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John Bradshaw - Controlling Your Blood Pressure


John Bradshaw - Controlling Your Blood Pressure
John Bradshaw - Controlling Your Blood Pressure

This is It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me. When you open the Bible, you come face to face with some stark realities. The Bible says this in Romans 6 and verse 23. It says, "The wages of sin is death," which tells us that sin is a killer. It doesn’t always look like a killer. Sometimes it might look like your best friend. But ultimately, sin is deadly. Now, my guest today is Dr. David DeRose from CompassHealth Consulting, and we’re going to talk about a silent killer. Dr. DeRose, thanks for joining me today.

Dr. David DeRose: Great to be with you, John.

John Bradshaw: It’s good to have you back. Today there’s a silent killer we’re going to discuss, and you talk about it in your new book, "30 Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control". High blood pressure. So here’s my question: We’re here to talk about the Bible, but on a Bible program we’re talking about high blood pressure, a health concern, a killer. Why would we be talking about that on a spiritual, biblically-based television program?

Dr. David DeRose: You know, John, if it just killed people, if it just took their life, that might be one thing. But high blood pressure not only robs us of quality of life; it can impair our central computer, our frontal lobe. And as a result, the way the Holy Spirit communicates with us is through our brain. So if we’re not taking care of that brain, if it’s being pounded with high blood pressure, if we have a stroke, if we have dementia contributed to by high blood pressure, we are going to suffer in our spiritual life as well.

John Bradshaw: I’m reminded, too, the Bible says that our body "is the temple of the Holy Spirit". We should be concerned from a spiritual point of view about how we take care of the body temple, correct?

Dr. David DeRose: Most definitely. The other fascinating thing about the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit gives us those fruits of the Spirit. And we actually show in the book how those very fruits, also embodied in Jesus’ beatitudes, those things like kindness and joy, those things actually keep our blood pressure low. So these things are intimately connected: spirituality and physical health.

John Bradshaw: Today we’re going to discover how you can keep your blood pressure low; if you have high blood pressure, how you can lower that blood pressure, how you can avoid getting high blood pressure; in addition to that, a number of things very practical that will be a blessing to you, to your life, and if not you, then somebody you know who really needs this information. Okay, what’s, what’s blood pressure?

Dr. David DeRose: You know, it’s surprising that many people, even with high blood pressure, John, don’t know what it is. Blood pressure is simply the pressure that’s in your blood vessels. So every time your heart pumps, and the heart pumps roughly, just to make it simple, about once every second; that would be 60 beats a minute, many people a little bit faster than that. But the heart pumps; it generates a surge of pressure into the arteries. That highest pressure that is reached is called the systolic. That’s that upper number in the blood pressure. Then the heart relaxes, and when the heart relaxes, fully relaxes, the lowest pressure in your blood vessel is called the diastolic pressure. And so we’ll come up with something like 120 for the systolic, when the heart is pumping, over 80, the lower number, the diastolic, when the heart is resting.

John Bradshaw: What’s a good blood pressure for someone to have?

Dr. David DeRose: You know, this is a million-dollar question. Physicians are still debating what that magic number is. But let me tell you, we’ll cut right through, through all the confusion. In the book we show data, sound data that shows if you’re not on medication, getting your blood pressure at least as low as 110 systolic and 75 diastolic is optimal, if you’re not on medication.

John Bradshaw: Okay. So you mentioned medication. Medication is one way to lower undesirably high blood pressure, correct?

Dr. David DeRose: Correct.

John Bradshaw: Okay. Is that medication effective usually or ineffective?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, it’s an interesting question. The medications themselves typically are effective. But what we’re finding as we look at the research is if you follow people for just a year, many of them, with some of the blood pressure drugs, only 1 out of 4 people keep taking that drug for a full year.

John Bradshaw: Well, why would people stop?

Dr. David DeRose: Because of the side effects.

John Bradshaw: Okay. What are some of the side effects?

