What is 'high blood pressure'?Your heart is a pump, blood vessels are like pipes and blood is like water going through those pipes. Blood pressure is the degree of force as water travels through the pipes. That is a simple analogy, but the circulatory system is much more complicated than that. Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood on inner walls of the arteries, relative to the elasticity and diameter of the vessels and the force of the heartbeat. As blood is pushed by every beat of the heart, the blood in turn pushes against the sides of blood vessels. Blood vessels are flexible and can widen or constrict as needed to adjust the flow of blood, and thereby keep the blood pressure normal and blood flowing well. High blood pressure is when your blood pushes too hard against the walls of blood vessels.
Who decides the criteria used to determine at what level a person’s blood pressure should be considered "high"?
The top number of your pressure is Systolic – when the heart contracts, pushing blood through circulation. The bottom number is Diastolic, when the heart is between contractions. The heart can tolerate a higher top number better than a high bottom number, and a high diastolic blood pressure can cause more damage than a high systolic pressure. If either the systolic is high, or the diastolic is high, or both, these findings result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
Prior to 1970, normal BP was 170/98. For the last several decades it has been 140/80. New normals now exist at even lower levels of 120/80, which puts an increasing number of people within the medication range, who otherwise wouldn’t be medicated. It is now recommended that children should have their blood pressure checked regularly starting at 3 years of age. It is primarily the Pharmaceutical industry who benefit from these ‘new normals’.
• Is blood pressure "high" when it reaches a level that corresponds to significantly elevated risk for heart attack, stroke, or congestive heart failure? Sadly, the majority of people who die of heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure have either "normal" or "mildly high" blood pressure.
• Is blood pressure considered "high" only when it reaches a level that can be effectively manipulated by drug therapy? This causes physicians to believe that the current definition of "high" blood pressure is the same level of blood pressure at which drug treatments are worthwhile.
Doctors say blood pressure increases as you get older and is an "inevitable consequence of aging”. This would suggest that the systolic blood pressure of a 70-year-old individual equals 100 plus their age, or 170, so older adults should be medicated to bring their systolic blood pressure down below 150. My 95 year old great-grandmother had the same blood pressure as me, so when I heard this I knew it couldn’t be correct.
What causes high blood pressure?It is said, ‘high blood pressure’, can cause arteries to become stiff over time and that hypertension does progressive damage to blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other organs in your body, resulting in heart disease and stroke. The appropriate question to ask is “What caused the high blood pressure?” The predominant theory circulating these days is that consuming a diet consisting of excessive fats, cholesterol, and animal proteins, causes people to develop atherosclerosis; a condition of fatty deposits in the cardiovascular system. This is thought to be one of the main causes of high blood pressure, and why high blood pressure tends to become more prevalent as people age. This is only partly true. Read my article “What you need to know about cholesterol”.
SaltThe currently prevailing theory that salt will increase your blood pressure is based on osmotic pressure. Osmosis is a process by which molecules of a solvent (in this case water) tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane (like cell walls) from a less concentrated solution (in this case salt) into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.
- It is thought if the bloodstream has more sodium in it than the surrounding areas of our body, this causes the water in those areas to be pulled into the bloodstream. Just because we can make this process of salt pulling water through membranes happen in the lab, doesn’t mean this actually happens inside the body, nor does this actually cause high blood pressure.
- It is thought that the increase in water within the arteries and veins causes an increase in the pressure within those arteries and veins, because moving greater volumes of blood makes the heart pump harder.
- The salt itself also acts like an irritant within the arteries causing them to constrict. This too is thought to increase your blood pressure.
The body intelligently knows how to regulate the concentrations of everything so there is balance; not too high or too low. The concentration of sodium in the blood is maintained by water. The kidneys maintain this concentration by excreting excess salt into urine along with water to flush it out or holding on to water to maintain concentrations. As we consume salt and the kidneys do their job, blood pressure increases slightly. This has led people to believe that reducing salt will lower blood pressure. However, reducing salt intake has a minimal effect on lowering blood pressure and is not enough to resolve chronically high blood pressure.
