Do Vegans Have Too Low Blood Pressure? What Should Our Reading Be? Dr Greger

Do Vegans Have Too Low Blood Pressure? What Should Our Reading Be? Dr Greger


High blood pressure, hypertension, is a major
risk factor for serious health problems and contributes to some of the leading causes
of death including heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Nearly 1 in 3 American adults suffer from
hypertension.This meta-analysis found that consumption of vegetarian diets was associated
with significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to omnivorous diets
and this study also found that non-meat eaters, especially vegans, have a lower prevalence
of hypertension and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures than meat eaters. Many people on a whole food plant based diet
report have blood pressure readings that are quite far below the quote un quote normal
120/80. Is this healthy or is it too low? Will a plant based diet cause your blood pressure
to drop too low causing dizziness and light headedness? What should our blood pressure reading really
be? And finally if our blood pressure is to low
should we consume salt in order to raise it? Well let’s hear as Dr Michael Greger addresses
these questions…..The important thing is that look, having a normal blood pressure
and normal cholesterol where it’s normal to die of a heart attack or stroke, these
are the leading killers, you know, is not necessarily a good thing. We don’t want normal we want ideal, what’s
the ideal blood pressure? Meaning what’s the blood pressure for which there is no benefit
from reducing it further and that blood pressure is 110/70. So it’s just like we need to get our cholesterol
under 150, we need to get our blood pressure down to 110 over 70. There’s no additional benefit to go below
that but it’s fine to go below that as long as you’re not symptomatic. So typically one wouldn’t get symptoms until
you’re under about 90/60 at which point people might experience dizziness, light-headedness
and that kind of thing which absolutely needs to be addressed. There’s all sorts of reasons that people
can be hypotensive, meaning too low blood pressure, it can be a hormonal issue it can
be a thyroid or adrenal gland issue. It can be a neurological issue, it can be
a cardiac issue, a problem with the heart. Having a low number on the blood pressure
doesn’t matter unless you’re asymptomatic as long as you don’t have symptoms the lower
the better, that’s fine. But if you do have symptoms something’s
going on which is bad, you need to go and find out and as always treat the cause rather
than have your doctor give you drugs to artificially raise your blood pressure or give you salt
to artificially raise your blood pressure. You’ve got to find out what the cause is,
treat the cause and then your blood pressure should be normal. And by normal I mean ideal, 110/70. The cause isn’t salt deprivation; think
about it we evolved over millions of years without KFC without a salt shaker, without
Cheetos. Our bodies are adapted to get all the salt
we need from just the tiny amount of sodium found in regular whole plant foods. There must be something going on and the problem
with “well let’s just treat it with salt” it’s just like the problem with treating
high blood pressure “let’s just treat it with medications and drop it down”, is
you’re not treating the underlying cause. Which for hypertension is usually this inflamed,
clogged crippled arteries and for hypertension can be a whole wide range of things and the
reason you don’t want to take salt is, salt does more than just raise your blood pressure
which for this person wouldn’t be a problem because they’d still be in the ideal range
but does all sorts of bad things beyond that in terms of stiffening arteries and has other
negative effects within the body so we don’t want to be taking excess salt. Now unless look there’s these rare salt wasting
kidney diseases, where you really don’t have enough salt in your blood and you’ve
got to take salt. There’s rare conditions which you need to,
so I’m not saying don’t listen to your doctor I’m saying I would encourage them
to talk to their cardiologist and say wait a second why do I have it so low and is there
anything we can do to treat the cause. One of the reasons you take salt and your
blood pressure goes up, is you retain water your body tries to hold on to water to dilute
the salt and so it raises your blood volume. An easier way to raise blood volume is drink
some water and so some people, for example have what’s called orthostatic hypotension
meaning when they get up from a lying down to a sitting or standing position they feel
dizzy or light-headed for a moment. Probably the leading cause for that is just
a lack of hydration. They’ve been sleeping all night, they haven’t
been drinking. So having a glass of water by the bed and
chugging it down before getting up can help with that.