It’s well known that the number of people with high blood pressure is rising. In the USA, as many as one in three adults suffer from this disease. It’s also true that many people are searching for high blood pressure natural remedies alongside prescribed drugs. What is high blood pressure, or hypertension as it’s called by the medical profession, what are the symptoms and causes?
Firstly we should say a little about blood pressure measurements. When your doctor takes your blood pressure he or she straps an inflating cuff around your upper arm. The cuff is pumped up until it is very tight and then it deflates slowly to take two measurements. The higher value is called the Systolic level while the lower value is the Diastolic level.
Normally, 120/80 mmHg is considered optimal (that’s one-twenty over eighty). MmHG is a measurement of pressure and stands for millimeters of Mercury. In the old days the doctor took readings manually and the pressure was taken by reading a level off a mercury-filled glass tube with the doctor listening for different pulse sounds using their stethoscope under the cuff.
In the USA, the National Heart, Lung and Blood institute define stage 1 hypertension as being between 140 to 159 systolic or 90 to 99 diastolic.
A reading of over 160 mmHg systolic or 100 mmHg diastolic is known as Stage 2 hypertension
In between normal and stage 1 lies what’s known as Pre-hypertension with a systolic of between 120 to 139 or diastolic between 80 an 89 mmHg.
Knowing what blood pressure is and how it’s measured, what are the symptoms? Sadly, high blood pressure is normally symptomless which is why it’s necessary we should all get regular checkups. That’s because, while symptomless, a clear link exists between hypertension and many common ailments such as stroke; heart attacks and eye & kidney problems amongst others.
The cause of hypertension isn’t easy to define, more than likely it’s a combination such as drinking alcohol; smoking; long-term stress; overweight and body-fat distribution; high levels of Cholesterol plus the general rise in blood pressure with age, as the blood-vessels lose their youthful springiness.
After diagnosis, your MD will decide on the best course of medication to control your hypertension. Alongside this, it’s likely you’ll be prescribed one of the Statins to control levels of Cholesterol too. While most experience no ill effects from their medicines, no drug is without side-effects and there are some people that are looking for an alternative to being on permanent medication. What, then are the alternatives?
Let’s start off with the most obvious, but possibly most difficult: lose some weight and exercise more! But be careful, only begin any exercise or diet regime after consulting with your MD.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet has proven itself to be very helpful. A diet low in salt and fat (especially dairy), with increased intake of fruit and vegetables plus seeds & nuts is recommended. It’s misleading to call it a diet as it is really a lifestyle change and not a quick weight-loss diet. Since many recipes are available and are very tasty, this is not necessarily any hardship.
Changing the amount you exercise should only be done after talking to your doctor. It needs to be only mildly aerobic, in other words: your heart rate should be slightly raised along with your breathing, but you should still be able to hold a conversation. So a cycle-ride or a good walk or swim would all benefit you. Yoga can also be good and doesn’t have to be painful! Meditation and other methods for relaxation can all lower stress levels, another cause of high blood pressure.
A number of natural remedies, vitamins, minerals and essential oils have been shown to be helpful in reducing levels of hypertension. Hawthorn extract for one has been shown to reduce the diastolic levels (the higher reading)significantly in recent randomized trials. There don’t appear to be any problems of the extract interacting with other prescription drugs.
Also showing itself in some trials to be good in lowering systolic levels is garlic extract. Unfortunately, as it also thins blood and increases the clotting time it must be treated with caution by those who are already on prescribed blood-thinning medication and should talk to their doctor first.
Of general benefit overall to the heart and body, Essential oils such as fish-oils; Omega-3; flax-seed oil being of benefit to the control of blood pressure.
Another interesting supplement is CoEnzyme Q-10. This is a naturally occurring enzyme & is made inside every cell. Some tests have shown it to be of potential benefit in the control of hypertension/
Many of the B vitamins (for example Folic acid) and minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium all show a statistically measurable ability to control hypertension.
While not in any sense a complete list of all the high blood pressure natural remedies to be found, these have all shown good results. Please do discuss your options with your doctor before taking any supplements and starting any new diet or exercising. Finally, definitely do not stop taking your prescribed medicine without consulting first with your doctor.
See Related Weight Loss Supplements For High Blood Pressure below