High Blood Pressure Tips That Could Save Your Life!

How to help yourself lower your high blood pressure

High Blood Pressure Tips That Could Save Your Life!
By Ray Kelly

When most people are told they have high blood pressure (or hypertension) it comes as quite a shock. With many people being diagnosed between the ages of 25-45, it is fast becoming a great concern for both the individual and their young families.

The problem is, it has no early symptoms. You feel good, life’s great. Yes, you may be a little unfit and you could eat better, but generally you feel fine.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get a warning. Some people will have dizzy spells whilst for others the early warning comes as a mild heart attack. If you are one of the lucky ones who get the warning, don’t take it lightly.

Hypertension is part of the collective term ‘Cardiovascular Disease’. Cardiovascular Disease encompasses high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart failure, and stroke. It is the biggest killer in the western world with 696,947 deaths in 2002 in the US alone.

When blood pressure is measured, you get two numbers: the Systolic (top number), and the Diastolic ( bottom number). Of most concern is the diastolic reading. A reading of 80-90 is now considered “pre-hypertension”. This means that you’re not in danger yet but it would be a good idea to start modifying your lifestyle. If your diastolic blood pressure is over 90, then you have high blood pressure and you should get medical advice immediately. Getting on top of it early can make all the difference.

10 Tips for Reducing Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure can be reduced significantly and quickly through making minor adjustments to your lifestyle. Until then, these guidelines should be followed:

1. Have regular medical checks, especially if you are over 40, overweight, smoke, or lead an inactive lifestyle.

2. Start an exercise program. Obtain a medical clearance prior to starting.

3. The exercise program must be gradual, regular and aerobic in nature (walking/cycling). Start by walking 5 days per week, for 10-20 minutes. Something as simple as walking 10 minutes per day can reduce blood pressure to the extent where medication is no longer required.

4. Give up smoking (or at least cut down!). Giving up smoking has been proven to be the greatest single factor in improving your health fast.

5. Eliminate salt from your diet. As salt travels through the body it draws fluid out of the blood vessels, which in turn increases blood pressure.

6. Avoid isometric exercises. These are exercises where you exert force against an immovable object (eg, trying to lift something really heavy). You generally hold your breath whilst doing this, and that will make your blood pressure skyrocket.

7. Avoid sudden changes in temperature as this too can increase blood pressure and put extra strain on a weak heart.

8. Never lift anything above the head. It doesn’t matter whether its weights, or a can of baked beans. In fact, I know a person who has to sit down to wash his hair because his blood pressure rises whenever he raises his arms up!

9. Focus on your breathing throughout any lifting or stretching as holding your breath will increase blood pressure.

10. Don’t use pulse rate as a direct measure of exercise intensity if blood pressure medications are being used, as these can decrease pulse rate significantly.

High blood pressure does not have to be a death sentence. Give it the respect it deserves and it just may turn out to be a positive turning point. The start of the new (fit and healthy) you!

Ray Kelly has a degree in Exercise Science and has worked in the fitness industry for 15 years.

Use Food To Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally

This article explains how nutrition and supplements can help lower blood pressure without medication

Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally
By: Lee Cummings

Do You know someone who suffers from high blood pressure? Maybe You? Then this article is good news!

Are you aware that there are simple and inexpensive ways to control blood pressure with food and supplements you already have in your kitchen? Intelligent health conscious people like you can naturally understand these strategies to help maintain lower blood pressure levels.

Because when you understand and follow through with these steps, you will feel more energy and enjoy the benefits of lower blood pressure.

In my 10 years of studying nutrition and over 5 years of helping others solve their health problems, I have found that the experts agree that these steps are some of the most effective in lowering blood pressure naturally.

CoQ10 supplements

CoEnzyme Q10 or CoQ10 For short is a powerful anti-oxidant which is in every cell in your body. Your body uses CoQ10 to derive Energy. In a double-blind placebo controlled study published in The Journal of Human Hypertension, The group which took CoQ10 for just 8 weeks showed a significant reduction of blood pressure. Also in a University of Texas study, people taking oral CoQ10 after just one month experienced significant lowering of blood pressure and 51% of participants were able to discontinue blood pressure medication.

