High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) refers to the pressure being put on your arterial walls when the heart pumps blood through your body. It can be easily measured with a cuff wrapped around the bicep by a doctor, an at home kit or in many pharmacies. The pressure against the arterial wall is measure both when the heart pumps, and when the heart rests between pumps.
High blood pressure has been linked to many serious diseases and conditions including stroke, congestive heart failure, aorta aneurysms, and kidney failure. The importance of monitoring your blood pressure cannot be overstated. Because there are no easily identifiable symptoms of high blood pressure, Millions of people who have high blood pressure don’t know it and usually find out in a doctor’s appointment for an entirely different condition.
High Blood Pressure Causes
There are many causes for high blood pressure that can be eliminated with individual effort. Sadly, because high blood pressure reveals no immediate symptoms, over 60 million people in the United States alone may suffer from high blood pressure. Below is a list of causes that can be controlled or corrected:
• Obesity: Being overweight can significantly increase your chances of having high blood pressure. In almost every instance of high blood pressure in an obese individual, doctors recommend losing weight as an immediate action.
• Sodium: Almost everything we eat contains sodium (salt), yet our bodies only need very little. High levels of salt intake can lead to hypertension, high blood pressure and eventual heart or kidney failure. Moreover, some people are more sensitive to sodium than others, so there is no safe indulgence level to go by. Particularly if your family has a history of high blood pressure, avoid excess sodium. (Read the labels of everything you ingest, including painkillers – you’d be surprised how much sodium you consume).
• Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol abuse is described as having at least one drink a day, but there is no real static amount that constitutes abuse or addiction. Studies have shown that people who enjoy a liberal amount of alcohol on a daily basis tend to have higher blood pressure.
• Birth Control Pills: Many women who take birth control pills notice an increase in blood pressure. If you take birth control, have your blood pressure taken every few months.
• Inactivity: Lack of exercise is linked directly to obesity, but studies show that even individuals who are not obese (fall under 30kg/m2 BMI) can have high blood pressure due to inactivity.
• Other Drugs: Antihistamines and amphetamines can also cause high blood pressure. These ingredients are commonly found in allergy medication, cold medication, and diet and energy pills.
Other causes of high pressure are evident, but cannot be controlled:
• Age Demographic: Studies show that as you get older, your arteries start to harden. Because of this, your chances of having high blood pressure increases as you get older.
• Race Demographic: Certain races of people are more prone to having high blood pressure. Studies show that African Americans tend to develop high blood pressure earlier in life, and generally have more severe complications related to hypertension.
• Gender Demographic: Men statistically have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure.
• Heredity: If someone in your family has high blood pressure, or there is a history of high blood pressure in your family, you have a much greater risk. Taking extra precautions is necessary.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Early symptoms of high blood pressure are usually undetectable. Sometimes called the silent killer, high blood pressure often goes completely undetected until severe symptoms or conditions are evident. Some general early signs of high blood pressure are:
• Blurred Visions
The symptoms listed above are fairly generic and can also be symptoms for underlying issues such as stroke or heart attack, or can simply be due to a fever. This is why it is so important to get your blood pressure checked. Some more severe symptoms or effects of chronic high blood pressure include:
• Heart Failure
• Kidney Failure
• Heart Attack
• Aorta aneurysms
• Eye damage / vision loss
High Blood Pressure Diets (Natural Remedies)
Lowering your blood pressure takes a little bit of self discipline, but in all but rare cases you can lower your own blood pressure without the use of medications. Treating high blood pressure is simply eradicating the factors that cause high blood pressure (the ones you can control).
• Exercise: Daily exercise, even if it’s a short walk every day, can significantly help reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Cholesterol is linked to high blood pressure because it can form a plaque like substance on the arterial walls, thus squeezing the blood flow causing more pressure (blood pressure). Exercising will help you feel and look better as well.
• Diet: Diet is extremely important when battling high blood pressure. Here are some blood pressure diet tips:
o Substitute foods high in calories and fat for other healthier foods. Red meats, butter, margarine, whole milk, cheese and fried foods are examples of what to cut from your diet.
o Great foods to eat include fish, skinless chicken and turkey, low fat milks and cheeses, low fat dressing, etc. Fruits and vegetables, whole wheats and whole grains are high in fibre and great sources of vitamins and minerals.
o Lose the Salt: Cut the salt and you’ll see big improvements in your blood pressure. Read labels and by foods that are low in sodium. Stop putting out salt on the dinner table and use less salt when cooking. Use salt substitutes if you must use table salt at mealtimes.
• Alcohol: Reduce your intake of alcohol. If you are used to having a drink a day, substitute it with a bitter beverage to curb the craving.
• Avoid Smoking: Smoking not only damages your lungs, it can also cause high blood pressure. Try a smoking cessation product like nicotine gum.