5 Steps To Manage And Bring Down High Blood Pressure
What Is High Blood Pressure
5 Ways To Prevent and Lower High Blood Pressure
Hypertension or commonly known as high blood pressure is often referred to as "the silent killer". This is kind of a misnomer since hypertension by itself do not kill but the other consequences resulting from the influence of high blood pressure do.
Since as over time the condition can lead to fatal internal organ malfunctions and serious medical conditions such as badly damaged blood vessels, heart diseases, stroke, brain damage, blindness and kidney failure. So it is imperative that a person is diagnosed with hypertension ought to lower down his or her blood pressure to prevent potentially fatal internal organ malfunctions and failures.
Furthermore, a hypertensive person may not know he has the condition as usually the condition displays little or no symptoms whatsoever except that when the blood pressure (BP) is very high in which some organ damages may have already occurred. This means your high blood pressure is creeping up on you stealthily and steadily thus escaping your detection until something bad happens. However, certain people may experience some form of symptoms such as mild headaches, some giddiness, flushing on the face, slight nausea, inconsequential muscle twitching now, perspiring for no reason or having blurred vision.
Although older people are more susceptible to getting high blood pressure, the disease can also afflict younger ones too. Despite the are many reasons why people develop high blood pressure, in many instances, it is simply hereditary in nature. That is to say if your parents have the condition, then you are more likely to have it too. It is also roughly estimated that around 10% of the people with the high blood pressure develop the condition from contributory medical factors such as hormonal imbalances and kidney disorder.
Our BP is the pressure caused by the heart pumping to circulate blood all over the body. High blood pressure is thus a condition in which the blood is pumped at a higher pressure than what it normally should be. So the blood circulatory system is constantly under the abnormal pressure and as a result of this and over a period of time, the blood vessels may either burst or the internal organs are being damaged causing severe and even potentially fatal organ failures and stroke.
It is thought that about 35% of people between the ages of 30 to 65 years old have high blood pressure although the percentages vary with various ethnicity. In other words, racial discrimination by mother nature.
Our blood pressure goes up and down all day long in the relation to our physical activities, general well being and emotional conditions such as stress and worries. So when checking your blood pressure, it needs to be done when you are resting say about 3 times a day so as to ascertain the average measurement for the day. Blood pressure will also jump upwards if your sodium intake is high or your blood vessels become hardened thus less flexible from the fat deposits in them or through heavy smoking. Regular alcohol consumption, drug abuse and being overweight can also lead to the unwanted elevation of your BP.
A BP reading of 120/80mmHg is deem to be normal and healthy. The number on the left is called the systolic pressure which indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart is pumping. The next number is the diastolic pressure which shows the blood pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxed in between the pumping motions. So it is vital to keep your BP reading at 120/80 and take action to prevent it from increasing above that.
Many people with the condition take their high blood pressure nonchalantly because there is almost no symptomatic manifestation of the disease and the affected people also seldom feel uneasy and as such, most people do not bother too much about it. This is where the silent lurking danger lies. Complacency such as this can lead to severe consequences and even death from kidney failure, sudden heart seizure and crippling stroke.
As such, even if you are not stricken by the condition, you should check and measure your blood pressure at least a couple of times each year. Marginally elevated blood pressure may return to normal when you cut down on salt consumption, quit smoking, avoiding alcoholic beverages, start exercising regularly and lose weight for those who are obese.
1) Eat healthily – For those who are under medical supervision, do adhere to the diet plan of your medical professional. Stay away from foods which are high in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. On the other hand, increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.
2) Avoid alcohol and don't smoke - Alcohol and smoking are linked to many dangerous diseases and hypertension is merely just one of them. So stop smoking and imbibe in alcohol less frequently and you may see a dip in your BP.
3) Lose weight - Many obese hypertensive patients managed to bring down their blood pressure simply by just losing weight. That is all it takes to get marginal high blood pressure down for some people. Use this diet plan to lose weight effectively.
4) Regular exercise – Just like with losing weight, regular exercise can also bring down your blood pressure not to say reaping the many health benefits that exercising regularly can do for you. Use this exercise plan to cure your blood pressure.