As a side note, blood pressure medication prevents the body from not only manufacturing its own CoQ10, but also your body’s ability to absorb CoQ10. The recommended dose is 100-200 mg gel caps each day to help lower blood pressure.

Vitamins, Herbs and Anti-oxidants

The following are Doctor recommended daily amounts.

Vitamin C – 1000 mg
Garlic – 2 cloves
Hawthorn berry – 500 mg
Omega 3 fatty acid fish oil Gel caps – 1000 mg
Vitamin b6 in a natural multivitamin
Magnesium – 500 mg
Astragalus root 500mg

The Role of Food

In a Greek study that examined the effects of the Mediterranean diet on 20,000 people scientists proved that olive oil, fruits and vegetables were significantly associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Eat up to 4 sticks a day of celery to relax the smooth muscles in the blood vessels and eat fresh cold water fish which is high in Omega-3 fatty Acids.

Let’s also understand the real reason why salt is important to your blood pressure.

We’ve all heard that you need to cut down on sodium in your diet, although this is not bad advice, it misses the point. High sodium intake alone does not increase blood pressure, it is an excess of sodium to potassium ratio.

The ideal ratio is five times as much potassium as sodium in Your diet. You’ll get the best results by eating three servings a day of potassium rich foods such as bananas, avocados, beans, squash and tomatoes.

Low levels of magnesium can also contribute to high blood pressure, so here are some Magnesium rich foods: almonds, tofu, cashews, Raisin bran.

And finally lets talk about what level of blood pressure is considered high. Right now the threshold pushed by mainstream medicine is 115/75 – 120/80 which WAS considered borderline LOW just 5 years ago.

This is because the standard for “high” blood pressure, just like the standard for cholesterol is repeatedly lowered to put more people on medication. Your individual risk factors and age play a big role in determining what is a good blood pressure level for YOU.

So don’t just accept a one size fits all number when it comes to your blood pressure. Ask questions and discuss your health with a nutritionally educated Doctor to find what is best for you.

So what about YOU? Are You going to let the silent killer sneak up on you? Or are you going to take action that will make this highly unlikely?

When you safe-guard yourself with these proven techniques which you can easily incorporate into your life, then you will reap the healthy benefits.

Used in combination these natural, safe and proven techniques work wonders to keep your blood pressure down and allow you to experience a higher level of health without the unwanted side effects.

So take action now and get started today to do one thing from each of the three points above. Each day incorporate the food and supplements listed and you are well on Your way to lower blood pressure. These are proven, safe and inexpensive steps so you can enjoy the benefits now.

Sources:

Singh RB, Niaz MA, Rostogi SS, et al. “Effect of Hydrosoluble coenzyme Q10 on blood pressure in Hypertensive patients with coronary artery disease”. Journal of Human Hypertension. 1999 Mar;13(3):203-208.
Dr. Al Sears, Lynn Sonberg, The Doctor’s Heart Cure, St. Paul MN, Dragon Door Publications, pgs 176-181
Daily Dose, Dr. William Campbell Douglas, “Of spice and men” 3/15/2005
Dr. Al Sears, Health alert, “Lower Blood pressure Naturally”, 3/8/2005
Dr Al Sears, Health Alert, “Lower blood pressure without drugs”, 7/3/2003.

Folic Acid Prevents High Blood Pressure in Women

A study of more than 238,000 women has shown that folic acid has a role in helping women avoid high blood pressure

Folic Acid Prevents High Blood Pressure in Women
By: Maureen Williams

Women who get lots of folic acid from both diet and supplements have less chance of developing high blood pressure than women who get very little, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2005;293:320-9) that re-analyzed data from two previous studies.

