Do you know that high blood pressure, or hypertension affects about 70 million adults, or one out of every three Americans? Even quite common, this condition can be controlled, but you need to know its warning signs and treat it adequately, on time.
Additionally, hypertension is responsible for numerous other diseases like, heart disease and stroke and is a direct cause of kidney disease and kidney failure.
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.
However, fortunately, numerous experts claim that a healthy diet and regular exercise you can effectively prevent and treat high blood pressure.
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. The standard medical treatment for this disease includes recommendations for a reduced amount of salt in food, diuretics, the harmful beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitor drugs.
These provide some relief, but they do not treat the cause of the problem, and may even cause other health issues. For instance, the advised extreme salt reduction in order to treat the symptoms of hypertension remains questionable, controversial, and even destructive.
Namely, blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries when the heart blood, and when it is too high, it leads to hypertension. However, most of the patients who suffer from hypertension experience do signs or symptoms, even when their blood pressure readings are at extremely elevated levels.
The measurement of blood pressure shows two numbers, showing two distinct pressures. The first number shows the systolic pressure, or the blood pressure during the heart beating while pumping blood. The second number shows the diastolic pressure, which is the blood pressure between heartbeats when the heart is resting.
The different blood pressure ranges are as following:
– Normal: Lower than 120/80
– Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89
– Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–159/90–99
– Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
As already mentioned, high blood pressure doesn’t have any symptoms. But some common symptoms include chest pain, confusion, vision problems, irregular heartbeat, nosebleeds, headaches, buzzing, and fatigue.
Once you notice some of these symptoms, you must react quickly in order to control the blood pressure. This is important since the life expectancy of people with high blood pressure at the age of 50 is 5 years shorter than those with normal blood pressure.
In 2013, there were more than 360,000 Americans who died as a result of high blood pressure as a major or contributing factor. On a daily basis, that’s about 1,000 deaths, which makes high blood pressure an alarming and dangerous health problem that needs serious prevention and treatment.
Moreover, hypertension can increase the risk of numerous other health problems, such as:
– Chronic heart failure: Studies indicate that 7 of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have elevated blood pressure levels.
– Metabolic syndrome: The hypertension symptoms elevate the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of three or more of these health conditions: high blood sugar, abdominal obesity, high triglyceride levels, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
– Eye problems: Vision loss can be caused by narrowed, thickened, or torn blood vessels in the eyes, due to high blood pressure.
– An aneurysm: High blood pressure can lead to bulged or weakened blood vessels, leading to an aneurysm, which in case it ruptures, can cause death.
– First heart attack: Approximately 1 of every 10 people who experience their first heart attack have increased blood pressure.
– First stroke: About 8 of every 10 people experiencing their first stroke have hypertension.
– Memory issues: High blood pressure may impede the ability to learn, think, and remember, memorize and understand concepts.
High Blood Pressure vs. Low Blood Pressure
Along with other health changes, aging also causes an elevated risk of both blood pressures, low and high blood pressure.
As we said earlier, these are the values that determine the boundaries low blood pressure, high blood pressure and normal blood pressure:
– Low blood pressure or hypotension: Lower than 90/60
– Normal: Lower than 120/80
– Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89
– Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–159/90–99
– Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
– High Blood Pressure
Usually, as the blood pressure levels raise, the person does not feel any specific symptoms. However, some of the most common signs are:
– Irregular heartbeat
– Ear noise or buzzing
– Vision changes
– Chest pains
Low Blood Pressure
These are some of the most important facts about low blood pressure:
– In most cases, chronic low blood pressure, which doesn’t cause any symptoms, is not serious
– Usually, the person has a sudden blood pressure drop as soon s/he stands up from a lying position or vice versa. Another hypotension type appears when a person in a standing position for a long time, known as mediated hypotension.
– About 10-20% of people older than 65 have postural hypotension.
– If the blood pressure has a sudden drop, the brain is prevented from getting the proper blood supply and can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness, and this is the case when you should be concerned
– Aging impedes the proper blood flow to the brain and heart muscle, resulting in plaque accumulation in the blood vessels.