5) Avoid stress – Regular exercise can help you to reduce your stress and anxiety levels too, however do not overdo them as the reverse can also be true since too much exercise or prolonged ones will build up stress in the body and this will cause your BP to surge upwards.
Take short breaks from work, go for an easy and relaxed vacation, enjoy a full body massage now and then, go watch a funny movie and laugh or take up meditation or taichi classes. Try to relax whenever feelings of stress or anxiety arises since stress may increase your blood pressure.
If the above 5 steps are not enough to normalize your blood pressure, then medicines may be required to help do the job. Once you are on medication, it is vitally important to continue with the treatment and live a healthy lifestyle. Remember, please do not to let the "silent killer" assassinate you stealthily.
1) What are the high risk groups of people who are more likely to develop high blood pressure?
Perhaps the highest risk group are those with family members having high blood pressure as this condition is partly caused by hereditary and genetic issues.
Smokers are also at risks as smoking constricts the blood vessels. Since the blood vessels are constricted and narrowed, pressure builds up in the bloodstream and as such is putting a tremendous strain on the blood circulatory system.
Expecting mother to be may have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure, especially so during the first pregnancy as a result of various biological and physiological changes. On the other hand, certain birth control pills can also lead to hypertension for some women as they may cause the narrowing of the blood vessels and thus the heart have to pump harder to push the blood through the narrowed blood vessels.
The risk is also higher for people above the age of 35, especially so if these folks are leading a sedentary lifestyle or are obese.
Enjoying your alcohol in moderation is absolutely fine, however hypertension is linked to the over indulgence of alcohol. At risks are also people who eat too much fatty food especially food with a high concentration of saturated fat and too much salt.
Many clinical studies have firmly entrenched the connection of regular alcohol consumption with hypertension. However exactly how does alcohol induces the rise of blood pressure remains a mystery and thus is a controversial subject although there are several supposed or plausible assumptions on the matter.
Furthermore, frequent alcohol consumption may lead to obesity which is also a causation for high blood pressure since alcoholic beverages contain high levels of calories.
People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea is also in the high risk group. Obstructive sleep apnea is when a person's breathing is abruptly and repeatedly obstructed during sleep and this is usually caused by loud and robust snoring. On the other hand, research has shown that high blood pressure can in turn cause sleep apnea condition and even worsening the breathing interventions in sleep apnea patients.
2) You said in the article that regular exercise can help to lower high blood pressure, but my doctor has told me to avoid lifting weights. Why is this so?
There are basically two categories of exercises which you can do, which are the aerobic exercises which are more dynamic such as jogging or swimming and isometric exercises which is more static such as in lifting weights. Our bodies respond to both categories of exercises in different ways.
If you are doing an aerobic or cardio exercise, you are giving a good workout to your heart and lungs which is very beneficial for your blood circulation system making your blood vessels more flexible and pliable and so can facilitate blood flow more efficiently.
During an aerobic workout, your heart consistently pumps the blood with more force and your blood pressure rises accordingly causing the blood to flow to the muscles all over the body. As this is happening, it will mean that since the blood is flowing everywhere, your BP will not be elevated too much. In the long run, since your blood is now flowing more efficiently and the blood vessels are more pliable, this will help you to lower and reduce your BP over a period of time.
In isometric exercises such as in working out with weights, your blood pressure will rise during the exercise. This increase in pressure can sometimes be raised rather quickly in bursts and this in turn puts more sudden strain on the heart and the blood vessels.
This is because more blood flows to certain targeted muscle groups that are being worked on instead of to the entire body like in the aerobic exercises and because of this, there is less body parts for the blood to flow into thus resulting in spikes in the blood pressure and in turn straining the blood vessels and the heart. So these spurts of blood pressure may cause the hypertension to occasionally push past the unhealthy or even dangerous BP levels.
However, you need not avoid lifting weights completely. You can lift lighter weights with higher repetitions so that you do not cause sudden repetitive surges in your blood pressure to reach the unhealthy levels. Furthermore, if you are already on medication that have lowered your pressure to normal or near normal, then regular weight training should not be an issue unless directed otherwise by your medical professionals.
Daily walking or leisure swimming for about 20 to 30 minutes are good exercises for hypertension patients.
3) Are there any physical activities I should avoid when I have hypertension?