Hypertension (HTN) is defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg. HTN affects approximately 65 million people in the United States, and the prevalence is increasing as the population ages. Blood pressure is influenced by the openness and elasticity of the blood vessels; HTN indicates loss of elasticity, narrowing of the vessels, or both. It is frequently caused by plaque formation along the inner vessel walls (atherosclerosis). Because the heart pumps against the resistance (pressure) of the arteries, HTN increases the work the heart must do to keep blood flowing to all parts of the body. Chronic HTN can therefore cause thickening of the heart muscle and eventual heart failure. HTN also increases the risk of stroke and kidney failure. Preventing HTN is critical to reducing the incidence of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the US. Public health recommendations are based on evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats, combined with regular moderate exercise, can protect against HTN.

Folic acid, one of the B vitamins, occurs naturally in many plant foods (such as beans and green leafy vegetables) and is commonly found in multivitamins and B-complex supplements. Due to its role in preventing some birth defects, a number of foods are now fortified with folic acid, such as cold cereals and other grain products. Along with vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid lowers blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been found to be a heart disease risk factor. Several small studies have suggested that folic acid supplements might improve the health of the vessel walls and lower blood pressure.

Data from two previous studies of health and disease patterns in women in the US, known as the Nurses’ Health Study I and II, were used in the current study to examine the effect of dietary and supplemental folic acid intake on HTN.

More than 238,000 women participated in the two studies. One study included women between 25 and 42 years old and the other included women between 30 and 55 years old. Women in both studies answered questionnaires about health and dietary habits upon enrollment. For both studies, follow-up health questionnaires were filled out every two years for eight years, and a follow-up diet questionnaire was answered after four years.

The study involving younger women found that those who consumed the most total folic acid (more than 1,000 mcg per day) from both diet and supplements had a 46% lower risk of HTN than those who consumed the least total folic acid (less than 200 mcg per day). In the study with older women, consuming the most folic acid afforded an 18% risk reduction compared with consuming the least. In women whose dietary folic acid was less than 200 mcg per day, a combined dietary and supplemental folic acid intake of at least 800 mcg per day reduced HTN risk, relative to a combined intake of less than 200 mcg per day, by 45% in the study with younger women and 39% in the study with older women. In women who did not take supplements, getting the currently recommended 400 mcg per day from food was not protective against HTN in either study.

This analysis of the results from two studies provides evidence that folic acid can significantly reduce HTN risk in women. It further suggests that supplementing with folic acid is an effective way to increase intake to a level that protects against HTN. Future studies should further examine the relationship between folic acid intake and HTN risk, as well as the possible role for folic acid supplements in reducing blood pressure in people with HTN.

About The Author

Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice in Quechee, VT, and does extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Five Secrets Of High Blood Pressure Treatment

Why medication is not always the best route for high blood pressure treatment.

Five Secrets Of High Blood Pressure Treatment
By: Alexander Alfimov

Thirty percent of human population has a high blood pressure and everyone has a 90% risk to acquire it during their lifetime. As a result, half of all human deaths are due to the major complications of high blood pressure, mainly stroke and heart attack.

Medical scientists are fighting this life-threatening disease and they have gained some success. That is, the development of several classes of antihypertensive drugs and the definition of “normal” levels of blood pressure that should be maintained to reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications and death.

Is it a great success? Unfortunately not. Pharmaceutical treatment can not reverse the disease. The patient with developed arterial hypertension can only hope to reduce the risk of high blood pressure complications. How big is this risk reduction? Relative risk reduction is less than 25% during 2-5 years for all major cardiovascular complications. It is higher for stroke (36-45%) and less for heart attacks (10-15%). When all risks are combined, the relative risk reduction is close to 25%.