Your condition is not serious at all if you don’t feel some symptoms of hypotension. Many doctors state that it will become dangerous once the chronic hypotension causes symptoms like the following:
Fast, shallow breathing
Dehydration and strange thirst
Cold, pale, clammy skin
Lack of concentration
Fainting (called syncope)
Also, this health problem can appear with:
Severe infection (septic shock)
Neurally mediated hypotension
Allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) — the signs are breathing problems, hives, itching, swollen throat, and a sudden, dramatic drop in the blood pressure. Occasionally, it can be the fatal allergic reaction in people highly sensitive to foods like peanuts, bee or wasp stings, or drugs like penicillin.
Some medications, like diuretics and some other drugs prescribed for hypertension treatment; tricyclic antidepressants; drugs for Parkinson’s disease; drugs for erectile dysfunction, specifically combined with nitroglycerin; heart medications like beta blockers; narcotics and alcohol. It can as well be caused by other over-the-counter drugs if combined with HBP medications.
Decreases in blood volume
Prolonged bed rests
Nutritional deficiencies — A deficiency in the vitamins B12 and folic acid which can cause anemia and its symptoms, which lead to hypotension.
Diet in case of High Blood Pressure Symptoms
We should agree that hypertension is a common and serious health problem that requires full attention as soon as possible since 2/3 of the population suffer either from prehypertension or hypertension. A healthy diet is one of the most effective natural methods for hypertension treatment.
These foods worsen the symptoms of hypertension and you should be avoided:
Sugar —increased sugar intake aggravates the condition in case of hypertension. Many studies have actually shown that sugar consumption can be worse than salt in case of high blood sugar.
Trans fats and omega-6 fats — they are contained in packaged foods and conventional meats. They cause inflammation and high blood pressure.
Alcohol — since it narrows the arteries and increases the blood pressure, alcohol intake should be moderate. Healthy men and women over the age of 65 can consume 1 drink a day, and men younger than 65 can consume up to 2 drinks.
High-sodium foods —Usage of high-quality salts is fine, but canned and processed foods with high concentration of soda should be most strictly avoided.
Caffeine — since excessive caffeine intake can increase the blood pressure, if you have hypertension, you should lower the daily coffee intake, as well as of other drinks with high amounts of caffeine.
Foods that are beneficial for the treatment of hypertension:
Foods rich in Omega-3– these include grass-fed beef, wild -caught salmon, flaxseeds, and chia seeds which reduce the inflammation.
Foods rich in fiber— Base your diet on unprocessed high-fiber foods, such as seeds, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Mediterranean diet —it includes foods beneficial for the treatment of hypertension like fruits, healthy omega-3 fat oils, seafood, olive oil, vegetables, and wild-caught fish
Tea — the most beneficial one for hypertension treatment is the white tea since it thins the blood and drastically improves the function of the arteries. The best way to consume this tea is a few times a day in order to reduce the blood pressure and prevent other serious health problems, such as stroke.
Dark chocolate — the most beneficial dark chocolate contains at least 200 milligrams of cocoa phenols which cause reduction of the blood pressure.
Foods rich in potassium — Incorporating a diet rich in potassium is a crucial part of blood pressure control since it diminishes the side effects of sodium on the body, stated by the American Heart Association. These foods include bananas, melons, avocados, and coconut water.
Apple cider vinegar — this vinegar is rich in potassium, it naturally alkalizes the body and lowers the blood pressure.
Supplementation is another crucial part of the hypertension treatment. The most important supplements include:
1. Magnesium– It naturally relaxes the blood vessels and lowers the blood pressure. The recommended beginning daily dosage is 500 mg before bedtime.
2. Coenzyme Q10- CoQ10 is a crucial antioxidant which supports heart health and is beneficial if you take or have taken drugs for reducing the cholesterol or blood pressure. To lower your blood pressure in a natural way, take 200 to 300 mg a day.
3. Fish Oil– According to many studies, fish oil consumption lowers the inflammation of the arteries, which lead to hypertension. This oil is especially rich in EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acid forms and supports the heart health. The recommended daily dosage of fish oil for reducing the blood pressure is 1,000 mg.
4. Garlic- It naturally increases the nitric oxide amounts in the blood and widens blood vessels since garlic is a natural vasodilator. Besides raw, you can consume it as a supplement in a liquid form or as a pill.
A 2016 study showed that aged garlic reduces the central and peripheral blood pressure in cases of uncontrolled hypertension. It’s also beneficial in cases of arterial stiffness, inflammation etc.
