Boy do I have the goods on this one. And your "essential/idiopathic hypertension" can be fixed - but you need some information about yourself. Here's how we did it:
My guy, who is 30 years old and has 8% bodyfat from daily swimming and paleo diet, suddenly fainted! His blood pressure was 190/125! And his heart was racing out of control!
We had no idea that a 30-year-old fit guy could have high blood pressure. But when we went to the fancy research hospital, they airily informed us that nearly half the young people they saw are on medication for high blood pressure! At the hospital he measured 165/115. Naturally they wanted him on medication that same afternoon. The problem is the medication often causes impotence. No guy wants that.
Instead, we wanted to do lifestyle, which seemed hard to us, since we already have a really clean lifestyle. The doctor said she had rarely seen lifestyle work. So naturally we had to prove her wrong. Screw her, in the nicest possible way. :)
We needed to understand all the possible causes of HBP, so persuaded the doctor to do all the lipid, thyroid, and mineral tests. We even got a kidney ultrasound. These all came out perfect.
So we had to dig deeper. We kept up our super-strict paleo diet. First of all we found a 2009 study from UC Davis that reported a combination of grapeseed extract and powdered Vit C taken together in the right amount lowered HBP 10-15 points top and bottom in 2 hours. I was very skeptical, but this indeed did work for him. In an hour and a half. This is really a stunning thing to see.
So he dropped to 150/100 immediately. We also began researching isometric hand grip training. This is where you squeeze a rubber ball for 8 minutes 4 times a day. It sounds loony but there are a lot of studies to back this up. This takes 8 weeks of consistent practice to work - it will also lower you about 10. Ok, down to 140/90.
Then there are the other supplements you read about, like hawthorn and garlic. We think this gave him about 3-5 down on the top number, to 135/90. Ok, at last we were out of the medication range, altho' still high.
We looked into biofeedback, and discovered the Breathe Easy system - 15 mins. of daily breathing exercises to music. You play it on your iPod. This takes 12 weeks to work, we are still in the middle of this one, but have dropped another 5 so far, 130/85.
Finally we got more tests back. We discovered that he has the AC1298 gene thing! That is, he "undermethylates." So we took Dr. Ben Lynch's advice and began methylB12 & metylfolate. This after 2 weeks has dropped him another 5 top and bottom. 125/80. The gene issue may be the true "cause" of his supposedly "essential/idiopathic" hypertension. But we can compensate for that.
This week we also added TMG (betaine) to address his tachycardia. His pulse has now fallen to 59. Finally he has added a day of yoga (more relaxation) to his usual swimming and after 3 weeks of yoga he now stands at 119/73.
So he is very near now to perfectly good BP. We are hoping to gain another 5 or so points top and bottom from continuing the isometrics and Breathe Easy breathing exercises.
The point is that the drugs rarely do much to help HBP and have strongly bad side effects. We have beaten HBP so far with this combination of lifestyle approaches.
To appease the doctor, who insisted on salt reduction, we also bought some Morton potassium salt, "Lite" salt. We don't think it makes a darn bit of difference. Because salt isn't his problem, it's more likely his genes.
There's a final, very alternate therapy as well for desperate cases - NUCCA therapy. It's quite woo, but there is 1 clinical study showing that some people were permanently fixed(!) with just 1 NUCCA treatment. We haven't gone that route yet because we are very skeptical. NUCCA certified chiropractors are very few and shockingly expensive. But it's a possibility, I suppose. Still, better than impotence.
We can't wait to go back to the doctor in another 8 weeks and blow her tiny, shut-tight mind. Controlling your HBP without drugs can be done, but you have to combine a lot of things, and there is much trial and error. Discover your genes; keep good records; measure yourself every day; and never give up. Because impotence sucks.
Good luck to you!
UPDATE: After just a week using the emwave biofeedback device as directed, my guy saw his top and bottom numbers drop 2-3. The emwave program is a 12-week program and the most successful report drops from 7-10. Will update again in a few weeks. Treating HBP with lifestyle requires a lot of changes and they are sometimes long-haul benefits. So right now he is averaging 116/71.