Be careful and distinguish absolute and relative risk reductions. Papers and pharmaceutical ads always present relative risk reduction which is more impressive. They even do not mention that it is “relative”. That is because the absolute risk reduction could be as much as 0.2-2.0%. Does not impress you, right? Let’s take a clinical trial where 0.6% and 0.96% of patients had had fatal stroke in the treatment group and placebo group accordingly. Absolute risk reduction will be 0.96% – 0.60% = 0.36%, however relative risk reduction will be as much as (0.96% – 0.6%)/0.96% = 37.5%! Looks much better! Absolute risk reduction 0.36% means that from one thousand patients taking medication during 3-5 years, three or four could be saved from suffering a fatal stroke. Clinical trials don’t say what will happen with those saved patients after 5 years. Presumably, the risk is postponed to after the 5 year period. Clinical trials also do not say which particular patients will be saved. It is like a lottery, and it could happen that 4 saved patients is just a difference between 44 that were saved and 40 that died prematurely due to pharmaceutical side effects. Vioxx, Celebrex, and Baycol are the known examples.

As you see everyone has to pay for this risk reduction not only by inconvenience and cost of pharmaceuticals, but also by the risk of unpleasant or life-threatening side effects. For the patients with high estimated risk (more than 10% during 5 years or more than 20% during 10 years) this price is considered worth-while.

Estimated risk is calculated by your doctor. Taking the patient’s age and blood pressure level, plus the presence of risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, atherosclerosis and renal dysfunction, doctor can say that the risk for the cardiovascular complications of high blood pressure during 5, 10 or 20 years will be at a particular level. For example, a woman who smokes, aged below 65, with abdominal obesity (waist more than 102cm) and blood pressure 140-179/90-109 mm Hg will have 15-20% absolute risk of all cardiovascular events at 10 years. Just add one more risk factor (diabetes or high cholesterol) and the risk goes up to 30%. This is high risk and treatment is definitely required.

For the patients with initial stages of hypertension and low risk the balance between benefits and drawbacks of antihypertensive drugs is not established. There are three reasons for being reluctant to start taking antihypertensive drugs without having 10% estimated risk of cardiovascular complications.

Reason one: absolute risk reduction from, let’s say, 7 % to 5 % does not look sufficient to justify long-term expensive, unsafe and inconvenient treatment.

Reason two: even if we decide to operate the relative instead of absolute risk reduction, we CAN NOT do this, because available clinical trials have demonstrated risk reduction for the high risk patients and we can not extrapolate to the low risk patients. Clinical trials on low risk patients were not performed and we do not know if the harm of the treatment outweighs the benefit.

Reason three: negative side effects of antihypertensives are well known and include metabolic, lipid and hormonal disturbances including development of diabetes. We know that for the high risk patients (read – low life expectancy) the danger from the drug treatment is less than the benefit, but we do not know and we can not know without 20-30 years studies if it is the case for the low risk patients.

That is why official guidelines do not recommend starting drug treatment at the early stage of hypertension. Modern pharmaceutical treatment can not prevent or reverse the disease; it needs to be taken your whole life-long to maintain blood pressure at the recommended level.

What about non-pharmaceutical treatment?

The treatment guidelines include the following non-pharmaceutical recommendations.

1. Stop smoking

2. Reduce body weight

3. Aerobic physical exercise of 30-40 min, daily or at least 3-4 days per week.

4. More fruits, vegetables and potassium, and less sodium.

5. Alcohol intake not more than 20-30 g of “pure alcohol” per day (it corresponds to 150-200 ml of wine or a pint of beer).

6. Reduce stress

These non-pharmaceutical approaches have a proven efficacy in the reduction and prevention of high blood pressure. But they require substantial perseverance and will-power to comply with.

You should know how much effort is required to follow dietary restrictions or to stop smoking recommendations. Low compliance with these recommendations is usually accompanied by low compliance with drug therapy.

For people who want to be healthy and prevent or at least control this dangerous disease, there is a good news. Non-pharmaceutical recommendations really work; you will definitely reduce your risk by following them.

Another way to treat the disease is with increasing your ability to cope with stress. Stress causes activation of sympathetic system. Chronic activation of sympathetic system causes hypertension and obesity. Four out of six classes of antihypertensive drugs are designed to act upon sympathetic system.