All major health organizations promote low sodium diets as a means of controlling high blood pressure, despite the fact there are published studies that consistently show low sodium diets are not healthy, particularly with regard to cardiovascular health and many studies exist that show no connection between salt and hypertension. In fact, studies showed that a low salt diet increased the risk of developing heart disease and reduced salt intake increased the risk of death in patients who already have heart disease.
The age old rule of “moderation” serves us well, because in most cases, “the dose makes the poison”. However, another rule applies, “It’s not how much you eat, but what you eat that is most important.” The smallest amount of a known poison is still poison.
Sea salt is composed of 40% sodium and chloride and the rest is trace minerals. Sea salt is not white because it is not bleached and should not be ground. The mineral content of sea salt is identical to that of blood. We can’t live without sodium and chloride because they play vital roles in nerve conduction, muscle contraction (including the heart), digestion and blood pressure. However, white table salt is refined (the trace minerals are removed) making it pure sodium chloride, which when separated from salt’s cofactors and synergy, it is a poison. Table salt is bleached to make it appear ‘clean,’ mixed with anti-caking chemicals like aluminum which make it easier to sift and pour, but it is not real salt which is larger, cubic, gray, wet granules. Even ‘low sodium’ processed foods are high in sodium chloride. The underlying mechanism of high blood pressure involves sodium chloride poisoning, not excess salt intake.
Before the invention of refrigeration, foods were preserved and cured in salt. Salt’s ability to preserve food was a foundation of civilization. Cultures throughout the world have known about the healing properties of salt water for thousands of years, which is possibly be a reason why many people are drawn to the ocean. Consider that an intravenous solution of salt water is the first thing given to ER patients. Not getting enough can have adverse health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, the very conditions we’re told are related to too much salt. In Roman times, soldiers were paid in salt. Historically, humans have gone to great lengths to secure salt. Empires have risen and fallen due to salt trade routes and salt production. Contrary to popular belief, salt consumption has dramatically decreased in our diet since WWII.
Read "The Two Types of Salt" on the For Its Benefits page.
SugarMaking refined sugar from sugar cane was a long and laborious process, and the sugar industry used slave labor. Initially, only wealthy Europeans could afford it and they were the first people to develop diabetes. Historically, sugar was viewed as a treat, a delicacy, such as ice cream or other dessert, enjoyed only on rare and special occasions. In the 19th century, industry took over for slave labor and made sugar manufacturing more efficient and less expensive, so it was more plentiful and affordable.
Throughout the 20th century, sugar consumption increased as the food industry put it in everything; processed non-junk food such as pasta sauce, salad dressing, crackers, fruit juices, yogurt, processed meats, energy drinks and many other foods and beverages which are marketed as being ‘healthy’. Sugar is stealthily hidden in 74% of processed foods, under more than 60 different names. We are so accustomed to it in our diet that we don’t realize it is a very recent change in our dietary evolution and a radical change from hundreds of previous generations who ate whole grains, fruits in season and very rarely wild honey.
The evolution of the American diet in the last 150 years and the rise of refined carbohydrates in the diet corresponds with the rise of chronic diseases in all industrialized countries. As I said in my article about cholesterol, the average American consumes 23.5 teaspoons of sugar per day (almost one every hour), which adds up to approximately 150 pounds of refined sugar per year. Refined carbs have no nutrients because the nutrients are stripped out during the refining process. It would be very easy to consume a tremendous amount of sugar in just one bowl of cereal, yogurt and fruit juice for breakfast.
Sugar in its natural form is not inherently damaging if it is consumed in moderation and metabolic processes are able to burn it as fuel, instead of storing it. Table sugar is ‘sucrose’. It consists of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Fructose is a natural sugar found in honey and fruit, but today ‘high fructose corn syrup’ is in most processed foods.
Sugar raises blood pressure more than salt. Refined carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in the body and too much sugar in the blood is dangerous. Sugar causes inflammation, which is implicated in atherosclerosis. Eating too much sugar can predispose to obesity, and weight gain can contribute to high blood pressure, but sugar can affect blood pressure independent of its effect on weight. Sugar impacts blood pressure by affecting an area of the brain called the hypothalamus which causes the heart to beat faster and blood pressure to rise. Salt is blamed for this, but it is sugar that causes chronically elevated blood pressure, not salt. And it causes the body to produce more insulin, a hormone, which may also increase heart rate.
