TEDx Berkeley: Why Be Normal

I can virtually guarantee you, somebody you love has this problem — high blood pressure.

1 in 3 people in the United States has high blood pressure and it tends to be even higher in developing countries. Tackling this one problem, in all likelihood, is the single thing you can do to extend quality years with the ones you love.

But there’s a larger question here. Why is a pediatrician talking about high blood pressure?

When I started training it was rare to see a child with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol, or high triglycerides, or a waist size over 36 or 40 inches — all conditions of middle age or the elderly. Today 2/3 of American kids already have at least one of those conditions. 1 in 14 kids ten to fifteen years old already has evidence of hardening of the arteries from high blood pressure. By the time they’re 20, 1 in 7 will have signs of hardening of the arteries.

But it hasn’t always been this way. As recently as 20 years ago, it wasn’t this way. What ever has changed, we know it can’t be our genes, because genes don’t change that quickly. But what is it?

Watch this video to find out what’s caused the change and what you can do to reverse this disturbing trend.


Will you join me in the fight against high blood pressure? If so, take the first step — get a devise to measure your blood pressure and do it daily.

And share this video with those you love. Together, we can turn the tide.

Published on: September 05, 2014
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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It’s a pity you don’t have a donate butotn!I’d without a doubt donate to this outstanding blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this websitewith my Facebook group. Chat soon!

Worth looking into: Buy a juicer (one that’s easy to clean!) and have a glass (250ml) of raw beetroot juice a day. (I don’t even peel them, just wash them and cut off the naughty bits). It’s really delicious and seems to work in my case to lower blood pressure virtually within 24 hours. The mechanism as I understand it is that it releases Nitric Oxide (NO) in the blood which causes the vascular system to dilate, which in turn lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow to all parts of the body significantly, including the brain. A glass of beet root juice, it has been said (I can’t recall where) is as effective a twenty minute cardio workout. Perhaps an overstatement, but one I’d love to believe.

I’m not recommending this, only suggesting that someone look into it or comment on it scientifically.

Of course a juicer can also be used for carrots (in moderation!) and almost any other vegetable, which is good news for those of us who hate boiled vegetables — provided you get enough roughage (I use a goodly portion of oats daily, which I grind in a coffee grinder, add high-protein whey protein and skim milk, and drink as a smoothy for breakfast, which seems to provide enough roughage judging by my daily “output”. (If you want to sweeten it, use Xylitol or add juiced pineapple.)

Thank you!! I want to be apart i this movement to getting to know our bodies now!!! I’m so getting the BP app and really see it as an oppurtunity to really get to know what and when my waves are triggered !! Amazing talk. Thank you again!!

Fabulous talk! You made the boring toic of hypertension inspiring and relevant. Thanks !

Thanks so much. It’s an important topic. Thanks for helping us spread the word.

What about low blood pressure? What kind of numbers are too low?

Great question. Low blood pressure has it’s own set of associated problems, like not getting enough blood to vital places. There is no agreed upon number for blood pressure that is too low in healthy people. Though a good guess is a systolic of less than 90 or a diastolic of less than 60. If either of those numbers is lower than this it’s at least worth talking to with your physician to see if your blood pressure is too low — especially if you’re having symptoms such as light headedness or fainting.