Dr. David DeRose: Some common side effects of common blood pressure drugs: frequent urination, cough, chronic cough, decreased energy level, decreased sexual performance, depression. I mean, the list is a staggering one, and people are impacted. I’ve seen patients who’ve gone, before coming to my office, gone to one drug after another after another, because, "Hey, I felt fine, doctor, but then they told me I had high blood pressure, and now I’m having all these side effects from the drugs".

John Bradshaw: So, then, we want to be able to get our blood pressure under control, keep it under control. And I think anyone would agree, I really do, I don’t think this is alarmist or anti-medicine. You’re not anti-medicine, are you?

Dr. David DeRose: Oh, most definitely not.

John Bradshaw: Okay, I don’t think it’s anti-medicine to say, let’s try to live without medications that you don’t need to take. First, it makes good financial sense. It has to make good physical sense. And if you can avoid, uh, undesirable side effects, you’re just a whole lot better off. So, let’s drill down. How do we get our blood pressure down if it’s up too high?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, sometimes the first step is medication, just to pick up on your last comment. If your pressure is 220 over 120, you know, look it. I don’t care what you do in this book, it’s not going to get your pressure down to 110 over 70 in a day. And when you’re running those 220 over 120 numbers, you are bombarding your body, and you’re at risk for a stroke.

John Bradshaw: Okay, let me ask this. I asked a question that I’m now putting on hold. Uh, what are the dangers of high blood pressure?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, the dangers, one that I’ve mentioned several times is stroke. And, uh, stroke is not just a killer; it’s a crippler. And, uh, and it, not just is a crippler, but can impair our cognitive abilities. Then there’s heart attack. There’s kidney failure. There is blindness. There is bulging of the blood vessels that can rupture; we call it aneurysms. All of these are on that list, and dementia is on the list as well.

John Bradshaw: Most people, I think, would say, "Oh, that will never happen to me".

Dr. David DeRose: Of course. And, uh, then it happens. And then it’s too late. So the whole message is, you’ve got to be serious about this silent killer.

John Bradshaw: This is something really where you need to be a little proactive, correct?

Dr. David DeRose: Most definitely. And here’s the shocking thing, John. Even if a person does not have blood pressure today, in the prime of life, in their 50s, early 60s, no high blood pressure, the data indicates that if you live into your 80s, 90 percent of people in those younger years will develop high blood pressure. We’ve all got to be concerned about it.

John Bradshaw: Okay. How do we get it down?

Dr. David DeRose: Okay, let’s talk other than medication. We’re focusing on natural therapies. We go through 10 steps. We call it "NO PRESSURE". We’re not shooting for a pressure of 0 over 0. That’s what we find in the morgue, okay?

John Bradshaw: Yeah, right.

Dr. David DeRose: But we’re looking at natural things that can lower blood pressure. Nutrition is the "N". "O": Optimal choice of beverages. "P": Physical activity. "R": Rest. "E": Environment. "S": Social Support. The other "S": Stress management. Then we talk about use of natural adjuncts, we talk about refraining from pressors, things that raise blood pressure, and then exercising faith in God. Those are the 10 key steps.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written. I’m John Bradshaw. My guest today is Dr. David DeRose from CompassHealth Consulting. Dr. DeRose, I’m glad you’re here, and one thing that I find interesting is you’re not only a physician, but a minister of the gospel as well.

Dr. David DeRose: I’ve had the privilege of serving in both those capacities, and, uh, it’s interesting to me to realize that Jesus, when He called people, when He commissioned, every commissioning service that Jesus had, when He sent out the 12, when He sent out the 70, even the great commission, especially if you put the great commission in Mark 16 alongside the one in Matthew 28, He always included healing along with teaching and preaching. So God’s given me the privilege of doing all three of those over the years.

John Bradshaw: You’ve written a book called "30 Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control," along with a couple of colleagues of yours, "The ‘No Pressure’ Solution". And, uh, in here there are many practical ways that a person can, uh, use to get their blood pressure down. We’ve already spoken about medication. That’s viable. But we know that medication and blood pressure medications have a lot of side effects.

Dr. David DeRose: That’s right.

John Bradshaw: So what can people do, like really do, attainable things, to help bring their blood pressure down?

