How To Keep Healthy Blood Pressure
Blood is carried by the arteries from the heart throughout the body. Blood pressure is the measure of how hard the blood is pushing against the inside of the arteries. Although a certain amount of pressure is needed to carry blood through the body, if that pressure is too high, it causes a health condition known as high blood pressure, or hypertension. Hypertension is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. In Canada, it has been estimated that 6 million adults have high blood pressure. Many are not aware of the problem. Approximately one-third of people with hypertension do not receive adequate treatment to control their blood pressure.
How The Blood Pressure Is Measured?
The blood pressure reading is based on two measures called systolic and diastolic. The systolic (top) number is the measure of the pressure force when your heart contracts and pushes out the blood. The diastolic (low) number is the measure of when your heart relaxes between beats.
Blood pressure is always recorded as the systolic number over the diastolic number, and the numbers indicate pressure as measured in mm Hg. There are three categories for blood pressure; Low risk: 120 / 80, Medium risk: 121-139 / 80 - 89, and High risk: 140+ / 90. However there are a few exceptions to this, for example, for diabetics the numbers should be kept less than 130 / 80.
What Are The Main Causes of High Blood Pressure?
Primary (or essential) hypertension is when the cause is unknown, which also constitutes the majority of the cases of hypertension. When there is an underlying problem such as kidney disease or hormonal disorders that can cause hypertension, it is called secondary hypertension. When it is possible to correct the underlying cause, high blood pressure usually improves and may even return to normal.
Other factors can also contribute to high blood pressure including; age (blood pressure usually increases with age), diet (high Sodium, high cholesterol), excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, obesity, sleep disorders, and stress.
What Are The Symptoms & Complications of The High Blood Pressure?
High Blood pressure can occasionally cause headaches, vision problems, dizziness, or shortness of breath, but in most people hypertension does not show any symptom. This is why hypertension is referred to as the "silent killer." Hypertension is usually detected at a regular medical visits.
Statistical analysis suggests that cardiovascular disease risk doubles for each of 20 mm Hg systolic and 10 mm Hg diastolic increase above 115/75 mm Hg. These findings become even more concerning due to the fact that half of adults worldwide have blood pressure levels ranging from 120/80 to 139/89 mm Hg. Data suggests that blood pressure in this range is linked to a nearly 20% increased risk of declining kidney function; this correlation is greater in older individuals.
How Diet & lifestyle Can Help To Improve High Blood Pressure?
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is referred to as DASH diet. DASH recommends high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat dairy products, and prefers fish and chicken over red meat. DASH is low in saturated fat, triglycerides, cholesterol, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and it restricts sodium and alcohol; while, it is really high in fiber about 31 g/day and potassium (4.7 g/day).
Research indicates that the DASH diet along with weight loss intervention and supervised exercise for 3 times weekly, helped reduce systolic blood pressure by 16.1 mm Hg and reduce weight by 19.2 lbs in overweight men and women with above-normal blood pressure.
DASH is very similar to Mediterranean diet with similar foods. This dietary protocol has a great research record associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of malignancies. Restricting consumption of alcoholic beverages in both men and women effectively reduces blood pressure.
Weight loss helps to reduce blood pressure by about 5-20 mm Hg, especially in population under 60 years of age.
Regular exercise helps with an average reductions in blood pressure. Even taking small steps such as avoiding prolonged sitting combined with light intensity walking is shown to help lowering blood pressure.
Acute stress can cause short time blood pressure spikes. Stress response contributes to release of the stress hormones from adrenal glands, which increases heart rate , constricts blood vessel, and raises blood pressure. It is shown that individuals with stronger responses to acute psychological stress are 21% more likely to develop hypertension. Effectively stress management helps improving blood pressure and overall health.
Inflammation and the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are shown to increase blood pressure in people with tendency to hypertension, and increased risk of developing chronic kidney conditions.
Which Natural Products Can Help to Improve Hypertension (High blood Pressure)?
