High Blood Pressure
( Originally Published 1954 )
High blood pressure, as a disease, develops in the human body over a period of months, causing wear and tear on the organism. There is one type of high blood pressure which is caused entirely by nervous overstrain. This type of blood pressure is classed as nervous hypertension. The more serious type of high blood pressure is caused by actual degenerative organic disease of the cells of the arterial walls, of the heart muscle, of the liver, and of the kidneys. This type of blood pressure is classed as malignant hypertension.
And malignant it is. It is stubborn in its reaction to the methods of treatment that I have worked out over a period of more than twenty years. It is even more resistant to conventional medical treatment.
In ordinary medical procedure this disease has been treated by all kinds of drastic measures. The drugs that are usually used for the treatment of malignant hypertension have proved useless.
Surgical operation for severing the sympathetic nerve ganglia (sympatectomy) was, for a time, a popular and desperate recourse. This is now used less and less on the unfortunates who are afflicted by malignant hypertension, because the life expectancy of those who have undergone sympatectomy is considerably reduced. This last observation is based on a number of cases that I have seen. Patients who had undergone sympatectomy did not survive more than six to eight months.
In the last few years a diet has been publicized by some internists connected with Duke University in North Carolina. The "rice diet," as used by Dr. Kempner and others, has also proved less effective than its promoters claimed it to be.
I have had experience in observing many patients suffering from high blood pressure. Some of my patients were comparatively young. One male patient, age 23, had a condition of malignant hypertension with nephritis. His systolic pressure was 260; his diastolic pressure 160. This type of malignant hypertension in a 23-year-old man certainly is a dangerous condition. His life expectancy was very precarious. Never the less, the young man responded to dietetic treatment better than he did to the various drugs that had been prescribed by some of the best internists connected with one of the great hospitals of New York City.
Another patient, a woman of 26, suffering from Bright's disease, traveled all the way from Salmon Arm, British Columbia, to my Health Rest to be under my care. The blood pressure of this patient was within the same range as that of thin young man cited above. Miss V. K. responded very remarkably to my regimen.
My treatment excludes drugs. The treatment in general, as well as some specific cases, will be discussed below.
The life expectancy of high blood pressure cases is increased with the age of the patient. A person who has high blood pressure at the age of 60 or 70 may expect to live longer with it than a person in the 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s.
This disease, whether it is of the comparatively safe type (nervous hypertension) or the more malignant type, cannot be treated success-fully while the patient remains up and about his or her usual business. Nervous hypertension causes an increase in the systolic pressure only. The diastolic pressure is usually within normal range. Normal blood pressure at any age should not be above 120 systolic and 80 diastolic. Nervous hypertension will be reduced to normal, from 200 to about 120, within a matter of two weeks of bedrest in conjunction with the right diet.
The right diet for high blood pressure must exclude cooked foods—even cooked fruits. The so-called Kempner rice diet consists mainly of rice and cooked fruit sweetened with sugar. This is a bad mixture for anybody in any type or stage of disease.
The malignant type of high blood pressure in young or older individuals may require several weeks before a change for the better in the systolic pressure takes place. The diastolic pressure is equally resistant, even to my dietary procedures, but it is even more resistant to drugs and to surgery. Those patients who have come to me for treatment have, in most instances, been under ordinary orthodox medical care.
In order to treat the patient successfully, any patient who suffers from high blood pressure, it is necessary to enforce complete bed-rest. It is also necessary to eradicate the bad habits that ordinary doctors condone. In ordinary medical practice high blood pressure patients are permitted to "take it easy," to "cut down on smoking," to "cut down on coffee drinking," to "eat white meat instead of red meat." No animal meat or cadaverous substance is of any benefit to the sick—or for that matter, to the well.
High blood pressure sufferers who are permitted by their doctors to carry on their business, die while they are on their feet. The chief of police of my little town, Nanuet, died at the age of 51 or 52. He might have lived had his physicians taken him off his job several months or several weeks before the end. Regenerative treatment that would remake the arteries, the heart, the kidneys and the liver must exclude such poisons as coffee, tobacco, meat, overstrain and over-fatigue.
