Millions of Americans suffer from different types of health conditions. But there is a condition on top of all these that affects tens of millions, and is a common cause behind most other conditions. It is high blood pressure and it affects at least 70 million Americans. So you are likely to find every third adult you come across to have this health condition.
Even the remaining adults are so likely to develop high blood pressure that scientists claim that a third of them are also at high risk of having it. High blood pressure is a widely common condition, but it is something that you can prevent. It is also referred to as hypertension. If you have any high blood pressure symptoms, you should pay attention and take proper steps. (Source)
It is important for everyone with or without this condition to know that hypertension is not a problem in itself. It leads to various other health conditions which are mostly dangerous. Just to name some of these conditions, they are heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and chronic heart failure.
No Symptoms – High blood pressure is considered a dangerous condition because it may not show any symptoms. Many times, there are no symptoms even when people have their blood pressure readings touch extremely high levels. This is why around a fifth of American adults suffering from it don’t even know that they have the condition.
But there is a silver lining out there. High blood pressure can be treated and prevented with the help of diet and exercise in a natural way. This is something even the mainstream medicine agrees upon.
High Blood Pressure & Its Symptoms
High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when the blood flowing through your blood vessels and arteries flows at higher pressures.
Can you imagine how much money is spent or lost on health care, medication, and missed days of work on high blood pressure symptoms? It comes to around $46 billion every year.
Standard-Medical Treatment: If you are a patient with elevated blood pressure, your doctor is going to give you dangerous ACE inhibitor drugs, diuretics, and beta-blockers as part of your standard medical treatment. Your doctor will also ask you to limit the amount of salt you take in your diet. Such ‘treatment’ is going to help you, but it cannot address the root cause. In fact, the problem can get further aggravated.
All of us have been made to fear salt for our health. However, it has been widely debated as whether extreme reduction of salt for hypertension is effective and destructive for our health. It has always been a controversial point (Source).
There are two important numbers involved with the measurement of blood pressure.
– Systolic pressure – It is the pressure when your heart beats to pump blood.
– Diastolic pressure – It is the blood pressure when your heart stops between beats.
The different blood pressure ranges are as following (read systolic / diastolic ranges):
– Healthy or normal blood pressure – 120 / 80
– High blood pressure (stage 1) – 140 to 159 / 90 to 99
– High blood pressure (stage 2) – 160 or higher / 100 or higher
– Prehypertension – 120 to 139 / 80 to 89
As already mentioned, high blood pressure doesn’t have any symptoms. However, if your blood pressure increases to very high levels, you can have the following signs:
– Buzzing / ear noise
– Vision changes
– Chest pains
– Irregular heartbeat
If you happen to have high blood pressure at around 50, your life expectancy gets reduced by 5 years compared to those having normal blood pressure (Source).
So it’s important that you take the right steps to keep your hypertension symptoms under control.
Problems Caused by High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause other health conditions that can lead to death. In 2013, over 360,000 Americans died by a disease that was caused or contributed by high blood pressure. So around a thousand Americans die every day due to a condition somehow related to hypertension.
So what are these dangerous health conditions which can be caused by high blood pressure? Here is a list (Source):
1. First heart attack – Almost 70% of people getting the first heart attack already have hypertension.
2. First stroke – Around 80% of those getting the first stroke have high blood pressure.
3. Chronic heart failure – Around 70% of those suffering from chronic heart failure already have hypertension.
4. Metabolic syndrome – This condition occurs when people have even three of the health problems like abdominal obesity, high triglyceride levels, high blood sugar, low levels of good cholesterol (HDL), or high blood pressure. If you have hypertension, the risk of metabolic syndrome increases.
5. Eye problems – People with hypertension can have thick, torn or narrow blood vessels in their eyes. This can also lead to vision loss.
6. Memory problems – When you suffer from uncontrolled hypertension, it can have an effect on your memory, ability to learn, and think. People with high blood pressure more commonly suffer from problems with understanding concepts and memory.
7. Aneurysm – When you have high blood pressure, it can cause the weakening of your blood vessels. They can also bulge. This can lead to the formation of aneurysm. If you have this condition, it important to prevent a rupture because it can prove to be life-threatening.
Comparison of High Blood Pressure & Low Blood Pressure
Both high and low blood pressure likely to occur in people as part of normal aging process. So now that you know about high blood pressure. Let’s look at low blood pressure, its symptoms and other factors.
