If you were asked to guess one of the leading causes of death, what would you say? Heart disease? If so, you would be right, but what if I told you it's one of the contributing factors of heart disease-related deaths that's at the center of a national health alert, being called a "silent killer"? It's high blood pressure, and it's a bigger problem than you may think.
A report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimated 67 million American adults have high blood pressure and more than half of them don't have their condition under control. The organization considers high blood pressure the second biggest threat to health after tobacco.
What High Blood Pressure Is
When you hear your blood pressure is high, you may be wondering what's exactly happening. It takes force to keep blood moving constantly throughout the body. This force is your blood pressure and when too much force is used, the arteries begin to stretch and develop microscopic tears. As the tears heal, developing scar tissue in the arteries, they can become collection spots for white blood cells and plaque, leading to blockages and increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
There are two numbers to consider in the blood pressure ratio, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Ideally, the systolic number, listed first, should be below 120 and the diastolic should be less than 80. Anyone whose blood pressure reads at or above 140/90 is considered to have high blood pressure, according to the CDC.
Natural Solutions to Bring Down Your Number
Your age, diet, level of physical activity and family history can all be contributing factors to your risk of developing high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease and congestive heart failure. While medications are available to help lower blood pressure levels, there are also natural solutions to try as well:
Calcium and Magnesium -- In addition to protecting the bones and teeth, these two minerals help maintain the health of the blood vessels, supporting normal blood pressure levels.
Hawthorn Berry -- This plant contains several antioxidants, called flavonoids, that assist in regulating blood flow and maintaining proper pressure levels.
Grape Seed Extract -- Also rich in antioxidants, grape seed extract promotes proper cardiovascular and arterial function.
Garlic -- Not just for cooking, garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and maintains the integrity of the blood vessels.
Casein -- This milk protein helps protect the body from the effects of the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), which is part of the blood pressure regulation process.
Speak with your doctor before adding any of these supplements to your routine, especially if you're currently being treated for high blood pressure with medication. These natural solutions can help you get this important number back under control, keeping you safe from this silent killer.
Smart Lifestyle Changes
Here are some additional tips for managing your blood pressure from the American Heart Association (AHA), which estimates one in three adults has high blood pressure:
Stress can worsen high blood pressure, so find ways to de-stress everyday.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet, limiting your salt intake when possible.
Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight for your height.
Limit alcohol consumption and stop smoking or make an effort to avoid tobacco smoke.
The AHA also stresses one important tip: Stick to your treatment plan. Whether you're on prescription medications or supplements, following a special diet or starting a new exercise routine, following these steps carefully can only lead to improved health. Staying dedicated to your health and wellness can help you live a longer, more active life.
Shop for blood pressure supplements at eVitamins and take yourself out of the danger zone.
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