The high blood pressure patient must be treated to eliminate from the body the causes that give him or her the subjective symptoms of this disease. Pain is not always one of the symptoms. People are, as a rule, more alarmed by pain than by other signs such as shortness of breath, pressure over the chest, tiredness of the brain, dimness of vision, lack of strength, poor circulation of the blood, numbness, and chilliness of the extremities.
Cold hands and cold feet often are two important symptoms that are found in association with this disease. In ordinary medical practice the patient who suffers from cold extremities gets no prescription such as an electric pad to warm up the limbs. Yet this simple remedy is very important. Keeping the feet and hands warm by means of artificial heat will make the patient comfortable and will therefore help nature to bring about regenerative or curative changes within the body organism. Sufferers from essential or malignant hypertension, in many cases, develop the complication of cerebral hemorrhage. This would occur less frequently if the feet and hands were kept warm. The brain would then be less congested.
Life may be lengthened by a strict bed-rest regime which includes proper attention devoted toward keeping the body passively in motion. The osteopathic manipulative treatment is a very effective and potent aid to the bed-rest and food regimen. The osteopathic treatment relaxes the patient. Nervous tension is reduced. Organic regenerative changes are a natural sequence.
My regimen for the treatment of high blood pressure consists of making a forced invalid of the patient until the brain is clear, until the body is so energetic in the lying-down position that the patient feels like running! The head and eyes must be free from pain and fatigue. This remarkable change cannot occur while the patient is prescribed drugs and ordinary medical diets that include hodge-podge mixtures such as cooked fruits, cooked vegetables, and the other eatables that are included in ordinary medical dietaries for high blood pressure cases. Even if the diets are "salt-free," and "egg-free," they are still futile.
The sufferer from high blood pressure must be put on the kind of food that will bring about intensive elimination from the cells and the fluids of accumulated metabolic wastes. I have used a raw-food dietary which is the only type of dietary that can bring about remarkable changes from disease symptoms to normal health. This can happen only when the sufferer is kept for a long time on a fruit diet and very little else. The fruits must be raw and fresh. The sub-acid fresh fruits should be the main staples when they can be obtained —apricots, peaches, cherries, and the citrus fruits such as pineapples, oranges, and grapefruits. Perseverance with a fruit diet for several weeks works wonders. Not only does the blood pressure come down, it stays down.
During this regime, conversation and visiting should be indulged in to a minimum. Talking is a waste of energy. Entertaining kind people who think it is a good deed to visit the sick is also quite a drain of energy on the patient. A brief visit by a friend or relative, lasting a few minutes, is perfectly sound and safe. Long visits wear out the sick with any disease.
The sufferer from high blood pressure must cultivate an attitude of self-sufficiency. Mature individuals should be able to enjoy their own company. Even devoted relatives, good husbands or wives, may be causing wear and tear on the energy of the high blood pressure sufferer without ill intentions. No harm is meant by good and de-voted loved ones, but they shut their eyes to reality in many instances.
Families of high blood pressure sufferers should be seriously concerned with the problem. The sufferer must wisely retire from social life before it is too late. A stroke is, in most cases, an end-result of malignant hypertension. The person who gets a stroke has been given notice by the suffering body for many months before the tragic climax.
It seems to be in accord with nature for a human individual to accept suffering and to ignore it. Even when people know the dangers signalized by their symptoms, many of them are too foolish to call a halt before it is too late. They indulge in wishful thinking, in foolish planning to do something later, tomorrow, next month, or next year.... It is never too soon to do something right now, today, for an aching, sickened body.
The high blood pressure sufferer must be willing to accept en-forced invalidism in order to cure this condition and to ensure good health and dear life. It is very simple to follow the fruit diet routine—and it is safe. Of course one must have service. The food must be brought to the bedside. A good attendant is a great help. If the individual sufferer does not have an ideal home environment for taking a peaceful, quiet fruit-diet regime, it is better to go to an institution that will provide the proper environment and management.
One must cultivate daily eating and living as a fine art. Gluttony must be avoided. While fruits can help the body to burn up wastes that cause arteriosclerotic hypertension, or hypertension of nervous origin, it can do so only if the correct relationship is worked out between the body and food intake under given conditions.
The individual must be comfortable. A good appetite is necessary for eating fruit. It must be taken with relish. No food should be taken merely because it may "do some good." Food may do harm when it is eaten while a person is tired or in pain.