Keep the following blood pressure ranges in mind with regard to low and high blood pressures (systolic/diastolic):
– If the range is less than 90 / 60, you have low blood pressure (hypotension)
– If the range is less than 120 / 80, your blood pressure is normal
– You have prehypertension if your blood pressure range is 120 to 139 / 80 to 89
– Blood pressure in the range 140 to 159 / 90 to 99 means you have stage 1 of hypertension
– Blood pressure in the range above 160 / above 100 means you have stage 2 of hypertension
Important points related to low blood pressure:
– If you have chronic low blood pressure without any symptoms, you don’t have to worry. It’s mostly not serious.
– You should be concerned about low blood pressure when there is sudden drop in blood pressure. This can deprive the supply of blood to your brain, and make you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
– Postural or orthostatic hypotension – Avoid getting up suddenly from lying position or from sitting position, as this can cause sudden drop in blood pressure. Around 10% to 20% of those above 65 are estimated to have this type of blood pressure.
– Neurally mediated hypotension – Sometimes when you stand from a long duration, your blood pressure may drop suddenly. This type of low blood pressure is known as neurally mediated hypotension.
– It is a part of aging that blood flow to your brain and heart muscle gradually declines. This happens because of buildup of plaque in the blood vessels.
If you don’t have any symptoms of low blood pressure, you don’t have to worry. According to most doctors, chronically low blood pressure is dangerous only when there are symptoms which can be easily noticed. These are the symptoms you should be concerned about:
– Lightheadedness / dizziness
– Unusual thirst & dehydration
– Fainting (known as syncope)
– Lack of concentration
– Rapid and shallow breathing
– Pale, cold and clammy skin
There are many factors that can contribute to low blood pressure. These include:
– There is decrease in your blood volume
– You are pregnant
– You have been in bed rest for a prolonged period
– Some medications – drugs like diuretics and others used for treating hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, beta blockers as heart medications, tricyclic antidepressants, drugs for erectile dysfunction especially used along with nitroglycerin, alcohol and narcotics. Various over the counter and prescription drugs can also cause hypotension when you take them with HBP medications.
– Endocrine problems
– Heart problems
– Allergic reaction – Also called anaphylaxis. If you are excessively sensitive to drugs like penicillin, foods like peanuts, or even to bee / wasp stings, you can get sometimes-fatal allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock). Its main characteristics include breathing problems, swollen throat, itching, hives, and sudden, significant drop in blood pressure.
– Severe infection or septic shock
– Nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to low blood pressure. Deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12 can result in anemia and anemic symptoms. This can lead to low blood pressure.
– If you have neurally mediated hypotension
High Blood Pressure – What to Eat & What Not to Eat
Improving your diet is one of the best natural remedies for high blood pressure.
Foods to be Avoided
– Avoid alcohol – It will narrow down your arteries and raise blood pressure. If you must drink it, drink it in moderation. Healthy women can take up to 1 drink a day. Healthy mean over 65 should also take maximum of 1 drink a day. You can take up to 2 drinks a day if you are a healthy man below 65.
– Avoid foods high in sodium – You can salt your food as long as it is good quality. However, you should avoid canned and processed foods having high amount of sodium.
– Avoid Oemga-6 fats & trans fats – Both the fats raise your blood pressure and inflammation. So which foods should you avoid? Conventional meats and packaged foods contain high amount of them.
– Avoid Sugar – You should avoid high amount of sugar consumption because it is going to contribute to high blood pressure. According to studies, consuming sugar can be even more worrisome than taking salt, especially with regard to high blood pressure (Source).
– Avoid or Reduce Caffeine – If you consume excess of caffeine, it can also increase your blood pressure. If you already have hypertension, reduce your daily consumption of all beverages which have high caffeine, including coffee. This will help in keeping down the blood pressure readings. It can also help in the prevention of caffeine overdose.
Healthy Foods for Healing High Blood Pressure Symptoms
– Start taking Mediterranean diet – You should start taking Mediterranean diet, without concern whether you already have high blood pressure symptoms or not. It can bring you so many benefits while also helping reduce the symptoms. The diet contains high amounts of fruits and veggies, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and seafood. You should especially focus on the olive oil, fruits and veggies, and wild-caught fish (salmon specifically), in this diet. They are all helpful in lowering blood pressure in a natural way.
– Consume Foods Rich in Potassium – Even the American Heart Association has confirmed that you can control your blood pressure by taking a diet containing high amounts of potassium. This type of diet works by reducing the negative effects caused by sodium on your body. The mineral potassium works by balancing the effect of sodium and thus lowers your blood pressure. Coconut water is one of the richest sources of potassium. So are banana, avocado and melons (Source).
– Foods rich in fiber – Take unprocessed foods having high amounts of fiber. This includes fruits and veggies, beans, and seeds. They can help in reducing your blood pressure readings.
– Foods rich in omega-3 – Include foods rich in omega-3 such flaxseeds, chia seeds, wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef. Among other benefits, they help in reducing inflammation.
