High blood pressure is a dreaded disease that usually sets in during the adult years (40 years old and older). It can be defined simply as, “a common condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems…” High blood pressure per se may not be a cause for worry, instead what you should be concerned about is the complications that arise from it, as they can be debilitating and even fatal.
The ideal blood pressure reading for adults is less than 120/80 mmHg for persons who do not have any other chronic diseases. A reading of over 120/80 indicates prehypertension (120 to 139 over 81 to 89), stage 1 hypertension (140 to 159 over 90 to 99), stage 2 hypertension (160 and over to 100 and over) and hypertensive crisis (higher than 180 over higher than 110).
The cause of primary high blood pressure is unknown, thus its other name “essential hypertension”. Essential hypertension accounts for 95 percent of all high blood pressure cases. However, several risk factors can increase the likelihood of having the disease. It's worth mentioning that most of these factors are preventable by lifestyle and behavioral changes and there are a few over which we have no control.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
- Age – As you grow older, your risk for this disease goes higher. It's more common in men through middle age and in women when they reach menopause.
- Genes – Persons with one or both parents having high blood pressure are at greater risk for the disease than those who don’t. Around 30 percent of primary hypertension can be traced to genetic factors.
- Overweight or Obesity – Being overweight is measured as having a body mass index between 25 and 29.9 and obesity as having a body mass index of 30 and higher.
- Lack of Exercise – Physical inactivity leads to higher heart rates. This, in turn, increases the work on the heart and the force on the arteries.
- Too Much Fat and Salt in the Diet – Salt causes fluid retention in your body and fat adds to the cholesterol deposits in the arterial walls. Both can trigger high blood pressure.
- Smoking – The chemicals in cigarettes can cause an acute attack of hypertension and chronic injury to the arterial walls, increasing blood pressure. Second hand smoke has the same effect.
- Stress – Stress releases the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which can elevate blood pressure over time.
- Too Much Alcohol – Alcohol coats the blood vessels and arterial walls, increasing tension. It also depletes the body of calcium and magnesium, essential minerals that help maintain normal blood pressure levels.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure may be present but some people do not feel any symptoms while others may experience dizziness, headache, nape pain or nose bleeding. It's easy for a doctor to diagnose high blood pressure. A consistently high reading of blood pressure over 120/80 is hypertension and treatment should commence immediately. There is no cure for high blood pressure; you must manage and control it so that it remains at a normal level.
People with high blood pressure have a higher risk of getting heart attack, stroke, diabetes, congestive heart failure and other diseases affecting the vital organs, memory and comprehension. Don’t wait for this silent killer to rear its ugly head and maim or kill you. Convert to a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise and a positive attitude. To complement a lifestyle change, take natural supplements that have undergone research and been found to help control high blood pressure. Here are some guidelines you can follow so that you can prevent high blood pressure or manage it properly.
- Avoid too much fats and salt in your diet. Fast food offerings such as hamburgers, French fries, milk shakes and pizzas, and processed foods contain high sodium and fats. So do red meats and dairy products. Stick to broiled chicken without the skin, fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
- Make exercise a regular part of your life. An exercise regimen of three to four times a week at 30 minutes to 1 hour each time is good. Do cardiovascular activities such as brisk walking, swimming, biking and aerobics.
- A combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise can also keep obesity at bay. Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for hypertension.
- Don’t smoke and limit your alcohol intake to the physician’s recommended amount.
- Learn how to manage stress with coping techniques like meditation, deep breathing and yoga, or simply change your attitude when faced with a stressful situation.
- Take natural and organic supplements that contain ingredients, vitamins and minerals to aid in the prevention or management of high blood pressure.
Look for products that contain vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin D (ergocalciferol) and vitamin B complex (niacin, thiamine and riboflavin), vitamin B6 and B12.
Read the label and look for the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, chromium and zinc. Other ingredients that reduce high blood pressure are alpha-linoleic acid, blond psyllium, cayenne, horsetail leaf and many others.
Natural compounds and herbs that help in blood pressure control are CoQ10 (ubiquinone), garlic, Hawthorne berry, lecithin, grape seed extract and fish oils (Omega-3 fatty acids, cod liver oil, flax seeds, etc.).
When it comes to hypertension, there are several options and various ways to control high blood pressure. Success may come from one supplement or several of them working synergistically, and the best results may come from not just changing your diet but also your lifestyle.
High blood pressure is a killer disease. It's never too early to prevent it from coming into your life, or taking the necessary steps to manage it. Help your body fight high blood pressure by eating the right foods, exercising and having a positive outlook. Don’t forget to take the vitamins and supplements that come from nature’s resources.
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