TCM offers a holistic approach to managing hypertension.
Hypertension is a condition where the blood is pumped through the circulatory system at too high a pressure.
It is usually diagnosed as high if your systolic blood pressure reading is 140mmHg and above, or a diastolic blood pressure of 90mmHg and above. A healthy blood pressure is usually somewhere around 120/80 mmHg.
According to the latest Singapore National Health Survey, approximately 23 per cent of the population between ages of 18 and 69 years are suffering from hypertension.
The chances of having hypertension increases as you get older. More than one in two persons between 60 to 69 years of age has hypertension, as opposed to less than one in four persons aged 30 to 59 years.
Hypertension has earned the reputation of being a “silent killer”. While headaches and giddiness may be present in those who are suffering from severe hypertension, the condition develops slowly over time, often with no signs or symptoms.
Conventional treatments for hypertension
In less severe cases, change of lifestyle such as weight loss and reduction in salt intake may help to manage the condition.
Should these measures be unsuccessful, drug treatments may be prescribed by the doctor. These medications need to be taken on a long-term basis, and may be a lifelong commitment for most people.
The best way to keep hypertension at bay is to be aware of its risks and adopt changes to your lifestyle to prevent your blood pressure from being too high for too long.
Diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol and smoking are some risk factors identified for increasing the chances of developing hypertension.
Are you at risk?
If you check one or more of the risk factors mentioned above, you may want to start making changes to your health and lifestyle to avoid further damaging your health.
Those looking for preventative measures from developing hypertension may consider looking into traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to help them manage the condition.
Mr Jeffrey Ong, a physician with Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic at Sengkang, HarbourFront and Jurong West, says that while TCM’s perspective of hypertension is different, advances in modern science allow TCM physicians to have a better understanding of the condition.
This provides insights into how they can utilise TCM into management of hypertension.
He adds: “From TCM practitioners’ point of view, genetic predisposition, inappropriate dietary habits, lack of physical activity, and alcohol drinking, environmental factors such as psychological stress may disrupt the physiological functions of the internal organs. This leads to irregularities in qi, blood, yin and yang, which may result in diseases such as hypertension.”
In helping patients to manage hypertension, Physician Ong shares that it takes into account the patient’s blood pressure reading. But it is measured at three separate visits, while noting the individual’s medical and family history.
To avoid a false positive reading, modern techniques such as a 24-hour monitoring device may be required to avoid white robe hypertension, a phenomenon where a patient’s blood pressure rises when they are examined by a medical professional.
TCM’s holistic approach
At the core of TCM’s “regulation and modification of one’s physique” philosophy, Physician Ong explains that it is more than prescribing dosage of Chinese herbs for patients to take at home.
TCM physicians are trained to implement a holistic approach to lifestyle modification to help manage diseases such as hypertension.
Physician Ong says: “We modulate their body constitution through acupressure and herbal home remedy. At the same time, we advise patients to alter their lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly, getting ample sleep and rest, and sodium reduction.”
Then patients are prescribed a treatment of oral herbal prescription, acupuncture, cupping or tuina (or both) to help with managing the elevated blood pressure.
But TCM should not be thought of as a treatment option. Mr Ong still advises those with hypertension to seek western medical treatments.
He adds: "Professional medical intervention is needed to prevent future possible complications such as stroke and cardiovascular disease, which may bring upon greater health risks.”
Eu Yan Sang is offering complimentary consultation for first-timers at selected Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic or Wellness Clinics. Simply quote “A1-EYS” on your visit from Jul 31 to Sep 30.
For more information, visit sg.euyansangclinic.com/a1.