Coenzyme Q10 helps improve endothelial function which is a concern especially for those treated for high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. CoQ10 may also contribute to nitrogen oxide production which promotes vasodilatation. Blood pressure lowering effects of CoQ10 is supported by controlled trails.
Grape seed extract is a rich source of grape polyphenols contributing to improve endothelial function in both healthy subjects and in those at high cardiovascular risk. Improving endothelial function effectively lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This improvement was almost double in those with the highest blood pressure. Grape seed extract also helps improve glucose levels. Clinical trials suggest the improvement are detectable within 30‒60 minutes after ingestion.
A randomized clinical study compared the blood-pressure-lowering effects of olive leaf extract with a commonly prescribed antihypertensive in patients with stage 1 hypertension. Both groups experienced reductions in systolic and diastolic pressure, with no significant difference in the effects of the two compounds. The Olive leaf’s antihypertensive mechanism of action is found to be similar to prescriptions.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered highly important cardio protective nutrients. Higher omega 3 intake helps lowering the inflammatory markers, bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides. It helps to improve cell membranes and signalling across cell membranes. Comprehensive number of studies and research suggest taking about 3-4 g of EPA and DHA combined daily helps lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure, as well as for those without hypertension at 2 g daily.
Epidemiology data shows those with high blood pressure have lower intakes of magnesium than those with normal blood pressure. Low magnesium intake is associated with greater risk of heart disease and declined kidney function. Magnesium improves endothelial function, naturally it is a calcium channel blocker and a vasodilator. Taking 500 -1000 mg of magnesium daily contributes to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In addition, magnesium may help improve the function of the antihypertensives.
Melatonin is well-known and widely used as a natural sleep aid. Melatonin is naturally released from pineal gland at night to promote restful sleep and help regulate circadian (day-night) body rhythms. In addition, melatonin acts on the central and peripheral nervous system. Peripherally, melatonin helps relax blood vessels and promote vasodilatation, which reduces blood pressure. Melatonin participate in down regulating over stimulation of sympathetic nervous system, which is identified as a contributor to high blood pressure. Melatonin helps stabilize nocturnal hypertension. 2‒3 mg of slow release melatonin at bedtime helps reduce both nocturnal systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Amino Acid L-arginine is an excellent vasodilator which is shown to help lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when taken in dosages ranging from 4 to 24 g per day.
Hawthorn extract contributes to several cardiovascular benefits. Hawthorn has long been used in herbal medicine with many supportive studies for its beneficial effects on heart conditions such as mild heart failure, hypertension, and elevated blood lipids.
Quercetin belongs to flavonoid group responsible for plant pigments and it is found in many fruits and vegetables. Quercetin supplementation helps reduce cardiovascular disease, supported by both human and animal research. Quercetin helps reducing blood pressure via different mechanisms, one of which is thought to be acting as an angiotensin receptor blocker.
How To Safely Control Blood Pressure?
Hypertensive conditions such as an extreme and sudden increase in blood pressure can lead to a stroke and/or damage to other organs. Any blood pressure reading of 180/120 mm Hg or higher is considered dangerous and must seek immediate medical attention and would require medical treatment. Dietary changes and taking supplements are considered only after blood pressure has become under control. Combination of natural supplements with other antihypertensive prescriptions should be employed only as per advise and under care of a healthcare practitioner.
It is important to know your blood pressure numbers and it is even more important to keep it controlled. Even a small increase in blood pressure contributes to a great change in quality of life and life expectancy. Identify the underlying causes such as; hormonal imbalance, thyroid and adrenal conditions, weight gain, stress, sleep disorders, and high sodium diet. Once underlying causes are corrected, the blood pressure would normalize too.
Articles and products featured by Health Palace are collected from a variety of sources and are provided as a service by Health Palace. These newsletters, while of potential interest to readers, do not necessarily represent the opinions nor constitute the advice of Health Palace. Presented materials are only for information purposes and do not intent to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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