Chinese Medicine Approaches To Diabetes, Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, And Flu

Long before the advent of Western medicine, Chinese medicine has already reached its Golden Age. These days, illnesses such as diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. rely on blood tests and sophisticated scientific instruments for monitoring and detection. Can Chinese herbal wisdom be used to treat these ailments? Do hundreds of year old natural remedies have a role to play? If the herbalist knows how, of course, the answer is yes. Although it may not be a direct and easy way, nature always provides us with the things we need.

We will attempt to explain how the transformation can be done. With his keen knowledge of herbs, the herbalist needs to make use good reasoning and superior skills to make the herbs work in the modern world. This may necessitate a knowledge of the nature of the illness, and equally important, the adaptation and cultural background of Chinese medicine. Let us use the following examples:

Diabetes

People during old times did not have the luxury of indoor plumbing – there were no flushing toilets at that time and excrements and urines were gathered and picked up every morning from each home and converted into fertilizers. People always saw ants around their urine containers in some homes of people with diabetes. This gave rise to the term “sugar urine” because everybody knew ants loved sugar. Eventually, people were able to identify people with diabetes and their symptoms. The cause or causes of diabetes, however, was still vaguely understood save for it being associated with issues in the kidneys and to sugar.

The Chinese herbal plan of treatment for diabetes is to regulate the water content, increase blood flow, burn off the excess sugar, nourish the blood, and reinforce the kidneys, since diabetes means sugar content in the urine.

Cholesterol

Recently discovered by modern scientific methods, cholesterol is a substance in the body that has no equivalent in classical Chinese medicine in Austin. Without the benefit of blood tests, the Chinese could not have possibly known that cholesterol existed in the body at that time. This is the reason there is no herb for cholesterol in the dictionaries of herbs, except in advertising and rumors. Presently, has there been any lab test that can verify an herb for cholesterol?

The appropriate plan of treatment for cholesterol is to strengthen the liver and the stomach with the correct herbs so that cholesterol can be more effectively broken down and pushed out of the body since most cholesterol is derived from fat and the food we eat. This strategy depends on certain herbs and a couple of major organs to do the work.

High Blood Pressure

Nowadays, a person’s blood pressure can be easily measured with a simple modern instrument. During ancient time, people depended on the feeling of a “swollen head” or a “rushing pulse” which were very unreliable. The reality that high blood pressure can quickly lead to a stroke was not well understood. This is the reason the Chinese has the term “shong feng”, which literally means being stricken by the wind. This means that during ancient times, the Chinese weren’t sure about what caused a stroke. Using the wind factor to denote a stroke was not only highly inaccurate, it was puzzling and convenient as well.

The aim of high blood pressure herbal therapy is to regulate water in the blood, boost blood flow, and relax the body especially the liver. There are various herbs for application when the right plan has been defined this way.

Flu

Around 200 A.D., the notion of contagious disease was first discussed. Unfortunately, the concept of the flu virus never arose in classical Chinese medicine without the help of the microscope, which was invented much later. “Gan mao”, which means catching something dangerous is the Chinese term for flu.

For a long time, the Chinese were able to understand the flu quite well by carefully observing the symptoms and of the disease even without being aware of the existence of the flu virus. They were also able to devise a plan of treatment for the disease, which has shown to be extremely effective. By removing all the “disease poisons” from the body, Chinese herbal therapy for cough and flu can help people get well within a few days. In comparison, Western medicine solely relies on antibiotics to destroy the flu virus. We all are in agreement that the body has the ability to kill the virus because of our powerful immune system. Should we aid the body in killing the virus or should we destroy the virus for the body? It all depends on the kind of treatment plan you want to take.

Chinese Medicine Syndromes Associated with High Blood Pressure

Acupuncture for high blood pressure treatment is one alternative way of treating this serious cardiovascular condition. Acupuncture, is actually the most commonly used form of complimentary healthcare treatment used by both doctors and practitioners to lower hypertension.

Acupuncture is slowly being accepted by Western medical practitioners as a conventional type of health care because of its constant and proven rate of success in treating several kinds of illnesses. In fact, its success has generated a lot of interest in integrating it into the regimen of treatment options that patients can avail of.

Acupuncture for high blood pressure treatment in Vancouver is a drug-free modality that uses the body’s own psychological, energetic, and physical abilities. Clinical studies have proven that acupuncture is more aggressive than any single- drug treatment or lifestyle change.

