Hypertension: Low Carb and High Blood Pressure

Twenty years ago, when I was first diagnosed with hypertension as a twenty-something fatso, the numbers were 190/110. It runs in the family – my Dad has it, so it wasn’t all that much of a shock that I would get it, too.

I went to my Dad’s cardiologist at the time and he put me on Vasoretic – the generic enalapril with a diuretic (water pill).

The first few months really sucked. When acclimating yourself to a bodily environment where your heart is not about to blow a gasket for the first time in years, you feel awful – tired, lethargic, dizzy. It took me at least 3 months to get used to a lower blood pressure. The drug got me down to about 140/90 – not great, but a helluva lot better than 190/110.

A succession of docs tried to get it a bit lower, but to no avail. The 90 in the 140/90 was what concerned them. For the resting pressure (systolic), it was still too high. It must be noted that my weight at the time – maybe 225 and steadily climbing – played a part, but docs sometimes ignore weight as a factor – they seem to feel it’s hopeless to even try to change that factor, so they focus on other means.

Then, in 2003, I went on a low carb diet and lost a significant amount of weight – about 60 lbs. When I next had my blood pressure taken, I was 120/80 – perfect blood pressure for the first time in 20 years.

Fast forward to yesterday. I went to the doc on an unrelated issue, and as always, the nurse checks your blood pressure prior to the doctor seeing you. She took it and reported the numbers:

112 over 68

Say again?!?

I’m an almost 6-foot guy in his forties with a family history of hypertension. Those numbers sounded like the blood pressure of a five-foot, 70 lb old lady.

Could a guy my size even walk around with blood pressure so low?

I asked the doc, and he smiled, as if thinking to himself: “Modern medicine wins one.”

“Oh, those are very good numbers. If you don’t regularly feel dizzy, then the pressure isn’t too low for you. We like to see these numbers as low as possible.”

Reassured that this wasn’t too low, I tried to figure out why it would be going so low now. When I lost my 80 lbs, it wasn’t this low – and I’ve actually gained weight since then.

Was it the maintaining a 65 lb weigh loss that has allowed my body to adjust the pressure downward?

Then, I just happened to open a magazine I was reading that claimed that magnesium can help control hypertension. I have been taking a magnesium supplement for over a year now – might that be playing a role?

I also got a note from a correspondent that mentioned low carbohydrate diets cause hypotension. It was made to sound like a bad thing – and it is – unless you have high blood pressure.

I have a full physical coming up in the next week, and I intend to ask my doctor about this – and see if I can get my medication adjusted to a lower dose – I only take one prescription medication – the Vasotec – and when I went on low carb, one dream was to stop all prescription meds completely.

Maybe it is possible.

4 thoughts on “Hypertension: Low Carb and High Blood Pressure

  1. I reckon it was the low carb diet that brought the pressure down. The fact that you continued on this diet could be the reason it has dropped too low. We do need a measure of carbs and the right kind.

    Why not get as much information as you can on carbohydrates and how they function in the body. You will be amazed at learning how much of an impact on health, our dietary habits, can cause, especially in connection with carbohydrates and weight.

    Wishful thinking on your doc`s behalf that he thinks it`s the meds doing their stuff, but why not ask him still to lower your dose on a trial period and see how you get on.

    It is now official that home blood pressure monitoring will help doctors get a better idea of a patients overall pressure, so I would suggest keeping an eye on your own, if the doctor agrees to lower your meds.

  2. I’ve been on blood pressure meds since I was 18. Cholesterol too. Now I’m about to turn 35. I quit my cholosterol meds about 2 years ago after reading the great cholesterol con and doing some research. I’ve lost a bunch of weight through low-carb and am sure that the severly reduced carb intake has gotten to levels my doctor call perfect. I still look only at triglycerides and hdl while my doctor looks at ldl. She complained for a while but I kept showing her studies and she can’t refute the numbers.

    I was on 3 different meds for blood pressure. Max doses for at least two possible all. Norvasc, Lotensin HCl and Toprol XL. I started to get lighted headed when I would get up from laying down or sitting on the floor. My doctor evetually agreed to cut back on them. It went away. Now I’m down to 1/2 the Lotensin HCl and the Toprol XL. My goal is to get off those also. Though I think its going to take another 50 pounds and possible some luck as it runs in the family also.

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