Sugar breaks down into uric acid, which inhibits nitric oxide in blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels remain elastic. It is said that hypertension causes hardened arteries…. Nope, it is the other way around. Hardened arteries cause hypertension and sugar is to blame.
Sugar causes pressure variability, rapid heart rate, elevated Insulin and eventually Insulin Resistance, and weight gain. Metabolic Syndrome is behind many cases of hypertension. Insulin stores Magnesium, but if you’ve become Insulin Resistant you cannot hold Magnesium, a mineral well-known to relax arteries and muscles. You can take supplemental magnesium but the real answer is to get your Insulin under control with a whole food diet that includes freshly prepared whole grains, consuming low glycemic whole fruits, restoring the gut micro biome and digestive function. High fructose corn syrup is directly linked to hypertension for this reason as well as for causing Insulin Resistance.
Excess sugar consumption is associated with reduced learning capacity in children, depression, antisocial behavior and emotional instability, most likely because sugar is feeding Candida yeast, which when it digests sugar, produces toxic neurochemicals that cause neurological symptoms. The effects of eating a high sugar diet include the following symptoms: mood swings, the typical ‘sugar high’ accompanied by feelings of alertness and even euphoria, feeling aloof, distracted, unable to concentrate, spontaneous and even manic-like bursts of laughter, then ‘crash,’ with severe feelings of lethargy. This sounds like ADD/ADHD, and other learning disabilities.
Sugar feeds cancer and Candida yeast. Sugar kills beneficial bacteria and feeds pathogenic microorganisms, predisposing to or exacerbating Leaky Gut. Systemic Candidiasis and Leaky Gut are the beginning of disease and the root cause of nearly every chronic symptom and disease condition that plagues us in this century.
Sugar depresses the immune system, contributes to the development of gout, blocked arteries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, diminished brainpower, heart disease, heart failure, kidney failure and shorter lifespan.
Hypertension is a condition of industrialized societies. There is a direct correlation between the introduction of refined salt and sugar filled processed foods and beverages to the American diet and the steep decline in health. Countless researchers, including Dr. Winston A. Price, have not found hypertension in non-industrialized societies who liberally consume salt in the form of sea salt, sea vegetables and foods preserved with sea salt, but do not consume much sugar. Forget about the research promoted by the media and study it in yourself. If you have hypertension, reduce your salt intake for two weeks and don’t change anything else. See if your blood pressure decreases significantly. Then eliminate all refined sugar and carbs for two weeks and see what happens. If you continue to consume these things, you can expect your overall health to deteriorate, develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, become pre-type 2 diabetic, and develop heart disease.
ObesityWhen refined sugar and processed carbs are consumed, like pastas and baked goods, the body produces a lot of glucose. Insulin is released to deal with the sugar, proportionately. While insulin is doing its job, the body holds onto fat and the fat-burning process shuts down. The body processes fructose by activating the enzyme fructokinase, which metabolizes excess sugar in the same way it processes alcohol, producing a particularly pernicious effect by rapidly turning into fat in the liver, increasing the risk of insulin resistance. Once the fat is released into your bloodstream as triglycerides, it increases the risk of obesity. Sugar consumption is the root cause of obesity as the body stores excess sugar as fat. You can eat the healthiest whole food diet, but if you supplement it with refined sugar, expect to gain weight no matter how much exercise you do. Refined sugar consumption is the reason we have hypertension, obesity, heart disease and type II diabetes epidemic (chronically elevated blood sugar), the so called diseases of civilization.
The most important change you can make is to stop consuming caffeine, as in coffee (even decaf), tea, energy drinks, Vivarin or carbonated beverages. Try Chaga! Blood pressure is mainly controlled by the adrenal glands which sit on top of the kidneys. Whatever affects the kidneys is going to affect the adrenals too. Caffeine raises cortisol, insulin, blood pressure and heart rate. If you add sugar, the effect is intensified. Using artificial sweetener adds insult to injury.