Therefore, it is obvious that our fruit regime is alternated with Periods of fasts. Meals must be omitted for a day or two before fruits are taken, or before the body can utilize them ideally. Oftentimes when the body is sick it may react badly after a night's rest. A person may wake up with a headache. It is a mistake to take food while suffering from a headache. It is a mistake for high blood pressure sufferers to drink coffee. Yet few of the sick are advised by conventional doctors to give up ordinary eating and living habits.
It is true that "a salt-free" diet is advocated for high blood pressure. This is not strict enough to make a radical change for the better. The so-called "rice diet," consisting mainly of rice and stewed fruits, is also a poor choice as concerns regenerative effects on the sick body.
In high blood pressure, the kidneys are involved in many cases. There may be a generalized inflammation, or nephritis. This disease, when prolonged, causes the degenerative type of high blood pressure and, of course, the entire circulatory system becomes affected by sclerosis. The brain, the liver, the heart, and the blood vessels through-out the body are altered structurally from healthy to diseased. The reader can readily see why this condition requires painstaking per-severance with a very strict plan of treatment. Since there are so many sufferers from high blood pressure in all walks of life, a radical change is indeed required in order to prevent this disease as well as to cure it.
In order to prevent this ailment, it is necessary to eat and live right before one gets sick, when one is young. If young people were health-conscious and lived correctly, instead of dissipating their health and energy recklessly and foolishly, they would get more out of life. They should give up smoking, late hours and other excesses. A healthful diet is also more economical in cost than conventional disease-causing mixed dietaries.
Those who are already ill with high blood pressure should not be sorry for themselves, but should have the courage to do the right thing, even though they may be considered selfish by friends and relatives. They should eliminate disease-building habits, even in face of opposition or complacency.
In addition to the rest-cure regime, osteopathic treatment administered daily is of very great benefit because it relaxes the patient and helps to normalize the blood circulation. It also helps to relieve nerve tension. Osteopathic treatment is a very definite contributing curative aid in the relief and cure of high blood pressure!
At this point I want to leave an optimistic thought with those to whom the above lines carry a personal message. Health can be regained. The price one must pay is never too high, for life can be beautiful when one knows how to cherish and love it. The fine art of correct living brings good health to the body and good thinking and living to the fullest of individual capacity.
A number of case histories will now be discussed in detail.
In the case history of the young man with nephritis, mentioned above, the patient walked around sick, not even realizing that he was critically ill until he was examined by the draft board doctors. During that physical examination it was discovered that the young man was seriously sick with arteriosclerotic disease. The boy's one other symptom was severe anemia.
Before the young man came under my care he underwent a very thorough clinical study at one of the large and well-known New York City hospitals. Among other forms of treatment, he was given blood transfusions regularly once a month. Besides blood transfusions for his anemia, he was fed liver and liver extracts by injection. His blood pressure remained high and the blood picture did not improve to any degree. Other severe symptoms that he suffered from were drowsiness and weakness. He looked pale, almost white. His weight was pretty normal for his height.
The young man was under my care for a period of four weeks. In fact, I never accept a patient under my professional care for less than four weeks. This basic rule was impressed upon me by Dr. J. H. Tilden, from whom I learned more than from any other medical great thinker and teacher Young L. J. made rapid progress under my care.
My treatment was simpler than any he had had before. I cut out all the drugs that had been given to him for his high blood pressure and his heart. His enlarged heart extended over an area of about two inches downward and to the side. It had a pretty good compensatory mechanism for his general symptom-complex.
He came under my care in mid-summer. He was assigned to a well-ventilated sunny room with an open balcony. His diet was at once changed to fresh raw fruit juices and raw vegetable juices, excluding al. other foods. Moreover, he was allowed to sleep late because he did not feel like waking up at ordinary breakfast time. I allow all my patients to sleep when they feel like sleeping, regardless of meal time or treatment time.
A blood count was taken which showed a typical picture of not-too-severe anemia. The red cell count was about 3,500,000 and the white count was about 6,000. The hemoglobin was about 60 per cent.
On my dietary treatment—which consisted the first two weeks of fresh fruit juices such as grapefruit juice and orange juice and green raw vegetable juices with some additional raw fruits and berries—the blood picture improved to 90 per cent in every way.