Acupuncture is primarily grounded on a Chinese medical tradition known as TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are two specific ways in which Chinese medicine addresses high blood pressure. One way is to treat the symptoms head on and the other way is to treat the patient holistically.

In order to resolve high blood pressure symptoms, the acupuncturist will need to insert needles in pressure points as soon as a hypertension diagnosis has been made. These pressure points are activated by the needles resulting in the lowering of the elevated blood pressure.

In a lot of instances, however, the patient’s concrete or pre- conditions are not taken into account. Pressure points Lu 11 (Shaoshang), St 16 (Hsu San Li), and St 9 (Renying) are selected. To treat the patient as a whole, the practitioner needs to apply extreme caution.

Treating high blood pressure with acupuncture can be quite challenging. The treatment is based on differentiation of syndromes. Signs and symptoms of a condition are unique from person to person. Diagnostic procedures such as tongue and pulse examinations are used and their results are analyzed. These are required to identify the nature and type of the condition in order to determine the correct type of procedure to treat it.

Acupuncture for high blood pressure treatment and TCM see hypertension as having four possible types of syndromes:

Syndrome of Yin and Yang Deficiency

This syndrome is marked by a thin and taut pulse, tinnitus, pale tongue with white coating, tiredness, palpitations, and dizziness. These are all caused by yin and yang insufficiency in the body.

Syndrome of Yin Deficiency of the Kidney and Liver

This pattern of disharmony is marked by a taut and thin pulse, dry and red tongue with little coating, sleeplessness, weakness of the legs and waist, dizziness, and an uncomfortable and dry feeling in the eyes.

Syndrome of Excess Yang and Deficient Yin

Characterized by symptoms such as a rapid pulse, palpitations, how sensations in the soles and palms, dry mouth, dizziness, and headache.

Syndrome of Excess Liver Yang

A condition characterized by symptoms such as restlessness, bitter taste in the mouth, flushed eyes and face, headache, and dizziness.

Acupuncture for High Blood Pressure

It has been established by US health organizations like the National Institutes for Health and the Center for Disease Control that one in three Americans are sick with high blood pressure.  The fact about high blood pressure is that it does not manifest a lot of symptoms, symptoms that may remain undetected for a lot of years.  High blood pressure that has not been diagnosed is dangerous since it can result in devastating consequences like kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. So, if you have a strong suspicion that you are showing signs of high blood pressure, you need to have yourself evaluated by your doctor as soon as possible.

High Blood Pressure Treatments

There are a few treatments to handle high blood pressure with a drug regimen being the most commonly used and being the most effective for a lot of high blood sufferers in controlling their problem.  Medications can decrease effectively, rapidly and substantially one’s blood pressure; however, as with all kinds of pharmaceutical drugs, takers may experience some forms of side effects.  A growing number of high blood pressure patients are now seeking alternative treatment to avoid the intake of prescription drugs. One of the most effective alternative treatments for high blood pressure is acupuncture.

An Alternative Treatment Method – Acupuncture for High Blood Pressure

Treating high blood pressure using acupuncture is a very sensible idea to consider since it has been used for thousands of years in China in treating dozens of health conditions including high blood pressure with great success.  Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, sterilized needles at strategic points in the body in order to treat illnesses and remove pain.

Although the exact mechanics of how acupuncture works are a mystery to Western medical science, acupuncturists have been using this therapy for a wide array of sicknesses ranging from anxiety and stress reduction to infertility and addiction.

Newly done clinical studies have shown that acupuncture for high blood pressure basically works by altering the brain’s control of the respiratory system. This means that the requirement for oxygen is reduced enabling the heart not to work as hard causing the person’s blood pressure to decrease. One study has shown that acupuncture for high blood pressure is only effective when the treatment uses small electrical pulses.

These studies, however, merely involved animal experiments but the succeeding studies will be about acupuncture for high blood pressure tested in human volunteers.

An important thing that needs to be determined by acupuncturists is what parts of the body should the needles be inserted. In many studies regarding high blood pressure treatment, the acupuncture points selected were in the forearm and wrists of the human subjects.  However, anecdotal evidence has shown that acupuncture for high blood pressure is equally effective when placed in other parts of the body.

