prevention of obesity. Carrying extra weight can overwhelm your body with inflammation and contribute to high blood pressure. Many believe the myth that obesity is also a product of genetics. But research supports that the expression of these genes can be altered by physical activity and a good diet.
Your genetic expression can change through exposure to toxins, bacteria, and viruses. The most common toxins include pollutants, mold, pesticides, plastics, heavy metals, and more. Testing is often necessary to identify how specific toxins are affecting your health. At Natural Heart Doctor, we offer comprehensive testing for many of the toxins responsible for raising blood pressure.
If you believe that you’re a victim of your genetics, then you will be. The truth is, there’s no reason to feel powerless over your health. When it comes to lowering your blood pressure, there’s so much that you can control. The research has made it clear that lifestyle plays the biggest role in developing heart disease and high blood pressure.
The human body is a miraculous self-healing machine when it’s given the right conditions. Despite what your doctor may have told you, you don’t need to rely on pharmaceuticals for the rest of your life. It’s never too late to bring down your blood pressure naturally. At Natural Heart Doctor, we don’t buy into the myth that you’re simply a product of genetics. We’re here to support you in targeting the real causes of your high blood pressure.
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Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD