High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 30 percent of all Americans—and if you’re one of them, your health depends on the most advanced treatment options available. But as we’ve seen time and again in the treatment of many serious medical conditions, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Between required lifestyle changes and side-effect-producing medications, high blood pressure can be very tough to manage throughout the course of a person’s life. What many people don’t realize is that one of the most advanced and effective hypertension treatments is perhaps the oldest in the world—acupuncture.

Why High Blood Pressure Is So Serious

For many people who have slightly high blood pressure, it’s easy to ignore because they aren’t many obvious symptoms of the disease. But, depending on life circumstances, blood pressure that’s a little high today could skyrocket between doctor’s visits. The danger of hypertension is that elevated blood pressure puts too much strain on our arteries, which can lead to potentially fatal strokes or heart attacks. As humans, we want our blood pressure to be neither too high nor too low to maintain optimal health. This is one reason why at the beginning of each doctor’s visit, the staff checks blood pressure—it really can be a life-or-death situation!

Hypertension Management

High blood pressure is sometimes inherited from birth due to our family history, but it can also a disease that we bring upon ourselves. This is why the risk factors—like obesity, salt intake, and alcoholism, to name a few—are also the way to naturally manage this disease.

Healthy Weight

Stave off hypertension by maintaining—or getting back to—a healthy BMI.

Exercise

Reduce your risk by engaging in regular exercise.

Healthy Low-Sodium Diet

Skip the salt and junk food to keep high blood pressure at bay.

Limited Alcohol, Caffeine, and Nicotine

Abstain from chemical substances to keep your blood pressure in the normal range.

Stress Management

Take the time to unwind to ensure you—and your blood pressure—are healthy and happy.

But because reducing risk means making lifestyle changes, many people have a difficult time maintaining the good habits they need for preventing spikes in blood pressure.

The result? A huge number of people suffering from hypertension take side-effect ridden blood pressure medications. Always remember to consult with your medical doctor and acupuncturist before you stop or start any new medications—but be aware that known side effects of the most popular hypertension drugs include erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, insomnia, headache, constipation, gastrointestinal discomfort, and nausea, just to name a few.

There Is A Better Way: Acupuncture

The problem with conventional medications is that they don’t take into account the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. Nobody deserves to battle side effect after side effect when there are alternatives! The marvelous thing about acupuncture is that it not only helps manage blood pressure directly, but it also helps patients make the necessary lifestyle changes.

Acupuncture uses tiny, sterile needles to access pathways (also called “meridians”) in the body that connect to the brain. Different points on the body connect to different parts of the brain, which is why acupuncture can help control factors such as pain, stress, and the cardiovascular system.

One recent study showed that, in patients with hypertension, 70 percent of those treated with acupuncture saw a noticeable drop in their blood pressure.

Combined with acupuncture’s known effectiveness for controlling weight, reducing stress, and beating addictions, it can be a powerful way to stave off hypertension for good.

So before you or your loved ones commit to a lifetime of medication, talk to your doctor and acupuncturist about your options. You’ll be glad you did!