Can we manage stress and accompanied sympathetic activation without drugs? The task is not easy. You may say that effective stress reduction is only possible after radical change of working or family environment. But there is always something that can cause stress. The problem is in people’s attitude and the ability to cope with stress and to avoid chronic anger. Those who are able, live longer lives. The researches on centenarians have demonstrated their unique ability to avoid damaging reactions to stressful situations.

To select the most effective stress-management technique for yourself, I recommend you to try first those having a proven blood pressure reducing effect, like yoga, meditation and computerized devices reducing respiration rate. Coping with stress is the obvious way to escape the Number One Killer and to live the full life span we are designed for.

Summary.
Five secrets you should know about pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatment of the high blood pressure:

1. Pharmaceutical treatment should be initiated if estimated risk of cardiovascular complications is greater that 10% over 5 years or greater than 20% over 10 years.

2. The real benefit of the treatment is described by the absolute risk reduction which very often is not disclosed.

3. Side effects of the antihypertensive drugs during long-term consumption are common and serious.

4. Non-pharmaceutical treatments of hypertension really work. Although they require much more effort and will-power to implement in comparison with daily chemical drugs consumption, they will protect you not only against hypertension, but also against the high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, obesity and other diseases. Plus you will get better and healthier life, with much more energy and satisfaction.

5. We must learn from centenarians how to escape diseases. Centenarians have innate ability to cope with stress; they are natural stress-shedders. They are not preoccupied with worry, hostility and anxiety. They avoid unhealthy thinking, like anger, sadness, guilt and fear. It is possible to develop such personality with modern stress-management and personal development techniques.

About the Author: Dr. Alexander Alfimov M.D, Ph.D. graduated from St. Petersburg Medical Academy in 1987. He has been working for eleven years as a head of clinical research department of the big pharmaceutical company, producing and marketing six antihypertensive drugs.

One-Size Treatment for High Blood Pressure Does Not Fit All

High blood pressure is not a simple condition with a “take this drug and you’ll be fine” cure.

Don’t be surprised if your doctor struggles a bit to give you the right treatment for reducing your high blood pressure. Although hypertension is straightforward enough to measure and diagnose, it’s not always so easy to cure.

Although a lot of scientific studies have been carried out on high blood pressure, we are still no further forward in finding an ideal treatment for it. Medical professionals continue to research hypertension, test drugs and try different treatments on individuals while patients have to go through the process of finding out with their doctor what works best for them.

Why is it so difficult to find the right treatment for high blood pressure?

What is being shown in all the studies is that hypertensive disease is not a simple phenomenon with one cause and one cure. High blood pressure is brought about in each individual who suffers it by a wide range of metabolic, genetic and environmental factors. Therefore working out which factors are at play in any one patient (and finding out how to treat them) is a complex business. And because patients may also suffer in varying degrees from the side-effects of different treatments, trial and error is often needed to treat the condition.

So you can’t expect to be given a one drug fits all solution on your first visit to the doctors surgery after finding out you have high blood pressure. Some exploration about what is best for you is likely to be necessary.

And while you should always consult your doctor if you have hypertension (or any other health issue) many doctors now believe that lifestyle changes are the best way to treat it, especially if you have a mild case. So don’t be surprised if your doctor simply wants you to lose weight, take more exercise and change your diet a bit rather than prescribe hypertensive medication immediately. And if you decide to follow such advice you could benefit much more than your blood pressure – you will find that your health, well-being and life-expectancy improves too.

If you would like to try natural ways to reduce your blood pressure why take a look at 30 Strategies for How to lower your blood pressure?

Lower Your Blood Pressure by Losing Weight

Losing just 5 to 10% of your body weight can make a big difference to your blood pressure if you are overweight.

If you are overweight by more than a few pounds, chances are you have hypertension (or high blood pressure) even if you don’t know it. High blood pressure is pretty much a “symptomless” disease and you usually don’t know you have it until you get a reading done by a doctor or nurse.

It’s important to get regular checks especially if you’re overweight because (left untreated) hypertension affects your heart and your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.

What is the link between weight and high blood pressure?

