Thick blood

It is well known in the general public that “thick blood” can lead to high blood pressure. Most people are familiar with the use of blood thinners like warfarin for this issue. In fact, many people have either first hand or with a loved one temporarily used blood thinners as part of a surgery or other medical procedure. However, most people don’t really know what “thick blood” is and how it can raise blood pressure.


What is Thick Blood?

Defining thick blood is and isn’t as simple as it sounds. Thick blood may be defined as blood that is more viscous due to various factors. However, for the most part, thick blood is a result of more clotting factors in the blood stream. This may make the blood slightly more viscous but the real issue is that it leads to more clotting in the arteries. The type of clotting I’m talking about here is the same clotting that could cause a stroke or heart attack. However, this type of clotting also happens all over our bodies every second of the day as part of our normal function. The problem with “thick blood” is that it puts us at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and/or other cardiovascular disease over the long-term.


How Does Thick blood Raise Blood Pressure?

Thick blood raises blood pressure because of two main mechanisms. In the short run, when blood is more viscous it requires more pressure from the heart to push it throughout the arteries. Secondly and more important over the long run, thick blood causes inflammatory damage to the lining of the arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis and plaque formation. These mechanisms harden the arteries and reduce the space for blood to flow through.


What Causes Thick Blood?

Many of the causes of “thick blood” are aspects of our life that we can control like nutrition and blood sugar regulation. Many of these causes also lead to inflammation, which enhances the long term cardiovascular concern. The most common causes of include poor blood sugar regulation (pre-diabetes), diabetes, pro-inflammatory diets, smoking, and excess alcohol intake. There certainly appears to be genetic factors at play that may be separate to causes that we can control.


How Do You Treat Thick Blood?

The naturopathic treatment for “thick blood” focuses on identifying and treating the factors that contribute to making the blood thick in the first place. Instead of relying on blood thinners for long-term use, I try to make it possible for a patient not to need to depend on them. Most of this work involves identifying sources of inflammation in a patient’s diet and environment. When we need treatment for “thick blood” it is very important to recommend what is in the patient’s best interest. This may actually be a prescription for a blood thinner. However, there are other options we can consider if a prescription is not needed. The nutrients to consider include fish oil, wobenzyme, serrapeptidase, and curcumin to name a few.


If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Barlow please contact his office at 250-448-5610.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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