5. Cocoa- This is another natural vasodilator. You can consume it in the form of powder since it increases the flavonols amounts which lower the blood pressure and enhance the blood flow to the heart and brain.
Here are the most effective natural ways to treat hypertension:
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils reduce emotional stress, have strong antioxidant properties and thus reduce oxidative stress and dilate arteries, so they effectively lower blood pressure. The best essential oils for this cause include lavender, neroli, along, clary sage, frankincense and sweet marjoram. You can add a few drops of the essential oil to your lotion of carrier oil and massage your body, or use them in a diffuser.
2. Reduce Stress
Stress raises blood pressure, so you should practice regular relaxation methods like meditation, deep breathing, walks in nature, healing prayer and the like, which will help you relax, calm and reduce blood pressure.
3. Physical Activity and Exercise
Exercise and regular physical activity can help you lose excess weight and reduce blood pressure. For best results, engage in some physical activity and/or exercise for at least 20 minutes every day, while adolescents and children should regularly get an hour of physical activity.
Risk Factors and main causes of hypertension
Hypertension is most prevalent in adults, but this does not mean that children are not at risk. They may suffer from hypertension symptoms caused by kidney or heart issues. However, nowadays, children who struggle with high blood pressure are dealing with it too young, due to poor lifestyle routines, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, which lead to children hypertension and obesity.
High blood pressure can be a result of numerous risk factors, but fortunately, most of them can be controlled. This include:
Family history — It may often be an issue which runs in families.
Age — Hypertension increases with age, and it is most common in men under the age of 45. Women most often develop it after the age of 65.
Excess body weight — The higher the body weight, the more blood is required in order to provide nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. The pressure on the artery walls and the blood pressure increase with the volume of blood circulated through the blood vessels.
Race — It is particularly common among African-Americans and is earlier developed than in Caucasians. African-Americans who suffer from hypertension more commonly experience serious complications, like kidney failure, stroke, and heart attacks.
Tobacco use — Smoking or chewing tobacco immediately increase blood pressure temporarily. The chemicals included in tobacco cause damage to the lining of your artery walls, which leads to narrowing of the arteries and thus to hypertension, Also, hypertension can also be caused by secondhand smoke.
Physically inactivity — Individuals who are physically inactive are more prone to high heart rates. The higher the heart rate, the stronger the force on arteries and the harder the heart needs to work with every contraction. Moreover, the risk of obesity is increased with the lack of exercise and physical activity, which cause sedentary lifestyle which can be especially harmful.
Excessive use of alcohol — Excessive alcohol use damages the heart health over time. The blood pressure is negatively influenced by more than 2 drinks daily for men and more than 1 drink in case of women.
Potassium deficiency — This important mineral balances the amount of sodium of the cells in the body, which means that its deficiency leads to sodium buildup in the blood stream.
Stress — High levels of stress can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure.
Pregnancy — It may contribute to hypertension at times.
Certain chronic conditions — Some chronic conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes, and kidney disease may raise the risk of hypertension.
Sodium-rich diet — Excessive amounts of sodium or salt in the diet leads to fluid retention which raises blood pressure.
Important facts about High Blood Pressure
Hypertension raises the risk for other serious health issues, like stroke, heart attack, chronic heart failure, metabolic syndrome, memory issues and aneurysm, and eye problems.
1 of 5 adults in America who suffers from hypertension is not aware of it, as it can show no symptoms, even when it has reached seriously high levels.
It affects about 70 million adults in the United States or 1 of every 3 American adults. Moreover, 1 out of 3 adults who do not have it is on the edge of developing it.
Diastolic blood pressure is when the heart is resting between beats while systolic blood pressure is when the heart beats while pumping blood.
Foods that need to be avoided in the case of high blood pressure include sugar, caffeine, alcohol, trans fats and omega-6 fats, high-sodium foods. On the other hand, foods that help in this case include high-potassium foods, Mediterranean diet foods, omega-3 foods, high-fiber foods, dark chocolate, tea, and apple cider vinegar. Also, the use of supplements and the necessary lifestyle changes can help a lot in the treatment of hypertension.
Although the increasing of blood pressure may not show and symptoms, still the usual signs are nosebleeds, vision changes, chest pains, headaches, ear noise or buzzing, confusion, irregular heartbeat, or tiredness.