Nearly 1/3 of the people who have high blood pressure are not aware of it, because it is a silent disease. People can have high blood pressure for years without experiencing symptoms or knowing that they have it.
Reading The Blood Pressure
The upper or first number in a blood pressure reading is the systolic pressure and the lower or second number is called the diastolic pressure. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg.
- Pre-Hypertension: systolic pressure between 120 and 139 or diastolic pressure between 80 and 89.
- Stage 1 Hypertension: systolic pressure between 140 and 159 or diastolic pressure between 90 and 99.
- Stage 2 Hypertension: systolic pressure higher than 160 or diastolic pressure of 100 or higher.
The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually does not have any symptoms in the early stages. But some of the common symptoms are given below:
- Dizziness or dizzy spells
How To Control High Blood Pressure
Lifestyle changes and natural remedies may help to control high blood pressure, but your doctor may also recommend medication for this. It is important to work with your doctor, because untreated high blood pressure may damage the organs in the body and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, brain hemorrhage, kidney disease, and vision loss.
Vitamins That Help Lower High Blood Pressure
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): There is some evidence that the supplement CoQ10 may help to reduce high blood pressure.
- Garlic: Garlic can significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- Hawthorn: This herb is often used by traditional herbal practitioners for high blood pressure.
- Fish Oil: Preliminary studies suggest that fish oil may have a modest effect on high blood pressure. Although fish oil supplements often contain both DHA (docohexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoice acid), there is some evidence that DHA is the ingredient that lowers high blood pressure.
- Folic Acid: Folate is a B vitamin necessary for the formation of red blood cells. It may help to lower high blood pressure in some people, possibly by reducing elevated homocysteine levels.
- Calcium: Calcium supplementation appears to have a modest but statistically significant reduction in systolic blood pressure.
- Potassium: It can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- Magnesium: It significantly reduces diastolic blood pressure.
Other Natural Remedies
- Mind-Body Interventions: Such interventions, particularly autogenic training, biofeedback, and yoga, can reduce high blood pressure.
- Autogenic Training: This is a technique used for stress reduction and relaxation. It involves a series of sessions in which people learn how to control breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. You learn six postures (e.g., reclining in a chair) that involve concentrating without a goal, imagination, and verbal cues, and you need to practice regularly.
- Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a technique in which people learn how to gain control over the internal body processes that normally occur against your will, for example, blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and skin temperature. Biofeedback is mainly used for high blood pressure, migraine, tension headache, chronic pain, and urinary incontinence. Of the different types of biofeedback, thermal feedback (which measures skin temperature) and electrodermal activity feedback (which uses a probe that responds to sweat) may be more effective than direct blood pressure feedback or electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle tension.
- Yoga: Studies have found that multiple postures in the yoga practice help lower blood pressure.
- Aerobic Exercise: This is an important part of the natural approach to lower high blood pressure. A meta-analysis of 105 trials involving 6805 participants found that aerobic exercise was associated with a mean reduction in systolic blood pressure with reductions in diastolic blood pressure, too.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
According to the American Heart Association, there is no one identifiable cause in most cases. High blood pressure is usually a combination of these factors:
- Weight: The greater your body mass, the more pressure there is on your artery walls. This is because more blood is produced to supply oxygen and nutrients to tissues in your body.
- Activity Level: Lack of physical activity tends to increase the heart rate, which forces your heart to work harder with each contraction.
- Tobacco Use: Chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco can damage the artery walls.
- Sodium Intake: Excessive sodium in the diet can result in fluid retention and high blood pressure, especially in people sensitive to sodium.
- Potassium Intake: Low potassium can result in elevated sodium in cells, because the two balance one another.
- Stress: Stress can raise blood pressure.
- Alcohol Consumption: Excessive drinking can increase your chances of developing heart disease.
- Age: The risk of high blood pressure increases as you get older.
- Family History: High blood pressure often runs in families.
Other Underlying Conditions
- Kidney disease
- Hormonal disorders
- Thyroid disease
- Adrenal gland disease
- Use of certain drugs (oral contraceptives or herbs such as licorice)
This type of high blood pressure is called secondary hypertension.
Remember, people with high blood pressure should speak with their doctor first before embarking on a new exercise program. Your health is in your hands, so make wise choices and consult your doctors for advice and any questions you have about high blood pressure.