– Apple cider vinegar – This is another rich source of potassium. Among other benefits, it benefits your body by keeping it alkaline. This will naturally help in lowering your blood pressure.
– Dark chocolate – The next time you enjoy a cup of dark chocolate, you should know its benefits in reducing your blood pressure. Dark chocolate is quite healthy. Make sure that you consume dark chocolate that contains minimum 200 mg of cocoa phenols.
– Drink tea – Drinking white tea can be great for helping improve the artery function and thinning the blood. If you drink it several times daily for a long time, it is going to help lower your blood pressure. It will also help in preventing common health problems like stroke. It is recommended that you should drink this tea daily, at least 2 times and on regular basis.
Supplementation For Controlling High Blood Pressure Symptoms
You can also take supplementation for controlling and healing blood pressure. The best supplements include the following:
Magnesium is a mineral that’s amazingly beneficial in relaxing your blood vessels. Its effects can be immediate in naturally controlling your blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency affects people at massive scale, and this contributes to high blood pressure. Start taking 500 mg of this mineral daily before going to bed. This dose will help you address the high blood pressure problem.
2. Fish Oil
Inflammation in arteries is among the primary causes behind high blood pressure. There are so many studies that have proven that fish oil is highly effective in reducing inflammation in your body. Fish oil is great for heart health too. It is rich in the DHA and EPA types of omega-3 fatty acids. You should take around 1,000 mg of fish oil along with your meals.
3. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10 is highly beneficial for your heart health. This antioxidant is great for you if you have ever taken medication for high blood pressure or lowering your cholesterol. Take 200-300 mg of it daily.
As already mentioned, cocoa and the flavonols in it offer great benefits of high blood pressure. Take it in powder form to reduce your blood pressure and boost your blood flow to heart and brain. It is a natural vasodilator that improves nitric oxide in your blood while widening the blood vessels.
Garlic is also a natural vasodilator like cocoa. It can be supplemented in pill or liquid form. According to a study conducted in 2016, it helps in reducing central and peripheral blood pressure in patients suffering from uncontrolled hypertension (Source).
Reducing High Blood Pressure Symptoms Naturally
1. Start Exercising Regularly & Increase Your Physical Activity
Regular physical activity means lower blood pressure and healthy weight. Exercise or do some physical activity for minimum 20 minutes a day. Kid and adolescents should exercise for at least 1 hour daily (Source).
2. No More Stress
If you can reduce your stress, you can reduce your blood pressure. Avoid getting relaxation from alcohol and tobacco. They increase high blood pressure. Follow some regular relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation and healing prayer.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils help in dilating the arteries. They also act as antioxidants for reducing oxidative stress. Another benefit is reducing emotional stress. All this helps in lowering blood pressure. You should use lavender, neroli, clary sage, ylang ylang, frankincense, and sweet marjoram. It will be best to use them in a diffuser.
What are the Root Causes & Risk Factors
Most of these hypertension risk factors can be controlled. They are (Source):
– Age – Your risk of high blood pressure increases with age. While men above 45 are at higher risk, the high risk age for women is 65.
– Race – African-Americans are at higher risk of having high blood pressure, even at earlier age compared to Caucasians. They are also at higher risk of serious complications like heart attack, kidney failure and stroke.
– Family history – You are at higher risk of high blood pressure if it is running in your family.
– Overweight – Higher body weight means more volume of blood has to be circulated through the blood vessels. This increases the pressure on the artery walls, and thus increases blood pressure.
– Lack of Physical Activity – If you lead an inactive and sedentary lifestyle, your heart rate will be higher. This will make it harder for your heart to work for each contraction. This increases the force on the arteries and thus the blood pressure.
– Using tobacco – If you chew or smoke tobacco, your blood pressure will increase temporarily. Tobacco chemicals will also cause damage to the artery wall linings. The arteries will become narrow and the blood pressure will increase.
– Excess alcohol – If you are a regular heavy drinker, your heart can get damaged. Don’t take more than 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women (in a day).
– Excess sodium – Avoid excess salt or sodium in diet. It causes retaining more fluid in body and increases blood pressure.
– Lack of potassium – Potassium helps in balancing sodium in your body cells. So increase your potassium intake so that sodium doesn’t accumulate in the blood stream.
– Avoid stress – Avoid stress because high levels of it increases blood pressure temporarily.
– Chronic conditions – Kidney disease, sleep apnea, and diabetes can increase your risk of high blood pressure.
– Pregnancy – Being pregnant can also be a contributing factor to high blood pressure.
Other included sources linked in Family Life Goal’s article:
draxe.com – Original Article Source