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 a 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 damaged blood vessels, heart diseases, stroke, brain damage, blindness and kidney failure. So it is imperative that a person diagnosed with hypertension ought to lower down his or her blood pressure to prevent internal organ damages 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. This means your high blood pressure is creeping up on you stealthily. However, some people may experience slight headaches, some giddiness, redness in the face, feeling nausea, slight muscle twitching, perspiring profusely or having impaired vision.
Although middle aged people are more susceptible to getting high blood pressure, the disease can also afflict younger people too. Also around 10% of the people with the high blood pressure get it due to contributory medical conditions such as hormonal issues and kidney problems.
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 consistantly stressed under the abnormal pressure and as a result of this over a period of time, the blood vessels may burst and the internal organs are being damaged causing severe and even fatal organ failures and stroke.
It is estimated that around 35% of people between the ages of 30 to 65 years have developed high blood pressure although the percentages vary with various ethnicity and race. In other words, racial discrimination by mother nature.
Our blood pressure goes fluctuates all day long in response to our physical activities and our emotions. So when measuring your blood pressure, it has got to be in a condition when you are resting say around 3 times a day to get the average measurement. Blood pressure will also bump upwards if your sodium consumption is high or your blood vessels become more rigid due to the fat deposits in them or heavy smoking. Smoking, regular alcohol consumption, drug abuse and obesity can also lead to the unwanted elevation of your BP.
A BP reading of 120/80mmHg is deemed to be at a healthy level. 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 indicates the blood pressure in the arteries when the heart is in a relaxed state in between the pumping actions. So it is important to keep your measurement at 120/80 and take steps to prevent it from rising above that.
Many affected people take high blood pressure lightly because there are almost no symptomatic manifestation and the affected people also seldom have uncomfortable feelings and as such, people do not bother 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 sudden stroke.
As such, you should check and measure your blood pressure at least a couple of times a year. Marginally elevated blood pressure may return to normal when you cut down on salt consumption, start exercising on a regular basis 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. Step up your consumption of fruits and vegetables. Also cut down on salt intake (have to emphasize this again).
2) Avoid alcohol and don't smoke - Alcohol and smoking are linked to many diseases and hypertension is merely one of them. So stop smoking and imbibe in alcohol less frequently.
3) Lose weight - Many obese hypertensive patients normalized their blood pressure simply by just losing weight. That is all it takes to get marginal high blood pressure down. 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 arise since stress may increase your blood pressure.
If the above 5 steps are not enough to bring down 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" quietly assassinate you.
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 and as such is putting a strain on the blood circulatory system causing the rise in the pressure.
Pregnant women have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure, especially on the first pregnancy due to various biological and physiological factors. 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 force the blood through the constricted 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 studies have firmly established the association of regular alcohol consumption with high blood pressure. However the mechanisms of exactly how alcohol induces the increase in blood pressure remains a mystery and thus is a controversial subject although there are several supposed or plausible assumptions on the matter.
People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea is also in the high risk group. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a person's breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted 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 actually cause sleep apnea condition and even worsen the breathing interruptions that already existed 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, mainly the aerobic exercises which is dynamic in nature such as jogging or swimming and isometric exercises which is more static such as in weightlifting. Our bodies respond to both types of exercises in different ways.
If you are doing an aerobic exercise, you are giving a good workout to your heart and lungs which is very beneficial to your blood circulation system making your blood vessels more flexible and thus they can function more efficiently.
During an aerobic workout, your heart consistently pumps the blood harder than when you are resting for the duration of the exercise and the blood pressure rises accordingly causing the blood to flow to the muscles all over the body. As this is taking place, it means that since the blood is flowing everywhere and your BP will not be elevated too much. In the long run, since your blood is now flowing more fluidly and the blood vessels are more flexible, this will help you to lower and reduce your BP in for a longer period of time
In isometric exercises such as weight lifting, 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 area for the blood to flow into thus resulting in a rapid rise in blood pressure and in turn straining the blood vessels and the heart. So these spurts of increased blood pressure may cause the hypertension to occasionally push through 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 massive spurts in blood pressure to reach the undesirable levels or if your medication has already lowered your blood pressure to near normal or normal level.
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 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 for a short period of time or in bursts such as in 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 activity will put you under water pressure. So if you are going on a scuba diving expedition, 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.
5) I am taking high blood pressure medicines 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 medications you are taking and if you stop taking them, then your BP may be elevated once again in the absence of medical treatment 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 say 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 some plant, 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 as supervised. 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 treatment and others not.
Resveratrol - Resveratrol is a compound that behaves like an antioxidant and is from the group of compounds known as 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.