If your blood pressure’s not normal, you have either high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension).
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Hypertension — or high blood pressure — refers to a high amount of pressure being pushed against the arteries, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. There are two types of high blood pressure: primary (essential) hypertension and secondary hypertension.
Primary hypertension refers to high blood pressure without an identifiable cause and can develop over many years. Secondary hypertension is caused by an underlying condition. It can occur suddenly and can result from the following illnesses:
- Kidney problems
- Sleep apnea
- Thyroid problems
- Alcohol abuse or long-time use
- Use of illicit drugs
- Medications for decongestions, birth control, and cold remedies
Depending on which type of hypertension you have, the causes will differ.
High blood pressure symptoms may be unnoticeable for years, and that is why keeping regular readings — especially if you have risk factors for hypertension — is that much more important. Symptoms of hypertension include:
- Chest pain
- Swelling in legs, abdomen, and ankles
- Bluish color to lips or skin
- Changes in heart rate — speeding up or palpitations
High blood pressure is linked to serious health consequences like:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
If you already have another underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, paired with high blood pressure, your risk for these diseases vastly increases.
To avoid hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevention is your best defense. For primary hypertension, prevention methods include enjoying healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising, eating well, moderating alcohol consumption, reducing and managing stress, and not smoking. These are simple ways you can reduce your risk of developing hypertension over time.
In the case of secondary hypertension, prevention is about managing the chronic illness. If the underlying medical issue you have is not managed, it can put you at greater risk for hypertension. Following directions of medications and treatment options provided by your doctor can help you prevent high blood pressure as a result of an underlying health condition.
High blood pressure natural remedies are very similar to the means of preventing blood pressure issues altogether. If you lack physical activity, start now. Depending on age and ability, it may be wise to consult your doctor, but start off with some swimming or light walking — both are great starts to get stronger and help your hypertension.
Eating a balanced diet is also essential. Fruits and vegetables should be enjoyed in abundance and the less processed and fast food, the better you will feel. Greens, lean meats, and whole grains are all part of the recipe for a healthy life and may help you lower your high blood pressure naturally.
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
As opposed to high blood pressure, we can develop low blood pressure, which is still harmful to our health. Low blood pressure can be temporary or can be chronic and something you have to manage. It all depends on the cause.
- Heart problems
- Blood loss
- Severe allergic reaction
- Lack of nutrients
Low blood pressure causes can also result from standing up too quickly, can occur after a meal, and can be a result of faulty brain signals or damage to the nervous system. As you can see, there are many causes of low blood pressure and doctors recognize that, for some, normal levels are just low. That is why doctors don’t usually diagnose someone with hypotension unless symptoms are visible.
Many low blood pressure symptoms are quite similar to high blood pressure ones, but there are a few differences:
- Blurred vision
- Lack of concentration
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Shortness of breath
If you continuously have readings of low blood pressure but don’t experience these symptoms, then what may be low for others is quite normal for you. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to any changes in health.
Prevention And Natural Remedies
Because most of the time low blood pressure isn’t too serious, continuing to live a healthy lifestyle is your means of prevention and natural remedy. Drinking plenty of water and enjoying whole foods can help balance out your blood pressure. Also, the type of low blood pressure you have can also help you prevent or treat it, for example, if your blood pressure drops when you stand up or get out of bed, being more mindful of this and moving slower can help alleviate this rush and change.
Either too high or too low, blood pressure should always be monitored, especially as you age. The detrimental effects of blood pressure can be life-threatening, so understanding your readings and taking the appropriate steps to healthier living is the secret to healthy blood pressure.