The family of the young man was naturally impressed and quite amazed that such a miracle had not happened while he was under treatment in the X Center in New York City. They took the report of my laboratory to their New York City specialist, a well-known man in the field of internal medicine. This doctor even condescended to write a letter to me asking what type of diet had made such "remarkable changes" in the young man's condition. L. J.'s blood pressure also was reduced to about 175 during the first two weeks of rest, fruit and fruit-juice dietetic treatment.
L. J. also received a daily osteopathic treatment. He was also given two enemas a day for the first week. After that time his bowels moved freely without any enemas.
After two weeks of this potent dietary treatment, L. J. felt more energetic and his color changed from white to pink. He acquired a sun-tan. He acquired a new ambition to play ball. This he was not allowed to do because his heart required perfect rest in order that it be regenerated. Another two weeks of treatment brought the inclusion of raw vegetable salad in his diet, a pint of milk a day, and (once a day) steamed vegetables with baked potato or steamed brown rice. L. J. was not permitted any eggs because of his generalized arteriosclerotic condition.
With the additional food his blood condition did not improve any further but it remained at the same improved level. My recommendation to the family was to let the young man remain for six weeks under my treatment, to which he was responding so well. The sick body of such a young person can respond more easily to a type of treatment that tends to make morbid structures over into normal healthy ones.
Unfortunately, the family of that patient had a strong fixation on and faith in their medical-center specialist. They promised to bring L. J. back after consulting their specialist. They did not bring him back. He was readmitted to the medical center for more transfusion, more meat, and he died within another month.
A more fortunate outcome can be reported for my case from British Columbia. Miss S. is still under my supervision by correspondence. This patient is now 28 years of age. She is energetic enough to attend dances on Saturday evenings—something she could not do before my treatment by diet and other methods.
Miss S.'s case was similar to L. J.'s, except that she also had bronchitis with severe cough and discharge from the bronchial tubes. This patient was at my Health Rest for six weeks. During this period the bronchial condition cleared up almost entirely. Her blood picture was good, that is, it improved from about 60 per cent to 85 per cent. Her blood pressure went down to 150-100 from 230-130.
The important clinical facts regarding the urinary picture of this patient, and also that of L. J., must be stressed at this point. There was a severe albuininuria in each case (four plus). In both cases the urine showed such pronounced improvement that at the end of four weeks there was only a "faint trace" of albumin. Miss S. was given a set of dietary instructions, among other instructions for daily hygiene and activities, which she still carries out, according to her periodic reports.
This patient was given a very pessimistic prognosis by her previous physicians. Among other things, her doctors advised her against getting married. My advice to Miss V. S. was to maintain her good efforts toward regenerating and rejuvenating her arteries and kidneys. Perhaps at the age of 30 she would be safely well and, at that time, marriage might not be harmful.
A few more cases of high blood pressure will be described. One case was that of Mrs. A. S., age 46, whose blood pressure trouble was nervous hypertension. Mrs. S. was a health-minded person. She was the mother of four children and the wife of a husky 200-pounder. She used to come to the Health Rest for frequent short vacations. Because she was a good acquaintance of mine, I deviated from my rule and accepted her for periodic short vacations. I tried, however, to persuade Mrs. S. that one full four-week period would be better than a dozen long weekends.
During her weekends her husband would join her for part of her stay. Although I tried very hard, I failed to impress Mr. and Mrs. S. that it was important for her to be under strict treatment in order to bring her systolic pressure down from 200 to 110 or 120 since her diastolic pressure was around 80.
This type of blood pressure is a definite index to the body's condition. The heart and other vital organs, the liver, and the kidneys, are not degenerated by sclerosis. This type of blood pressure, being that of nervous hypertension, responds to complete physical rest. In fact, every time Mrs. S. came for three or four days her blood pressure would go down to 140 or 150.
The sad end of this case was that Mrs. S. died while on her feet in her husband's factory. She might be alive today had she taken constructive advice and given up her family obligation and other self-destructive strenuous activities.
The next case, that of Mrs. J. M., was similar to that of Mrs. S. She took advice and is in perfectly good health today because she took a full summer at the Health Rest to recover her health. Her blood pressure, her general health and her strength are now good. She has given up eating meat of any kind. A balanced vegetarian diet, including one egg and one glass of milk a day, keeps this person in normal weight and good health.