Your physical activities should not be too intensive or in bouts of spurts and should be only at a comfortably moderate level. If you cannot hold on to a casual conversation because you are panting and puffing, then you have reached the threshold limit.
Avoid activities and exercises that can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels within a short period of time or in bursts such as in sprinting or heavy weight lifting as described in Q&A 2 above unless you do it with a personal trainer who is knowledgeable in training clients with hypertension. Vigorous bursts of energy types of exercises such as soccer, sprinting, rugby, tennis, boxing, mix martial arts etc should also be avoided.
If you are a scuba diver, you will know that this leisure sport will put you under water pressure. So if you are going on a scuba diving trip, do consult a medical professional who is knowledgeable in the subject matter of scuba diving first.
4) Can high blood pressure be cured?
If your hypertension (secondary hypertension) is caused by other medical conditions such as in pregnancy, kidney problems, cardiac conditions, diabetes, sleep apnea, obesity or inefficient endocrine system among others, usually if those conditions are treated or removed, your blood pressure condition may be lowered or even returning to the normal level again.
However when your hypertension is not caused by other medical health conditions, then you can't cure it, but to diligently manage your blood pressure in order to keep it down and stable.
5) I am taking high blood pressure medicine prescribed by my doctor and I noticed that with the medication, my blood pressure is now in the healthy range. Can I stop taking those medications now that my pressure is back to normal?
This question is best answered by your doctor who is treating you and who knows the history of your hypertensive condition.
However as a general rule of the thumb, high blood pressure cannot be cured if your condition is not a secondary hypertension. Of course you can do things to reduce the pressure. If you are on medication, it is usually to be taken for a lifetime.
Your BP returning to normal level is largely because of the medication you are taking and if you stop taking them, then your BP may be elevated once again in the absence of medical intervention and if you are not careful, it may rise up to a dangerous level without you ever knowing it.
So it is very important to keep taking your medicines unless your doctor says otherwise. By keeping your blood pressure as close to the normal level as possible, you are protecting your internal organs from crippling or even fatal damages. So do beware of the dangers since we are dealing with the deadly silent and stealthy killer here.
6) Are there any natural vitamins, minerals or supplements I can take to reduce my blood pressure?
Vitamin D - It is estimated that up to 70% of people are having vitamin D deficiency and especially so if you do not get out in the sun often enough or that you have a darker skin complexion or that you are elderly or are overweight. Vitamin D deficiency issues are very complex in nature and at the same time are rather controversial as well and we will not go into that except in regards to high blood pressure per se.
Go to your doctor for a test to see whether you are deficient in this vitamin and if so, taking vitamin D supplement can help in reducing your blood pressure since people with adequate vitamin D are less likely to develop hypertension according to several medical studies. You can also naturally produce more vitamin D when your skin comes into contact with sunlight. So get out into the open outdoors more often and at the same time, enjoy your leisurely strolls so as to reduce your stress level.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Namely EPA and DHA which are usually found in cold water fishes like salmons and tunas and in certain plants, seeds and nuts. You can search in the internet for more information on these foods.
Coenzyme Q10 - Commonly referred to as CoQ10 is a very powerful antioxidant and can be found in most cells in the body. Antioxidants are needed to mop up free radicals which can damage oxygen ions which in turn cause damages to our cells as well as our DNA.
Among the many health and anti aging benefits of CoQ10 is that it may better regulate your BP so much so that The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database has declared CoQ10 as "possibly effective" for the treatment of high blood pressure. Well, as far as I know, the science is still out there on this.
There were quite a few studies on CoQ10 which suggest (although it is just a suggestion, but no harm trying) that it can lower blood pressure when hypertensive patients were taking the supplement. However the studies also suggests that CoQ10 should be consumed for a couple of months before any effects can be seen, that is, if at all as some people may respond to this form of treatment while others may not.
Resveratrol - Resveratrol is a compound that behaves like an antioxidant and is from the group of compounds called polyphenols. It is usually but not exclusively found in grapes and red wine. It can also be found in some berries and nuts. Just like CoQ10, the antioxidative effect of resveratrol have many health benefits especially for heart health, improving brain function, lowering of your BP and some anti-aging effect.
Watch Dr Josh Axe explaining how to lower your blood pressure naturally
Ideal blood pressure measurement in accordance to a person's age diagram.