Cholesterol is blamed for causing plaque on artery walls, but Trans Fats (hydrogenated vegetable oils) are the true cause of hardening arteries.
Cadminium is used to make the pink color in dentures! Cadminium is in drinking water (a solvent) from galvanized metal pipes, and it is 5x more toxic than lead, and is strongly linked to high blood pressure. The connection between cadminium and high blood pressure has been known for a long time, but doctors aren't going to tell you about it. High BP can be remedied easily by eliminating cadmium and other pollutants, followed by a kidney cleanse. Change every inch of galvanized plumbing to PVC plastic. Copper pipes lead to leukemia, schizophrenia and fertility problems.
T-2 Toxin is a mold found in dried peas, lentils and beans, and is implicated in high blood pressure and all cases of serious kidney disease show a build up of T-2 toxin. Rinse legumes and throw away shriveled ones. Soaking legumes in water with powdered vitamin C added, and also to the cooking water will detoxify molds. Be extra careful to avoid moldy foods - potatoes, jelly, breads, crackers, cereals, cookies, pasta, nuts, coffee, tea and moldy fruit. You can't always see or smell mold.
DeficiencyAlthough many studies connect chronically elevated blood pressure with strokes, heart damage and heart failure, actual pressure may not be the issue at all. What comes before high blood pressure and thick, stiff artery walls (arteriosclerosis), is malnutrition and deficiencies. Vitamin K2 deficiency causes the heart to pump harder. Magnesium, potassium, vitamins D and A are essential for heart health also. Vitamins D and K2’s job is to place calcium where it should go (bones, teeth, nerves), not where it shouldn’t go (joints, arteries, breast calcification) and maintain arterial elasticity. If calcium lines your arteries they get smaller in diameter and less elastic. Supplemental K2 and D should be taken together.
The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) plan includes eating a plant based (vegan), low fat diet with less salt, but they do not mention reducing sugar. The DASH plan causes nutritional deficiencies that lead to malnutrition, which is the cause of hypertension to begin with. Telling patients to lower their salt intake or take diuretics that force the kidneys to excrete fluid is not the answer. Salt is not simply salt, any more than all fats are the same. Eating the right kind of fat, prepared properly at lower temperatures to protect nutrients and real salt that contains minerals with its synergy and cofactors, providing a wonderful supply of trace minerals which the body needs for so many biochemical processes is the key to a healthy circulatory system. Do not grill foods or cook using high temperatures.
If diet and lifestyle changes don’t make medication obsolete, something is being missed. Dig deeper in search of an overlooked cause, because hypertension (being ‘hyper’ and ‘tense’) is not normal. Stress can raise blood pressure, and chronic stress raises blood pressure on a more consistent basis. Years of living a hectic, survival mode, never enough time lifestyle eventually catches up with most people because they don’t take time to properly nourish themselves, rest and get quality sleep. The body doesn’t just malfunction for no reason. Hypertension is a symptom, not the problem. Symptoms are the language of the body communicating that there is a problem and symptoms point to the problem. The body is saying, "What you're doing isn't working for me. STOP IT!" Treating symptoms tells the body to “shut-up” while the true cause continues to create other malfunctions in the body.
StressHyper & Tension - Those two words don't sound relaxing do they? No. They sound like stress. Stress causes the body to self produce some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet and stress causes damage to arterial walls. Blood pressure does change throughout the day, depending on the level of activity being performed. Your blood pressure may be higher because you are chronically stressed, moving as if being chased by a lion, tense, fearful, anxious or angry.
Racing to arrive for your appointment on time, fuming over wait time and chatting with the nurse guarantee an elevated reading. Chronic stress makes it all worse as we automatically increase cholesterol, cortisol, glucose and blood pressure in response to a hectic lifestyle.
Doctors refer to high blood pressure, or hypertension, as a silent killer because they say is an “asymptomatic disease” that rarely produces warning signs, however, the list of symptoms for high blood pressure include headache, chest heaviness, sweating, breathlessness, fatigue, or simply a feeling of being unwell. Those symptoms can be caused by any number of other things, including Systemic Candidiasis and Leaky Gut, so this frightens people, causing them to visit the doctor out of fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown in itself can raise blood pressure during a check-up, leading to treatment with medication.