Of course, her living habits include an hour rest period between breakfast and the noon meal, and an hour or two hours rest in bed between noon time and evening. Simple hygienic daily habits of living and eating, avoiding other stress on the digestive organs and on the nervous system, are the best and most important rules of normal health.
Another important case will be described. This case has been under my treatment for over seven years. Mrs. F. D. came under my care at the age of 69. Her systolic pressure was 230, while her diastolic pressure was about 70.
Mrs. D. had a chronic heart lesion. She had valvular disease with a mitral regurgitant murmur. Mrs. D. also had insufficient urinary out-put and was on frequent mercuhydrin medication. This drug was given to her twice or three times a week by the physicians who treated her before she came to the Health Rest. She also suffered from sub-acute arthritis of the fingers, the hips and the feet. In addition, she was badly constipated and had bleeding hemorrhoids.
Mrs. D. brought with her a satchel full of medicines for her arthritic pains, for her high blood pressure, for her heart; and she also brought a full supply of mercuhydrin ampules. She had a couple of bottles of barbiturates and vitamin tablets. Her diet, recommended by her home doctors, included some meat and eggs. It was supposed to be "salt-free." Mrs. F. D. is now 77 years of age and I feel impelled to believe she has lived that long because she has been intelligent enough to give up her medicines.
When Mrs. D. was brought by her two daughters, I explained to them that their mother had been on drugs too long. Since her condition had not improved, why not try a new and different, even if radical, approach? I promised the young women that I would watch their mother carefully, and if and when medicine of any kind was required, I would administer such faithfully.
The patient herself, fortunately, was and still is very alert, very intelligent—a completely modern person. Mrs. F. D. was told on the first day at the Health Rest that she had much to gain by my treatment, in order to enjoy life to the fullest possible extent. She agreed to cooperate.
I forthwith put her on a diet consisting of grapefruit in juice form, diluted with water, 50-50. This was given to her four times a day, freshly made in each instance. She was also allowed to eat fresh-cut grapefruit out of the shell as often as she had a desire for food. Another food that was allowed her was fresh raw pineapple—several slices a day, or as much as she could eat with appetite. No other food was permitted. Twice a day Mrs. D. was also fed the juice of half a lemon in a cup of hot or cold water.
She was also given two enemas a day. The enema consisted of a quart of lukewarm water, a heaping tablespoonful of Epsom salts, a heaping tablespoonful of urea and the juice of a lemon.
In my practice the lemon juice in the enema has proved itself an effective stimulant to bring about an evacuation from the bowels. Sick individuals are, at times, so sluggish that when they are given enemas the water does not evacuate. Instead, it absorbs into the blood together with other fecal sewer waste. The urea and epsom salts were given as medicines because both these drugs have diuretic properties.
Mrs. D.'s liver was, on her first examination, enlarged about three fingers, and two days before she had had her last injection of mercuhydrin by her family physician. Despite the fact that her fluid intake under Health Rest treatment was restricted to about a quart in twenty-four hours, the patient began to void about three pints to two quarts a day. She had a considerable amount of accumulated fluid in her tissues, which was effectively removed by the Epsom salts and urea by rectum and the exclusive fruit and fruit-juice diet.
This patient responded remarkably to the fruit diet, rectal medication and enemas. Her arthritic pains subsided. No medicine of any kind was demanded by the patient for her pain. She had brought aspirin and codeine, among other medicines. Her doctors' advice had been to take aspirin every two hours and codeine three or four times a day. Now she neither demanded nor required these drugs.
No other medicine was given to Mrs. D. because she was soon convinced that the Health Rest food, the nursing care, and the medical management and treatment were helping her to get better. Besides the two daily enemas the nursing care included a sponge bath once a day. A short-wave treatment was given to the lower back and to the hands and feet every day. A short general osteopathic treatment was also given every day to loosen up restricted muscles and joints that could easily be loosened up at the bedside.
At the end of three months Mrs. F. D. was able to move her fingers freely because the arthritic inflammation had gone from them. One of her daughters came into my office to congratulate me on this score. Mrs. S. was thrilled that her mother could thread a needle, which she had not been able to do for over two years because her fingers were immobilized by arthritis and pain.