Dr. David DeRose: One of the things that is often neglected in our environment is a, a kind of twins: rest and stress management. We devote separate sections in the book to both of these. But we find today, especially as we talk about this interface between spirituality and physical health, that many people are either cutting themselves short on rest, or they’re becoming overly stressed. And it’s amazing to me, from those dual perspectives of minister and physician, to realize the Bible has strategies, both Jesus offering His rest, Jesus offering us stress management: "My peace I give to you; my peace I leave with you". So these beautiful biblical truths actually interface with an optimal approach to high blood pressure.

John Bradshaw: How much rest should a person be getting?

Dr. David DeRose: If you look at the statistics, the average person does best with about eight hours of sleep a night.

John Bradshaw: And the average person is getting about how many hours of sleep?

Dr. David DeRose: It’s less than that. And unfortunately, many of us think because we can drive ourselves, we don’t need that much rest. I was under that delusion for a period of time in my life, John. And the interesting thing, if you’re driving yourself, even if you’re not using caffeine, and let’s face it; most people that are pushing themselves are resorting to caffeine. The way those things work is they ramp up the stress hormones, which ramps up the blood pressure.

John Bradshaw: Energy drinks have really pushed caffeine out onto the front line now. Do people know the dangers inherent in using those things, do you think?

Dr. David DeRose: It’s obvious to me they don’t. Caffeine is a pressor; that means it does raise blood pressure. It makes the blood more sticky. It actually does a host of things that really are undesirable, but it raises vigilance, especially if you’re fatigued. But it’s at a price. It’s not really giving you energy; it’s just whipping the body.

John Bradshaw: So people press themselves. Maybe they use caffeine. They go, go, go. I read recently about someone who says, "I get by on four hours sleep a night". There’s a price to pay for that, though, isn’t there?

Dr. David DeRose: Most definitely, and I can guarantee you that person cutting themselves short on sleep is worsening how insulin works in the body, raising stress hormone levels, and raising blood pressure, whether or not they have full-blown hypertension today or not.

John Bradshaw: Hmm. Okay, so, uh, what do you say to somebody who’s not getting enough rest? You say, "Get more rest," but they don’t. Uh, simple question: How does somebody get more rest?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, there’s a lot of strategies. We actually go through a whole chapter in the book dealing with this. One of the simple strategies that not everyone is ready for yet, but it’s actually called throwing away the alarm clock. And, uh, if you do that, it puts a little burden on you to get to bed early enough that you can wake up in time.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, I don’t think everybody’s ready for that. What’s something everybody’s ready for?

Dr. David DeRose: If you’re not ready to get rid of the alarm clock, at least start dialing back the time when you go to bed and taking time to wind down, biblical study, watching It Is Written, some great things you can do before going to bed.

John Bradshaw: Amen. I could agree with that. Okay, so rest is important in lowering blood pressure. Get more rest. That’s something everyone can do. What else?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, let’s talk a little bit more about the stress side of the equation. The analogy we use in the book to try to make it a little bit more graphic, I mean, stress often seems a bit nebulous. So we say, imagine walking into your bedroom and finding a ravenous lion waiting for you.

John Bradshaw: That would be stressful.

Dr. David DeRose: What do you do if there’s a lion in the bedroom? You can ignore it. You can run from it. You can fight it. And we use this as an analogy for how we deal with stressors. Some stressors we do need to eliminate.

John Bradshaw: Is it, is it easy to know which ones, do you think?

Dr. David DeRose: You know, this is where spiritual discernment comes in, John. You know, a lot of people underestimate how important prayer is. Uh, one of the routine things I do in my medical practice is pray with patients, if they’re receptive to that. Because I believe that God can guide us in making these important decisions.

John Bradshaw: Right. Okay, so, get a little more rest. Eliminate stressors out of your life. Okay. Those are fairly straightforward things that a person can do. Let’s keep on going down through the list of things that people can do to lower their blood pressure and therefore lower their risk of some catastrophic health event.

Dr. David DeRose: Let’s talk about one that many people, uh, their eyes kind of gloss over when we speak about this. We say, "Refraining from pressors". A lot of people say, "Well, what is a pressor"? It’s something that raises blood pressure.