BP is taken incorrectly
Your blood pressure may be higher because it is taken incorrectly. The correct way to take your blood pressure is to sit without talking for 3 to 5 minutes, apply the correctly sized cuff to your arm, hold your arm across heart level and keep your body relaxed and don’t talk. Having learned to take blood pressure as part of my job working with clients, I know how easy it is to get a false high reading. My husband says his blood pressure is always higher at the doctors office, especially if he goes to his appointment after a full day at work and a 45 minute commute on one of the most congested highways near Washington D.C.
MedicationA doctor will tell you that high blood pressure can be a lifelong issue and that blood pressure medication is the treatment of choice, but in their mind, medication is the only viable treatment option for high blood pressure and patients with high blood pressure must take their medications for the rest of their lives. It is also common for a doctor to prescribe more than one drug to control high blood pressure, making blood pressure drugs the number one prescribed medication in the United States. Doctors say that eating healthy and exercise can help, but may not be enough to control high blood pressure or high cholesterol. In effect, they are minimizing in the mind of the patient the importance and tremendous benefits or value of nutrition, when that is exactly what the patient needs more than anything. Doctors also believe that high blood pressure medications are "safe and effective.
Medications used to treat high blood pressure include:
Diuretics to reduce the amount of fluid in your blood by helping your body rid itself of extra sodium.
ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, and calcium channel blockers to help keep your blood vessels from tightening.
Beta-blockers slow heart rate and decreasing blood pressure by preventing your body from making the hormone adrenaline; adrenaline is a stress hormone that makes your heart beat harder and faster and it also makes your blood vessels tighten. All of this causes increased blood pressure.
The American Heart Association reports “Fewer Americans are dying from heart disease and stroke, but deaths caused by high blood pressure are on the rise,” according to new statistics.
High blood pressure is not ‘a cause of death’. Heart disease is said to be the No. 1 cause of death and it is associated with high blood pressure. High blood pressure can eventually ‘predispose to’ stroke, which is reported as a ‘leading cause of death’. Stated more correctly by the American Medical Group, “Every day, nearly 1,000 people in the U.S. die on average from a condition for which high blood pressure was a contributing factor. This includes stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure and end-stage kidney disease.”
High blood pressure is neither a disease nor an illness in and of itself. It’s merely a symptom that points to an imbalance in the body and shows us what needs to be done to reduce risk factors for developing other health problems. Hypertension is a symptom that develops and intensifies over years and predisposes to heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and several other things.
The AHA says, “Hypertension is often under-treated because patients do not always take their blood pressure medications as prescribed, and even if they do, doctor’s orders sometimes are not enough. It usually takes more than one medication to get blood pressure under control. The AHA report noted “a mere 10 percent increase in hypertension treatment would prevent about 14,000 deaths every year.”
The prestigious British Medical Research Council conducted one of the largest clinical trials ever performed and concluded that hypertensive patients in these studies died at about the same rate whether they took medication or not. Researchers have found that while drug treatments for mild hypertension may be effective at lowering blood pressure, they were not effective in reducing overall mortality.
The British Medical Research Council concluded by saying, "The 'side effects' caused by taking high blood pressure drugs are so significant that they cancel out any positive effects of reducing mild to high blood pressure in this artificial manner. In fact, medications are so toxic that their side effects range from mildly unpleasant (fatigue, gastric irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, impotence, depression) to lethal (congestive heart failure)."
Yet, doctors are telling their patients that high blood pressure medications are "safe and effective.
So, follow my thought all the way through. A doctor prescribes high blood pressure medications, giving the patient a false sense of security (placebo effect). The patient follows the doctors nutritional advice and reduces nutrients in the diet that are needed for the optimal circulatory system function and body as a whole. They continue to consume refined sodium chloride, just less of it, but they don't get the minerals that are disparately needed from real salt, causing further malnutrition. They continue to consume processed foods and beverages loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which is wreaking havoc on every system in the body. The person doesn't die from high blood pressure, but from malnutrition and poisoning.