You need to talk to your doctor for advice about natural forms of treatment that you can try to help lower your blood pressure. These may include dietary modifications that may involve avoiding salt or at least limiting intake of it since salt plays a huge factor in elevating a person’s blood pressure and eating more vegetables and fruits.  Treating high blood pressure using acupuncture needs to be done as a complement to a more natural and definitive formula to control and lessen the problem. Be that as it may, high blood pressure treatment using acupuncture is an additional approach in fighting this extremely dangerous but very common disease. Regardless of what treatment you use to regulate your blood pressure, you need to make sure you avoid the things that exacerbate this life-threatening problem.

Eva Paglialonga is a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist in Miami, FL and the medical director of Needles and Moxa Wellness Center.

High Blood Pressure – Tests and Diagnosis

A blood pressure test is the best way to diagnose hypertension. This test is performed a number of times to verify that the test results are correct. High results will require you to return for future visits to monitor your blood pressure over certain periods of time.

If you keep on getting blood pressure results of 140/90 mmHg and above per test, your physician can then give you a diagnosis of high blood pressure. If you keep on registering BP rates of 130/80 mmHg and above and if you suffer from chronic kidney disease or diabetes, you can be diagnosed with high blood pressure as well.

Testing for How your Blood Pressure

Test for your blood pressure is performed in the clinic or the doctor’s office.

In preparing for the test the patient must:

  • Sit for about 5 minutes prior to the test. When you move it causes a temporary rise in your blood pressure
  • Urinate or pass stool before the test. Your blood pressure may not register your right BP if your bladder is full
  • Abstain from smoking tobacco or drinking coffee half an hour before the test. Smoking or dinking alcohol will temporarily elevate your blood pressure

Your blood pressure is measured by your doctor or nurse using a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope and a BP gauge. The nurse or doctor will measure your BP with you lying down and with the BP cuff on your arm. If you want to know what your reading is, you need to ask the nurse or doctor since most of the time, they will not tell it to you.

As you age and/or if your body size grows your BP rises as well. Babies often have low BP rate while older teenagers will exhibit similar BP rates as adults.

A child will be diagnosed with high blood pressure (HBP) is the child’s BP rate is higher than the average rate for kids his age, height and gender.

You may also need to go through other types of blood tests like tests to determine creatinine, blood urea and electrolyte levels. Other BP tests can include

  • Urinalysis to test for presence of hormones and electrolytes
  • Tests to measure hormones from thyroid or adrenal gland
  • Lipid profile to test for presence of different kinds of cholesterol
  • Eye test – This test uses an ophthalmoscope to scan for ocular impairment
  • Ultrasound and CT scan – These tests are done on the kidneys and abdomen respectively to if these organs have been damaged by high blood pressure (HBP) or if there is enlargement any of the adrenal glands and the kidneys

The following tests are done to assess any damage to the blood vessels or the heart:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – An ECG records the heart’s electrical activity to quantitavely assess any damages to the muscles of the heart caused by HBP. These damages can involve HBP complications, hypertrophy or thickening of the cardiac muscle/wall or heart attack.
  • Echocardiogram – This is a type of ultrasound exam that focuses on the function of the heart.  Sound waves from the ECG machine can act like a camera and take a picture of the heart as it beats and the picture images are sent to a video monitor. The echo can see if your heart has issues like heart valve malfunction, blood clots, problems in the heart wall’s movement and cardiomegaly or heart enlargement.  An electrocardiogram can also measure heart muscle strength (or ejection fraction).
  • X-rays – These can give a doctor a good assessment of the size of your heart but it does not give more specifics to your condition the same as an echocardiogram can give, that can look inside the heart.
  • Doppler ultrasound – This test is to determine if there is blood flow going on through the arteries at pulse points in your feet, hands, legs and arms. It can also be an effective way to identify peripheral vascular disease which is a problem for almost every HBP sufferers as well as a good way to see if any narrowings have developed in the blood vessels

Prehypertension

The normal blood pressure of a person is usually less than 120/80.  When his BP begins to reach 120 to 139 for the systolic range and 80 to 89 for the diastolic, he has a BP that is considered in the prehypertension stage.

Normal BP range will record a range of 120 mm Hg and less and a diastolic of 80 mm Hg.  High BP is classified in two stages, stage 1 and stage 2:

  • Stage 1 – A range of 140 to 159 is registered for the systolic range and 90 to 99 mm Hg for the diastolic range.
  • Stage 2 – This means you have a systolic range of above 160 and a diastolic above 100 mm Hg

Dr. Cui Han is a Florida licensed acupuncture physician and the founder of AcuHealing Medical Center in Miami, FL.