John Bradshaw: And they would be drugs such as...?

Dr. David DeRose: They’d be drugs like Advil, like Nuprin, like Motrin, ibuprofen, Naprosyn, these common pain-relieving medications, many of them available over the counter. These drugs actually can raise blood pressure in some people as much as 10 or 15 points.

John Bradshaw: Do you have to consume a lot of that medication in order to get, see the blood pressure spike?

Dr. David DeRose: You don’t have to consume a lot. If you’re sensitive to these medications, they can be driving your blood pressure up.

John Bradshaw: Can a person find out if there’s a sensitivity? How do we know about this?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, one simple way to do it is just check your blood pressure more. If you find a day when you’re not taking these medications your pressure is running 140 over 80, and the next day when you’re taking the medication, it’s running 155 over 95, you can make the connection.

John Bradshaw: And that 15-point spike, that’s sufficient enough to stay away from?

Dr. David DeRose: Oh, John, just lowering the blood pressure a few points measurably decreases your risk of stroke and heart attack. It would save millions, literally, millions of dollars in medical expenses, thousands of lives a year, if we could just lower our blood pressure a few points as a population.

John Bradshaw: Just a few points?

Dr. David DeRose: Just a few points.

John Bradshaw: And getting more rest, doing something about the stress in your life and some of the pressors, that can lower your blood pressure just those few points?

Dr. David DeRose: Yeah, and I know as we’re talking about this, it can sound very, like, well, yeah, anybody can say, "Stop doing this," but what do I do in its place? We talk about natural things that you can do for pain, for example. One simple thing is turmeric, the herb turmeric, that yellow-orange spice.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Dr. David DeRose: Omega-3 fats, these natural fats, by the way, come only from plants, although fish can concentrate them. These are natural blood pressure-lowering compounds that also help with pain.

John Bradshaw: There are things to do. You don’t have to live a slave to elevated blood pressure, nor do you need to live with that cloud following you around, over your head, saying there’s a stroke on the way or some other terrible event further down the line. There’s a better way to live, it seems, when you embrace the principles of the Bible and the Bible’s, uh, prescription for good health. So, I’ll be back with Dr. DeRose, and we’ll have more in just a moment.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written. My guest is Dr. David DeRose from CompassHealth Consulting. We’re talking about a silent killer. High blood pressure kills millions of people and devastates lives and impacts lives in tremendously negative ways. Dr. DeRose, we've talked about some of the natural ways that people can get, get their blood pressure down. Medication is effective, but there are side effects, and many of them uncomfortable. Before I take this in a different direction with you, let’s get back to treating or looking after your blood pressure naturally. Easy, simple things that people can do. We’ve talked about some. Give me one or two more.

Dr. David DeRose: Well, one we can’t avoid speaking about is physical activity. Americans have, uh, neglected that for too long. Many are getting more interested in adding exercise or any type of activity to their program. But we really need to emphasize that because we’re still not doing all that well as a population.

John Bradshaw: What are some simple things that a person can do, your average couch potato who’s just not getting out enough? What do you say to that person to say, "Come on, you can do this, and here’s how"?

Dr. David DeRose: One of the things that we encourage in the book is setting reasonable goals. We actually don’t just talk about things to do. We actually help take people, if you will, by the hand and say, what can you do, reasonably? Look at your lifestyle. What can you commit to? If someone can only commit to five minutes of exercise a day, there’s actually research showing that as little as 30 minutes of exercise a week can measurably lower your blood pressure.

John Bradshaw: So start where you are and do what you can?

Dr. David DeRose: Exactly.

John Bradshaw: Do you think... well, perhaps the idea, too, then, is once somebody gets a little taste of this, they’re going to start to stretch and expand their, their, the time they spend in exercising.

Dr. David DeRose: And it often does happen. And at first you may not be ready to do that much. And if you’ve got questions, you know, I would tell patients, and we talk in the book, you know, if you’re at high risk, and we go through some questions, you may need to check with your physician first. But here’s what I say: You don’t need to call your doctor to see if you can walk around Walmart, okay? But you could walk instead of, uh, you know, riding that chair, or if you’re riding the chair, you know, get up for a few minutes and walk around, in addition.