The two are linked because every part of your body needs a blood supply including any excess fat you are carrying. In fact, every extra pound of fat you have increases the total length of the small blood vessels in your body by about a mile. And the longer network of vessels means your heart has to pump harder to send the blood around your body – increasing blood pressure with every pound you carry.

But the good news is that these changes are reversible. Just as blood pressure tends to increase as you gain weight, losing weight reduces it. Sometimes the changes are dramatic.

Research has shown that, if you are overweight, losing 10kg (about 22lbs) can lower your systolic blood pressure level by up to 10mmgH – a figure that would not be a poor result for many of the blood pressure medications currently available. And it could certainly help you if you and your doctor are aiming to reduce the amount of medication you take.

The best way to lose weight is to gradually change your diet for a healthier one and slowly increase the amount of exercise you take. The weight loss programs which fail most are those which try to get you to change your whole lifestyle overnight. That is just not sustainable for most people.

By introducing more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, cutting down on junk food, reducing portion sizes and becoming a bit more active you will give yourself the best possible chance to succeed. A healthier diet and exercise not only leads to welcome weight loss but will also help reduce your blood pressure in other ways.

Why not take a look at 30 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally for more ideas on losing weight to reduce blood pressure?

30 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Blood Pressure Articles

You’ll find lots of articles here from various authors with an interest in and knowledge of blood pressure. Browse this section to find information about high blood pressure, low blood pressure, treatment to reduce blood pressure, alternative therapies for blood pressure and lots more.

If you would like to submit an article for consideration or you have a personal story to tell please Contact Us and we will look at including your work.

Lower Your Blood Pressure by Losing Weight
Losing a few pounds can make a big difference to your blood pressure if you are overweight.

One-size Treatment for High Blood Pressure does not fit all
High Blood Pressure is not a simple condition with a “take this drug and you’ll be fine” cure. Why is it so difficult to treat?

Secrets Of High Blood Pressure Treatment
Why treatment with medication is not always the best route for lowering high blood pressure.

Folic Acid Prevents High Blood Pressure in Women
A study of more than 238,000 women has shown that folic acid has a role in helping women avoid high blood pressure

Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally
This article explains how you can reduce your blood pressure naturally using food and nutritional supplements rather than drugs.

High Blood Pressure Tips That Could Save Your Life
Use these tips to help reduce your high blood pressure (hypertension) naturally.

Celery As Blood Pressure Treatment
Celery contains “apigenin” – a naturally occurring substance which helps lower blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Medications: A Concise Guide
Doctors can prescribe a whole range of different medications to help lower your blood pressure. These are the kinds of drugs which you might be given.

High Blood Pressure and Tai Chi Therapy
Tai Chi can help with reduce one of the causes of high blood pressure : stress

Potassium and high blood pressure
Those with high blood pressure are often advised to boost levels of potassium in their diet. This article explains the role of potassium on our health.

5 Steps You Can Take Today To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
Some of the things you can do to reduce your blood pressure without taking medication

My High Blood Pressure
A personal account of what high blood pressure can do to one guy

Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)

Low blood pressure (or hypotension) is a potentially serious health condition where a person’s blood pressure is much lower than usual.

The symptoms of very low blood pressure are dizziness, light headedness, fainting and collapse – when the blood pressure is too low, it means there isn’t enough blood flowing to the heart, brain, and other vital organs of the body.

It’s quite difficult sometimes to judge a “normal” blood pressure for a person because something normal for one person may well be “abnormal” for another. A classic text book blood pressure reading is normally about 120/80 mmHg. But whatever your blood pressure reading, if you repeatedly feel faint and light headed during the day, it’s probably a good idea to check with your doctor as to whether you are suffering with low blood pressure or not.

For some people, low blood pressure can leave them feeling light headed, sluggish or head-achy. Yet other people can walk around with a blood pressure so low they should be flat out, however they don’t experience any symptoms whatsoever. They may only discover they have a low blood pressure when their blood pressure is checked for another reason.

You should also see your doctor if you lose consciousness when you stand, or if you feel repeatedly weak, light headed or constantly tired. Low blood pressure can be a sign in younger people of chronic fatigue syndrome. In older people it can be an indication of serious problems such as heart disease.

