What is High Blood Pressure /
High blood pressure (also commonly known as Hypertension) is often called the “silent killer”, as many people can live for years with this dangerous condition without ever experiencing a single symptom. High blood pressure is estimated to affect 1 in 3 American adults. Once the condition arises, it is usually a life-long problem that needs to be treated and managed carefully. Blood pressure is defined as the force that the blood exerts on the veins and arteries as it circulates through the body. In a healthy individual, blood pressure should be around 120/80 mmHg, although this reading does fluctuate from day to day and person to person. Blood pressure that consistently measures 140/90 mmHg or higher is thus considered high blood pressure. If left uncontrolled, it may increase your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, kidney failure or stroke.
High Blood Pressure / Hypertension Causes:
The main causes of high blood pressure are stress and a faulty style of living. Smoking and an excessive intake of intoxicants, tea, coffee, and refined foods destroy the natural pace of life and prevent the expulsion of waste and poisonous matter from the body.
- Excessive intake of common table salt, and eating a high fat and low fibre diet.
- Age is one of the biggest risk factors for elevated blood pressure levels and as you age the risk of developing high blood pressure keeps increasing.
- Diets with a high fat content are one of the major causes of high blood pressure.
- Stress related disorders. This stress could either be emotional stress or even physical stress in the individual.
- Heredity.This is another factor that cannot be controlled and people with a family history of high blood pressure are predisposed to developing the condition.
- Obesity is known to be one of the biggest risk factors for developing high blood pressure because blood pressure rises with increasing weight.
- Salt: Some individuals have greater sensitivity to sodium and the consumption of salt will therefore cause a rise in blood pressure. In such a scenario, simply cutting down on salt intake would lower blood pressure naturally. High blood pressure diets are typically low in salt.
- Excessive alcohol consumption is also known to raise blood pressure levels, particularly in those sensitive to alcohol.
- Women who have been on contraceptive pills may be at increased risk of developing high blood pressure and the use of certain medications like diet pills or amphetamines could also contribute to the problem.
- Diabetic nephropathy
- Kidney disease
High Blood Pressure / Hypertension Symptoms:
- The first symptom of hypertension may appear as a pain at the back of the head and neck on waking in the morning, which soon disappears.
- Dizziness, palpitations, pain in the region of the heart, frequent urination, nervous tension, fatigue, and difficulty in breathing.
High Blood Pressure / Hypertension
- Cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Adopt healthy life-style habits by exercising, learning to relax, and eating healthily and if you do smoke, now is a great time to quit smoking naturally! Not only will these changes help to lower blood pressure, they will increase your energy levels and boost immunity.
- Learn to relax, slow down and manage your stress levels. Stress is a huge influencing factor in high blood pressure so try to reduce stress levels and learn to relax.
- Address other health complaints such as insomnia or constipation as soon as they arise as these can contribute to increased blood pressure.
- Keep track of your blood pressure by learning to take your own blood pressure at home or having it regularly checked by a health care professional. Try keeping a log of your measurements after each check-up and slowly work towards your goals by noticing what works and what doesn’t.
- If on medication, it’s always a good idea to keep a list of what you are taking on you incase of an emergency.
- Enjoy regular physical activity
- If you drink, limit alcohol
- Get help to stop smoking.
High Blood Pressure / Hypertension Home Remedies:
- Garlic: The relationship between garlic and high blood pressure has been investigated scientifically, and found to be quite sound. Garlic is regarded as an effective means of lowering blood pressure. It is said to reduce spasms of the small arteries. It also slows down the pulse rate and modifies the heart rhythm, besides relieving the symptoms of dizziness, numbness, shortness of breath, and the formation of gas within the digestive tract. It may be taken in the form of raw cloves or two to three capsules a day.
- Indian Gooseberry (Amla): Indian gooseberry is another effective remedy for high blood pressure. A tablespoon each of fresh indian gooseberry juice and honey mixed together should be taken every morning in this condition.
- Lemon: Lemon is also regarded as a valuable food to control high blood pressure. It is a rich source of vitamin P which is found both in the juice and peel of the fruit. This vitamin is essential for preventing capillary fragility.
- Grapefruit: Grapefruit is useful in preventing high blood pressure. The vitamin P content in the fruit is helpful in toning up the arteries.
- Watermelon: Watermelon is another valuable safeguard against high blood pressure. A substance extracted from watermelon seeds is said to have a definite action in dilating the blood vessels, which results in lowering the blood pressure. The seeds, dried and roasted, should be taken in liberal quantities.
- Rice: Rice has a low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-salt content. It makes a perfect diet for those hypertensive persons who have been advised salt-restricted diets. Calcium in brown rice, in particular, soothes and relaxes the nervous system and helps relieve the symptoms of high blood pressure.
- Potato: Potatoes, especially in boiled form, are a valuable food for lowering blood pressure. When boiled with their skin, they absorb very little salt. Thus they can form a useful addition to a salt-free diet recommended for patients with high blood pressure. Potatoes are rich in potassium but not in sodium salts. The magnesium present in the vegetable exercises beneficial effects in lowering blood pressure.
- Parsley: Parsley is very useful in high blood pressure. It contains elements, which help maintain the blood vessels, particularly, the capillaries. It keeps the arterial system in a healthy condition. It may be taken as a beverage by simmering 20 gm of fresh parsley leaves gently in 250 ml of water for a few minutes. This may be drunk several times daily.
- Rauwolfia: Among the herbs, rauwolfia is the best remedy for high blood pressure. Alkaloids of this drug, which have a direct effect on hypertension, have been isolated and are being widely used by practitioners of modem medicine, but they have certain unpleasant side-effects which the drug, taken in raw form, does not have. Practitioners of the Indian system of medicine have, therefore, preferred to use the root of the drug in a powdered from. Half a teaspoon of this drug, taken thrice a day, is very effective in hypertension.
- Vegetable Juice: Raw vegetable juices, especially carrot and spinach juices, taken separately or in combination, are also beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure. If taken in combination, 300 ml of carrot juice and 200 ml of spinach juice should be mixed to make 500 ml or half a liter of the juice, and taken daily. If taken separately, one glass should be taken twice daily, morning and evening.
- Dietary Calcium and Potassium: Recent studies have revealed an important link between dietary calcium and potassium and hypertension. Researchers have found that people who are on potassium-rich diets have a low incidence of hypertension even if they do not control their salt intake. Potassium is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, and calcium in dairy products.
- Fish Oils: Fish oils supplements contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docohexaenoic acid (DHA) both of which can reduce high blood pressure naturally.
- Holly Leaf: Holly leaf also known as Ilex aquifolium helps in enhancing blood circulation by expanding the blood vessels and also simultaneously reduces cholesterol in the body. Therefore this herbal remedy is great for controlling high blood pressure and also keeping the mind calm.
- Flaxseed (Alsi): Flaxseed is very rich in fiber and therefore very effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and preserving HDL cholesterol. Flaxseeds should be consumed regularly along with soups, cereals and yogurt in order to reduce high blood pressure.