John Bradshaw: I was with somebody recently doing something in an, in an official building, and we needed to go from where we were to an office. We walked over here; I followed, and there were several of us. She pressed the button; we went up an elevator two floors and walked over. And when we were done, she didn’t escort us down. We realized there’s a perfectly good staircase.

Dr. David DeRose: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Good example, isn’t it?

Dr. David DeRose: It’s a very good example.

John Bradshaw: Take the stairs.

Dr. David DeRose: These little things, they add up; that’s what the research shows.

John Bradshaw: Seems that if you do nothing, something bad’s going to happen. If you do something, you’ve, uh, evened the odds up.

Dr. David DeRose: You know, it’s very interesting, John. You’re right on target.

John Bradshaw: Let’s connect this back to the Bible. Uh, the body is God’s possession. So we have a, really a duty to preserve it. Also, how we do physically, and earlier you spoke about the frontal lobe. How we do physically impacts how we do spiritually. So connect this back to the Bible, this question of high blood pressure, taking care of one’s health.

Dr. David DeRose: Well, what I find fascinating, John, is Jesus, when He taught the people, He gave a blessing; He pronounced a blessing on things that were really counter-cultural. You know, "Blessed are the poor in spirit". "Blessed are those who mourn". "Blessed are the meek". We actually show how these virtues in the Bible that Jesus points us to, and that the Holy Spirit accomplishes in our life, are the very things that we need to keep us on track. The longest chapter in our book is the one dealing with spiritual health, because it is so powerful. If a person, even if they don’t know Jesus personally as their Savior, they can still benefit from the kind of principles that Jesus taught. So we’re actually sharing with people who are not Christians, and we’re saying, follow, in essence, biblical principles.

John Bradshaw: What are the studies telling us about the physical benefits of being in connection with God?

Dr. David DeRose: Actually, if you look at the research, research shows that when we fellowship with others in church community, we have less hospitalizations. We’re hospitalized for a shorter duration if we end in the, up in the hospital. We live longer. Our blood pressure tends to be lower. And it’s not just that corporate worship. It’s also our intrinsic spirituality: taking time for prayer, taking time for a devotional life. In fact, some of the research suggests that private relationship with our Creator is the most powerful.

John Bradshaw: When you think of high blood pressure, well, that word says it all: pressure. If you have high blood pressure, it seems to me you’re under pressure somewhere, or your body’s under pressure. And the Bible is all about coming into relationship with God and having that, that pressure take away, taken away, or that pressure borne, carried by Jesus. What does He say? "Come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". In the Ten Commandments, the fourth commandment deals with Sabbath rest, something many people have forgotten about or neglected. There’s something about a relationship with Jesus that is designed to see our stressors roll away. Jesus came that He would give us life, John 10, verse 10, and give it "more abundantly". So you’ve seen both sides of this, as a minister of the gospel and as a physician. Faith in Christ ultimately, if entered into with both eyes open, is the prescription for a healthy life in this world and in the world to come.

Dr. David DeRose: There’s no question. It’s so powerful. And you mentioned the Sabbath. We have actually research in the book from the Ansons in Israel, actually showing that the Sabbath has health-giving benefits.

John Bradshaw: There is life in Jesus Christ. God made us. The Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And as you benefit physically, you will benefit and thrive spiritually as well. We only get one go-around on this planet. I think it’s just wisdom, isn’t it, to think about what you can do to get the most out of your time here, not just in a self-centered way, but the better you do, the more service and the more faithful service you can do to God and others also.

Dr. David DeRose: You got it right on, John.

John Bradshaw: There you go. Dr. David DeRose, thanks so very much for joining me today. I appreciate it. Your book, "30 Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control," it is magnificent. I know this is going to be a successful book, and the principles in here, some of which we have shared today, will be the difference between life and death for many. Grab ahold of what God is sharing with you today and enjoy more life, longer life, healthier life and rejoice more in your friend and Savior, Jesus Christ.
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