Women in their 40’s or younger, can find their blood pressure may drop below 90/60 mmHg during pregnancy, crash dieting or even during the hot weather. So it’s important that if they know they are prone to low blood pressure, they have it checked on a regular basis.

If a person is taking high blood pressure medication, it can sometimes cause the blood pressure to drop rapidly which causes the same symptoms as low blood pressure. Therefore those taking this type of medication should choose the time of day they take their medication very carefully to ensure the effects are kept to a minimum.

Treatment of High Blood Pressure

At one time the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension), followed a very rigid approach. Nowadays doctors are much more relaxed about the way they look at the treatment of high blood pressure in their patients, preferring a much more patient centered focus.

Patients with high blood pressure often have a mix of pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular damage, kidney disease or stroke and so each person needs individual diagnosis and treatment considering their full state of health. Any medical or drug treatment has to be carefully tailored to the patient.

The first treatment of choice for those suffering purely with high blood pressure is usually a lifestyle change.

If you are overweight, smoke, lead a very stressful life or don’t exercise, a high blood pressure diagnosis may be the wake up call you need to modify your lifestyle. If you manage to do this, after consultation with your doctor, you may find you can lower your blood pressure without resorting to more invasive treatment.

If you then manage to keep up your lifestyle changes, you should be able to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, though of course it should be carefully monitored on a regular basis.

If lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure. Some medications used to treat high blood pressure include

  • Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin receptor blockers
  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Calcium channel blockers (CCBs)
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Clonidine
  • Minoxidil

Unfortunately it’s often found that one drug which treats a particular disease, has an adverse effect on another drug treating a different medical problem, so getting the balance right when prescribing medication to those suffering a variety of different illnesses can be difficult.

New drugs do become available and you may have the opportunity to try these if the correct medication for you has not yet been found.

If you would like to find out about reducing your blood pressure naturally, why not take a look at 30 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally which comes with a workbook to tailor the strategies for your needs?

Effects and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

The danger areas for high blood pressure (or hypertension) are the eyes, heart, kidneys and blood vessels. If high blood pressure remains untreated it can slowly damage blood vessels and major organs without showing any obvious symptoms. That’s why high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer”. About 50% of the people affected by high blood pressure are unaware that they have the problem.

The only external symptoms you may get (not always) with very high blood pressure are headaches, blurred vision and dizziness. But it may affect you internally if untreated in the following ways

Your Arteries

The walls of your blood vessels thicken (probably to withstand the extra pressure placed on them) and they narrow and harden. This increases atherosclerosis (or furring up of the arteries) which is a factor in the development of heart disease. As the arteries become narrower, blood flow becomes increasingly sluggish and blood thickens and clots more easily. This makes thrombosis more likely. Thrombosis is a clot of blood which attaches itself to the roughened wall of an artery. In some cases the clot may completely block an artery and if that artery serves your heart, a heart attack can result. If the blocked artery leads to your brain, a stroke is the likely outcome.

Your Heart

High blood pressure causes a great strain on your heart as the heart is forced to work harder to pump blood round your body. To start with, the heart muscle enlarges (like any other muscle) to cope with the added work but eventually it is unable to get any stronger and the pump starts to fail. At this stage fluid may accumulate in the feet and ankles due to the heart being unable to cope with keeping the circulation moving around the whole body and the smallest exertion can leave you gasping for breath.

Your Kidneys

High blood pressure damages the tissues and thickens the blood vessels in the kidneys making them less efficient. As an early symptom they may lose their ability to concentrate urine causing the need to urinate in the middle of the night.

Your Eyes

Blood pressure has to be exceedingly high to damage the eyes but it does cause some changes in the tiny blood vessels in the retina and this may be a good indication of how long high blood pressure has been present.

Remember that getting early treatment for high blood pressure can help reduce the risk of developing the most serious problems, so it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly so that hypertension can be picked up as early as possible.