Another interesting phenomenon occurred in this case. She was white-haired when she came and the top of her head was almost bald. She had only sparse strands of hair on her scalp. Surprising as it may seem, it is a fact that Mrs. F. D. grew a new crop of hair. I do not claim to be an authority on the cure of baldness but this is what happened in this instance.
A similar phenomenon also happened in the case of a young patient, age 32. Having leukemia, among other things, she had lost quite a lot of hair from the top of her head. This condition was also corrected by my dietary treatment.
On several occasions, during Mrs. D's period at the Health Rest, she had come close to dying. One Sunday afternoon her birthday was celebrated with a party—cake, cold chicken, and brandy that her daughters and sons-in-law and a dozen other relatives brought from home were served. Mrs. D. enjoyed full portions of everything. That same Sunday, about midnight, I was called to give her emergency treatment. She suffered from acute heart failure. Her chest was congested; she was wheezing and cyanotic. A moist ice-cold towel to her head, one to her chest, and a half c.c. of adrenalin were quickly ad-ministered. The adrenalin was repeated an hour later. Mrs. D. came through in good shape and was kept in bed on a strict diet of fruits for one week.
There were two or three other such emergencies that occured, each time due to the fact that the patient became over-excited—because of an argument with one of the other patients or through over-eating forbidden foods.
The sick, if they want to live without having "attacks," must respect their bodily limitations. They must also respect their emotional and physical limitations. Mrs. D. was not allowed to walk more than about 50 feet from her room throughout her seven-year period under my care. When she walked any longer distance she became short of breath. Why take chances? She learned to respect and obey these simple important health rules.
Her diet was a maintenance diet. Breakfast consisted of one glass of pure fruit juice and one glass of hot water with the juice of half a lemon. She was allowed honey to sweeten her lemonade. Fresh raw fruit was permitted any time between breakfast and lunch. No cereal, no eggs, no milk in the morning. These customary foods were tried with no good results. They were forbidden.
The patient herself experimented with more foods than a fruit breakfast, but she was forced to eliminate them. Her blood pressure would rise quickly when she took more to eat than her body could utilize.
The noon meal included a small raw vegetable salad and about six ounces of freshly made raw vegetable juice. The juice consisted of carrots, celery, lettuce and pineapple. A baked potato or a slice of vegetable nut-meat, in addition to two steamed green vegetables, was her luncheon. Raw fruit for dessert and occasionally a piece of home-made pie was allowed. The evening meal consisted of one egg, one glass of milk or buttermilk, a small green raw salad, one cup of hot vegetable soup without salt or a cup of postum.
This proved to be a good maintenance diet for this case, as for many others, after a prolonged or necessary period of the fruit-juice and vegetable-juice diet.
It was also found imperative to put Mrs. D. on periodic fruit fasts. Her body was evidently too old to stay at the same blood pressure level. The blood pressure would, at times, jump from 135 to 175. This happened after a month of regular eating. Several days of the fruit-juice diet would at once bring the blood pressure down. During the fruit-juice diet, Mrs. D. would also rest in bed, or on an outdoor cot whenever the weather permitted.
Her constipation was not entirely cured by the dietary treatment, as has happened in the case of many other patients, both young and old. An occasional dose of senna tea was given her before bedtime. She did not complain of bleeding from her "piles" and she preferred the senna by mouth to an enema. I also found it necessary to use diuretic medication every evening in order to keep this patient fluid-free in the tissues and the liver. A tablespoonful of urea was taken by mouth every evening, before retiring, in an ounce of water, and was quickly followed by the juice of a grapefruit or lemon juice in a little water.
Urea, as a medicine to dehydrate the body, is an old drug. It is still superior to the newer preparations because it does not have any severe effect on the patient. In my experience with very sick heart cases and kidney cases, I found that urea is preferred by patients who are on mercuhydrin. The latter is used and needed in extreme dropsical cases. When they arrive at the Health Rest, very ill and crowded with food waste and retained fluid wastes in the body organs and tissues, I use mercuhydrin as a drastically needed drug.
During my years of using foods as medicine, I discovered that there are some foods that are particularly valuable because they have diuretic properties. The most potent diuretic foods are: fresh raw pineapple and slightly steamed green squash. The writer considers this a most important dietetic discovery! It may well be accepted by the doctors, young and old, who practice in the field of chronic diseases or internal medicine.