There are powerful diet and lifestyle changes that safely and effectively reduce high blood pressure by taking advantage of the body’s built-in-healing mechanisms, but don’t expect your doctor to tell you about them. Doctors receive 30 minutes of nutrition education in all their years of medical school, so they don’t know what they don’t know about nutrition, digestion and how the body works. Some of them know just enough to be dangerous.
The good news is that this and many other conditions are reversible with dietary and lifestyle modifications, because it was diet and lifestyle that caused the problems in the first place. Such modifications directly address the causes of high blood pressure; atherosclerosis and inflammation, as well as a long list of other symptoms and diseases.
Contrary to what many people have been led to believe, high blood pressure is not a condition that requires patients to take drugs for the rest of their lives. Since high blood pressure has several underlying causes and can be prevented, it can be cured. The more we are aware and understand what happens inside the body and mind when we eat certain foods, the more quickly we can begin to make healthier choices, recover health and live the life we were meant to have.
There needs to be balance between protein, fat and carbohydrates. The ratio of each depends on your biochemistry and what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily apply to you or someone else. Each of us is biochemically unique.
If you suffer from high blood pressure or any other symptoms, start taking effective actions today. There are many things you can do to assist your body in regaining a healthy blood pressure. In particular, the first and most important thing to do is replace a diet consisting of refined, processed foods and fast food with whole, natural foods.
- Avoid eating nutritionally bankrupt, processed foods loaded with hydrogenated oils, refined white table salt (pure sodium chloride), high fructose corn syrup and other forms of refined sugar which cause inflammation and plaque to develop in arteries. Avoid consuming things with labels, but it you must, then read labels and know what is in the fruit juice concentrate, yogurt, cheese, butter, milk, ice cream, maple syrup, canned fish or other packaged product.
- Avoid fluoride and chlorine in drinking water, bathing, swimming pools, etc.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates, including products made from grains, and make those foods at home yourself. Buy whole grains, grind them and make your own cookies, cakes and breads. Freeze what you make and thaw as needed. This ensures you are getting the nutrition you are paying for and not getting anything that doesn’t serve your highest goal - optimal health and vitality.
- Eat a healthy diet of nutrient dense, whole foods, healthy oils, nuts and seeds, legumes, real salt and natural sugars found in whole fruits will be your medicine. Fruits are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, but they also naturally contain fructose, so overconsumption may worsen insulin sensitivity and raise uric acid levels. Eat lean organic meats, poultry, eggs and plenty of wild caught cold water fish on a regular basis to get your DHA and EPA.
- Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3-5 times per week to keep muscles strong so they hold bones in their proper positions and the internal pumps of the body keep the bowels and other systems moving.
- Don’t ‘manage’ stress but move through it in a way that serves your highest goals and then let it go. Hormones (neurological and endocrine), increase your heart rate and reduce the compliance and elasticity of blood vessels. This makes blood pressure higher. The body self produces some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet in response to stress, which ages the body faster.
- High blood pressure tends to occur in people who are overweight, so it would make sense that losing and/or maintaining a healthy weight would be part of the solution, but that should happen naturally as you make the changes I have listed above. If that’s not happening for you, I am here to help. As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, I have tools, skills and knowledge to share with you that will rock your metabolic and emotional worlds.
When faithfully practiced as a lifestyle, this combined strategy is very effective. This strategy is also helpful to reverse atherosclerosis.
Knowledge is not power, but knowing about the harmful effects of sodium chloride, sugar and processed foods is useless unless you act on what you have learned and make changes. I am here to coach you on your journey through illness to wellness. It is my passion and purpose to help you restore your health, so you can start living the life you were meant to live going forward. I want my clients to get to a place where they don't need me anymore, so I can help more people and not just the same people.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-293-1500 to schedule your free introductory consultation. There is no obligation and I will not use your email for marketing purposes, because I don't do business that way. I depend on referrals from happy clients. I look forward to meeting you and having the opportunity to serve you.
Owner - Certified Eating Psychology Coach
I am uniquely trained and successful in working with the most common eating and health challenges of our times.
Whole Family Health and Nutrition, LLC
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This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is not direct medical advice for your specific situation, and should not be treated as such. You should never delay seeking medical attention, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this article.