Hypertension is a serious health problem across the globe and is dubbed as the silent killer. It is called a silent killer because nearly one-third of people don’t know they have high blood pressure. People can have high blood pressure for years without experiencing symptoms or knowing they have it. Regardless of race, age, or gender, anyone can develop high blood pressure. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be corrected with common sense, simple dietary and lifestyle changes and natural remedies.
What is high blood pressure?
Arteries are like hoses that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Blood runs through our veins and arteries at a certain pressure. Within natural limits, this pressure is not harmful. High blood pressure means high pressure in the arteries which slowly damages the blood vessels and thereby causes formation of atheroma (fatty deposit in the inner lining of an artery).
There are two points where high blood pressure is confirmed:
• Systolic pressure: It is the pressure in the vessels when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is the higher number in the blood pressure reading.
• Diastolic pressure: It is the pressure in the vessels when the heart is at rest, between beats. This is the lower number in the blood pressure reading.
High blood pressure is defined when the top number (systolic) is at or above 140 and the bottom number (diastolic) is 90 or greater.
Based on the cause, hypertension is classified as:
• Primary or essential hypertension: It is the most common type of hypertension, affecting around 95 percent of hypertensive patients. Although no direct cause has been identified, there are several risk factors that increase the risk of developing hypertension. Some of these factors include obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, stress, excess salt (sodium) in diet, alcohol intake, and a family history of hypertension.
• Secondary hypertension: This occurs as a result of another identifiable medical condition, or caused by side effect of certain medications. Some of the causes include endocrine diseases, kidney diseases, and tumors.
Why is it dangerous?
Severe cases of high blood pressure can lead to the following ailments: hardening of arteries, nausea, headache, dizziness, impaired vision and blindness, kidney damage, stroke, heart attack, and congestive heart failure.
I thought medications were the only way. Can I cure it naturally?
No actually; medications are not the only way. Treatment can also be easily done using the simple home remedies for high blood pressure. Some of these methods are explained here:
1. Losing weight is, of course, an obvious way to lower high blood pressure. And a change to a healthier diet is a great start to losing weight.
2. Regular moderate physical activity has been shown to strengthen the heart and lower blood pressure naturally. Regular exercise improves blood flow and helps to reduce the resting heart rate and blood pressure.
3. The amount of sodium (salt) that you eat can have an effect on your blood pressure. You should have no more than 5-6 grams of salt per day.
4. Avoid drinking alcohol; it harms you in all the ways. Drinking has a direct effect on blood pressure.
5. Avoid smoking as much as you can. Chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco can damage artery walls.
6. Stress can cause blood pressure to rise and has a negative impact on health. Deep breathing exercises such as yoga, meditation and tai chi can alleviate stress.
7. Studies have shown that people who consume more potassium have lower blood pressures than those who consume less. Rich sources of potassium include bananas, watermelon, oranges and orange juice, as well as potatoes and spinach.
8. Studies have proven that “Garlic” significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. So eat lots of garlic!
Finally, and most importantly, remember to measure your blood pressure level regularly and accurately. Keep a chart to see if your efforts are working and review it often. Make modifications as necessary.
Final note: first consult your doctor for professional guidance on their suitability to your individual case.